Friday, November 12, 2004

£1m bill to reveal secrets Nov 11 2004

By David Bell, Evening Mail (Birmingham)

A poor article - badly written and poorly informed, see the text below, the figures appear based on research from IDEA that I commented on previously and IDEA sent this response. There is a real problem about clarity here between actual and marginal costs, the article makes no mention of requests for information the council already deals with that could then be classed as FOI request. IDEA have also have not relvealed the source of the £1,400 and £4,000 figure.

"Based on experience in Canada, each request will cost between £1,400 and £4,000 to answer depending on its complexity."There are some pretty serious implications because , as the largest local authority in England, Birmingham could be deluged with information requests," said Coun Wilkes."I estimate the likely bill for this is around £1 million. It is really alarming." Researchers have found that local authorities currently get between 72 and 360 requests a year for information, depending on their size. But if the trend follows that in other countries who have opened Freedom of Information floodgates, the numbers could soar into the thousands."

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