FoI in Wales: It'll cost you

Anyone wanting to access information from Neath Town Council will have to pay – and the more you want to know, the more you could be charged.

Councillors have voted to set up a sliding scale for enquiries made under the Freedom of Information Act, with £10 being the minimum.

They claimed the charges cover the cost of the time taken by their clerk to process the enquiries and would act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of bombarding the council with requests.

The Freedom of Information Act gives individuals the right to see official information held by public bodies, hospitals and the police, although there are some exceptions to what can be disclosed.

Mount Pleasant ward representative Coun John Williams said: "We are not denying anyone freedom of information, what we are saying is if there is time spent on getting the documents the person should pay for it. Otherwise, we will get requests for information and the clerk and staff could be inundated."

Neath Town Council to charge for Freedom of Information enquiries (Wales Online, 8 January 2009)

Council running scared of FOI requests (Wales Online, 8 January 2009)