HSE policy statement on charging
HSE is committed to openness and aim to release as much information as possible both routinely and in response to requests under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation.
However HSE are aware that there should be a balance between their policy on openness and the regulatory and enforcement responsibilities imposed by HSWA 1974. Consequently HSE’s charging policy has been developed in awareness that resource diverted to respond to FOI and EIR requests should not impair HSE’s mission.
Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act) allows public authorities to charge for answering requests in certain cases. This guidance outlines:
- when HSE will charge fees;
- how fees will be calculated; and
- the procedures that will be followed
There are two types of chargeable fees:
- Prescribed costs of the request – the cost of finding, sorting, editing or extracting the material when it exceeds £600, as defined in The Freedom of Information Act’s Fees Regulations, and
- Disbursements, such as costs associated with printing, photocopying, postage or information provided will be charged in all cases where costs exceed £35.
Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
The EIRs expressly permit public authorities to charge for making environmental information available other than in those specified circumstances where it must be made available freely. It does not allow that charge to exceed an amount which the public authority is satisfied is a reasonable amount.
The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) has no automatic cost limit above which requests can be refused, but requests that are ‘manifestly unreasonable’ can be refused.
For further details on EIR charges Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) guidance.
Data Protection and General Data Protection Regulations
Individuals can make a request for their personal information, Subject Access Request, and not have to pay a fee unless the request is excessive or disproportionate.
Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR)
Charges under the CPR will be determined case by case depending on the volume of information requested and in accordance with Courts Case Management procedures.