Information about yourself or other people.
Our response calculator is a guide to what to expect when you make a request to an authority. It is important to note that you should use the actual date on which you receive the response from the authority to work out your time limit for requesting a review or making an appeal to the Commissioner.
The authority must base its calculations of the number of working days for response on the actual date it receives your request. Our calculator is not suitable for authorities to use as it includes delivery times (which authorities have to disregard).
Q. How does the calculator work?
A. The calculator shows the last possible day by which you should have received a response from the authority. Authorities must respond to information requests within 20 working days and the law allows time for your request to arrive and the response to be delivered to you.
Working days are Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. You can find out more about public holidays here: Timescales for responding to information requests
If you have made your request by email:
count 20 working days from the day after sending, plus 3 days for a posted response to be delivered to you. If the delivery date would be a Sunday, then add one day to allow for the delivery on the following day.
If you have made your request by post:
count 3 days from the day after you sent it, plus 20 working days, plus a further 3 days for the response to be delivered to you. If the delivery date would be a Sunday, then add one day to allow for the delivery on the following day.
Q. What happens if the response arrives earlier?
A. Our calculator shows the longest time you can expect to wait for a response. Authorities should respond to information requests as soon as they can, so it is quite likely that you will receive the response earlier than the time we have calculated here.
If this happens, you need to be aware that the time allowed for you to request a review or to appeal to the Commissioner starts from the day on which you actually receive the response, not the day shown in our calculator.
Q. I am asking for environmental information. Are the timescales the same?
A. The organisation should reply to a request for information as soon as possible, but in most cases must do so within 20 working days. If you have made a complex request for information involving large amounts of material, the organisation is allowed up to 40 working days to reply. If it will take longer than 20 working days to provide the information, the organisation should let you know within 20 working days of receiving your request.
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