What happens after you apply for information

Once you have submitted your request for information, we will review your application to make sure it contains everything we need to process it.

If we need more information, we will contact you within 15 working days of receiving your application.

If you do not give us the requested information within the allocated timeframe, we may refuse to process your application due to noncompliance.

Once we officially accept your application we will send you a written acknowledgement that it has been received.

Processing times

We must decide your application within 25 business days of receiving a valid submission.

This period may be extended by 10 business days if another person or agency needs to be consulted.

We may also negotiate an extension with you if there are problems locating documents, or with staff availability or workload.

If we have not reached a decision on your application by the end of the timeframe, the RTI and IP Acts deem us to have refused your access to the requested documents.

You may then apply to the Information Commissioner for an external review.

Notice of decision

Once we’ve processed your request, we’ll send you a letter explaining the decision and the reasons behind it. It will explain which documents were found and why you may have been refused access to certain documents (or parts of documents).

This letter will also include an estimated charges notice (if applicable).

Accessing the documents

You have 40 business days after the date of the decision to access any released documents.

Review rights

You can dispute our decision about your application if:

  • we decide
    • it is outside the scope of the Act
    • it does not comply with the application requirements
    • charges are payable (but you can’t dispute the amount)
  • we won’t deal with the application
  • we won’t grant access to the documents (either in full or part)
  • we won’t waive processing or access charges
  • the documents don’t exist or can’t be found
  • we provide you notice about a ‘deemed’ decision (i.e. too much time has lapsed, so the application expired).

Another party can also dispute the decision if:

  • we decide to release documents contrary to their views
  • you believe we should have taken steps to consult them about the release of documents

You may apply for an:

  • internal review of the decision by another departmental officer (no less senior than the original decision-maker)
  • external review of the decision—apply directly to the Information Commissioner.

You must apply for a review in writing within 20 business days after the date of the written notice of decision.