Nottingham City Council (NCC) has been accused of lying about how much Freedom of Information (FOI) requests cost . Last year, city council leader Councillor Jon Collins claimed that it cost them half a million pounds each year to respond to requests for information.
However, a FOI request sent to the council revealed that the actual total costs for processing requests was almost 8 times less than that. It revealed that the total costs over 6 months from September 2011-February 2012 was £32,161, which would mean that if this figure was the same for next 6 months the cost over one year would amount to just £64,322. The council now claims that the total cost is actually £370,000, saying that a new system to calculate costs, which came into force in September 2011, didn’t take into account half of the requests made in the six-month period.
Councillor Georgina Culley claimed that, “This has been a means of trying to frighten people from making applications,” saying that the £370,000 figure had been “plucked out of the air”. It is the latest in a series of confusions and controversies surrounding NCC’s handling of FOI requests. Previous accusations include failing to respond to as many as 42% of requests within the 20 working day time limit.