HC Deb 16 May 1994 vol 243 cc303-4W
Mr. Simpson

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) of 28 April,Official Report, columns 254–55, if he will set out the criteria to be adopted to judge the disproportionate time or effort in preparing information as stated at paragraph (c) of the Cabinet Secretary's note to which he refers.

The Prime Minister

The criteria are set out in the guidance on interpretation of the code of practice on access to Government information, which has been issued to all Departments and placed in the Library of the House. The guidance states that consideration should be given to the amount of information sought in an application and the difficulties in identifying, locating or collating the information requested. The guidance goes on to sayIn each case, the test is whether these factors would mean that meeting an access request would require an unreasonable diversion of resources or otherwise undermine the work of the department (because files are kept out of circulation for extended periods, for example, or staff have to be diverted a considerable amount of time from other more urgent work).