Research highlights discrepancies in FOI information requests

Some public sector organisations may ask for payment for information under the Freedom of Information Act because they lack the...

Some public sector organisations may ask for payment for information under the Freedom of Information Act because they lack the document management and workflow systems to process applications quickly.

Research by Computer Weekly has revealed discrepancies in the how public bodies deal with information requests.

While some NHS trusts have been able to turn round information requests quickly, others presented with the identical request have said they would charge for information because it would take longer than the time limit for free searches.

The Information Commission is charged with policing the act, but a spokesman said the organisation would not proactively monitor the time take to respond to FOI requests or the systems they have in place.

"Our role is to respond to complaints," he said.

The Office of Information Commissioner expected there to be inconsistencies in the how organisation deal with the FOI request.

"Some will have champions [for the act] at a senior level. We are still at the early stages and some are more prepared than others," he said.

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