However, under The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, TfL can refuse to deal with a request that would cost more than £450 to process.
Calculating the costs of requests can include:
- Determining whether the requested information is held
- Locating and retrieving the information
- Extracting the information
Alternatively, these regulations permit a public body to recover some costs incurred in meeting a request which is estimated to cost up to £450.
Applicants will be notified if a charge is payable to answer their request and in those cases information will not be provided until payment has been received.
Information already supplied by TfL
TfL will continue to provide and charge for certain existing information related services on the existing basis. These include information already available for a charge, as described in TfL's Publication Schemes, such as its archive services.
Requests estimated at over £450
In general, and in line with other GLA bodies, TfL will respond by stating that we will not be providing the information requested and explain the reason ie the cost would exceed £450. However, in instances where TfL considers it to be in the public interest to disclose this information, TfL may choose to provide it.
The decision on whether to provide a response in such circumstances will rest with the Information Governance of General Counsel.
Requests estimated at up to £450
For requests estimated to cost £450 or less to fulfil, TfL, in line with the GLA and functional bodies, will charge only for disbursements incurred in the course of preparing and sending a response.
In view of the administrative costs involved in recovering these disbursements, TfL may additionally choose to set a threshold value for charging for these disbursements and reserves the right to waive charges above any such threshold value. With effect from 1 January 2005 this threshold is being set at £200.
VAT will be charged on any fees calculated, at the standard rate of 20 per cent. Where a book or booklet is provided in response to an information request, the VAT charged on the publication will be zero rated as per the Government's standard VAT policy.
In certain circumstances, the costs of answering more than one request may be added together to determine whether the limit has been exceeded.
In order for costs to be added together:
- Two or more requests for information must be to the same public authority
- They must be from the same person or from 'different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign'
- The requests must relate to the same or similar information
- They must have been received by the public authority within a space of 60 consecutive working days