The Campaign for Freedom of Information has published its response to the draft fees regulations consultation paper. The response raises an important new point about the draft regulations:
"Some FOI practitioners have suggested to us that they are not minded to rely on the new fees regulations, but will continue to respond to requests as they have in the past. The new powers would only be used exceptionally, if at all. Although we recognise the positive intention behind such statements they suggest that the new proposals are not needed. They also overlook a key aspect of the fees regulations.Read the Campaign's full response. Some of the other responses from the media and voluntary sector can be read here.
An authority which provides information which it believes it could have refused on cost grounds would be disclosing information voluntarily, outside the scope of the Act. Applicants would lose any right to complain to the Information Commissioner about withheld information or delays."