Fees and charges
The Freedom of Information Act and the associated Fees Regulations stipulate that we cannot levy a fee for information unless there is a statutory basis for doing so, or the amount of time taken to locate the information exceeds 18 hours. However, we are allowed to charge for disbursements related to the provision of information and any reformatting requested by the applicant provided we ensure that applicants are aware of any charges that may be made.
Our fees are based on The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, Statutory Instrument 2004 No. 3244.
No charges will be made for information accessed via our website. For any information that is provided in hard copy and where there are no statutory provisions our rates for photocopying, postage and reformatting will be as follows:
Photocopying and printing - 20p per copy
Postage - 2nd class postage
Reformatting - Calculated at £25 per hour plus the additional cost of reproduction in anything other than paper format.
Further information about the fees regulations can be found in the Ministry of Justice step-by-step guide to fees.
Assessing the appropriate limit
The Act provides for public authorities to either charge for or decline requests for information that would cost over what is referred to as the appropriate limit. With regards to NUH (and other public authorities) the appropriate limit is set at £450.
We are required to estimate whether a request is likely to breach the 'appropriate limit' and where it does, to notify you of the estimated costs and where available, the options to reduce those costs as may be required.
Calculation of fees
We will calculate the fees by estimating the time it will reasonably take to:
- determine whether the information requested is held
- locate the information or documents containing the information
- retrieve such information or documents
- extract the information from the document which contains it (including editing or redacting information)
The standard hourly rate that all authorities must use to calculate the staff costs of answering requests is £25 per hour.
There will be no fee to pay for requests for information that cost less than £450 or take less than 18 working hours to complete.
We are however, entitled to make a charge to recover the cost of reproduction of the information and postage (which are referred to as disbursement costs) and will do so if those costs exceed £15 in total.
If there is a fee to pay, you will be notified in writing of the total cost with an explanation of how those costs have been calculated. The 20 day compliance time will be suspended and then will be reactivated when we receive your payment.
We will provide advice and assistance and discuss with you how the scope of the request could be narrowed in order to keep any fees as low as possible.
When we have issued a fees notice, you have three months to pay. We do not have to answer the request until payment has been received (section 9(2) of the Freedom of Information Act) and will consider the request to have been cancelled if payment has not been received within three months after the fees notice is issued.
If you do not agree with the Trust's decision that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit, you can ask the Information Commissioner to investigate.
Requests costing more than the appropriate limit
If a request would cost more than the 'appropriate limit' to answer, we not obliged to answer it. However, we will provide advice and assistance to you to see whether the question could be refined, or resubmitted in part, to bring it below the appropriate limit.
If after providing such advice the request would still cost more than the appropriate limit to answer, we will inform you no later than the 20-day limit for answering requests with one of three outcomes:
- we can decide not to provide the information
- we can answer and charge a permitted fee calculated in accordance with the Fees Regulations, or
- we can answer without charging
Where we receive a number of requests from either the same person or different people asking for the same or similar information within a short time of each other, we may consider aggregating these requests to take an overall view of the resources which would have to be committed to answering all of the requests.
When can you aggregate requests?
We can only aggregate requests in the following circumstances:
- two or more requests for the same information have been made
- they must be either from the same person, or from 'different persons who appear to be 'acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign'
- they have been received within a space of 60 consecutive working days
Environmental Information Regulations 2005
Environmental information is exempt from the information the Freedom of Information Act by virtue of section 39, and is dealt with under the Environmental Regulations 2005 regime.
Unlike Freedom of Information, there is no 'appropriate limit' in the Regulations, and there is no requirement under regulation 12(4)(b) to answer a request that is 'manifestly unreasonable'. This would apply to requests which would have an unreasonable resource impact on us.
We cannot make a charge for allowing you:
- access to any public registers or lists of environmental information; or
- to examine the information (at a place chosen by the public authority)
For all other situations, charging is at our discretion. The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2005 state that public authorities may charge for environmental information and this charge should be "reasonable". An EIR request will be treated in exactly the same way as an FOI request if it falls below the appropriate limit of £450.
Disbursement costs for photocopying, printing and postage may be charged if they exceed £15. You will be notified in writing if there is a fee to pay.
Unlike FOIA, a request for environmental information cannot be refused if it exceeds the appropriate limit. In such cases, we will consider the request on its own merits and agree a course of action with you, which may include a reasonable charge being made for the information. Again, you will be notified in writing if there is a fee to pay.
For further information see: Information Commissioner's Guidance Environmental Information Regulations - Charging for environmental information.
A mixed request is a case in which part of the information requested is regulated by one access to information regime, and other parts by other regimes.
Maximum fees will be determined according to each separate regime. For example, where a request is for a mixture of your own personal data, and other information to which the Freedom of Information Act applies, then the maximum fee will be the sum of the maximum subject access fee under the Data Protection Act and the maximum fee for providing the remainder of the information calculated under the freedom of information regime.
Re-use of public sector information regulations
The information featured on this website is the copyright of Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust unless otherwise indicated. You may re-use the information on this website free of charge in any format. Re-use includes copying, issuing copies to the public, publishing, broadcasting and translating into other languages. It also covers non-commercial research and study. Re-use is subject to the following conditions. You must:
- acknowledge the source and our copyright in cases where you supply the information to others
- reproduce the information accurately
- not use the information in a misleading way
- not use the information for the principal purpose of advertising or promoting a particular product or service.
- you may establish links to this website