Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Charging for information

We make a reasonable charge for hard-copies of some of our publications. The charge will always be made clear either on the publication or on our website where the publication’s details are published. Please see our Publication Scheme for more details.

We do not charge for providing you with information that we hold about you (called a Subject Access Request). The law (the Data Protection Act (2018)) does not allow for routine charging for all requests, however it does allow us to make a charge where you ask for personal data which you have already received before, or we are able to refuse the request.

Typically, in these cases we will advise that the data has already been supplied, however if we do agree to provide additional copies the charge may be made covering our administrative costs in providing the additional copies.

The act allows us to charge an hourly rate for time taken to handle a request for any period over and above an 18-hour ‘appropriate’ limit, or we may refuse the request in such circumstances. Typically we will refuse such requests, however in the event that we accept a case made to fulfil the request, a charge may be made on an hourly rate.

The Act also allows for charges to be made to cover the costs of ‘disbursements’ i.e. administrative costs relating to printing and posting where the information is requested in hard-copy, or providing memory sticks / CDs etc where requested for digital information.

Information about the Environment falls under the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) rather than FOI. We are permitted to charge the actual cost of providing information about the environment or about matters which affect the environment as long as we explain why it is reasonable.

We choose to only make a charge for requests which take more than 18 hours to fulfil, and where such requests cannot be established as ‘Manifestly Unreasonable’ (under Regulation 12(4)(b)) and not in the public interest. However, in such cases the EIR permits us to charge an hourly rate for all time spent on fulfilling the request. Therefore, in such cases a minimum charge of £450 would apply. We would always contact you if we believe a charge applies in order to make you aware and to obtain payment if you wish to proceed.

EIR allows for public inspection of documents and no basic charge applies for this, however if there are costs to prepare the information for inspection and these are reasonable, we may make such a charge.  

The Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (RoPSI) encourage proactive publication (or access to) datasets held by the University’s library. In general, providing such datasets for re-use purposes is free of charge, however where there are legitimate costs to provide the information these are made clear by the library.

When estimating the cost, we will include all costs likely to be incurred in:

  • Determining whether we hold the information requested
  • Locating the information or documents containing the information
  • Retrieving such information or documents, and
  • Extracting the information from the document containing it (excluding editing or redacting information)

We will not include in the calculation:

  • the cost of the time we spend removing the information we are entitled to withhold.
  • the cost of the time we spend deciding whether or not it is in the public interest to disclose information.
  • Any cost apportionment to cover staff employment overheads over and above the standard hourly rate
  • Any cost apportionment to cover the cost of maintain the record system or associated resource from which the information will come

We do not charge for supplying information in an alternative format if your needs are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, unless the original document is a priced publication. In this case, the charge for the alternative format will not exceed the cost of original publication.

We tell you about the estimated charge before doing any work beyond investigating the likely time it would take and other costs involved in fulfilling the request. The charge applies as quoted, even if it later proves to differ from the actual cost of providing the information.

Where charges apply, we require payment before compiling and supplying information. Our preference is to receive payment via our online payment facilities and we will advise how to use this when we present you with the charge.

If you do not have access to online payment facilities or have another preference you can advise us of this in reply to the charge notification.

If we have not received payment within three months of being notified of the charge, we will assume that you no longer wish to proceed, and the request will be closed.

The University is not permitted to charge for aspects of fulfilling a request that are made as a result of the information not being effectively managed; taking more time (and causing additional cost) to find it and extract the data as a result.

Public authorities must have a published schedule of charges in order to be able to charge applicants for environmental information.  Currently the University uses the following rates:

  • 10p per A4 sheet (for photocopying charges)
  • Actual cost to the University of postage (including any specific courier services requested)
  • Actual cost to the University for any removable digital media requested
  • £25 - as the hourly rate for calculating the value of staff time. The ICO has indicated that it is reasonable for public authorities to use the rate under the FOI Act of £25. The following are activities which ARU may include under the value of staff time which will form the basis for any estimate of charging:
    • Reviewing emails
    • File checks within network storage
    • Other document checks, hard copies etc
    • 3rd Party Consultation: discussions/consultations with any affected 3rd party
    • Liaison with ARU Officers
    • ARU Central Team log /processing the request and allocating a co-ordinator
    • Final approval for accuracy of the information/ ‘sign off’
    • Time taken to determine whether ARU holds the information (if not covered above)
    • Time taken to locate the information (if not covered above)
    • Time taken to retrieve the information (e.g. from storage) (if not covered above)
    • Time taken to extract the relevant information from larger documents (not including editing/redaction) (if not covered above)