Freedom of Information Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART I, ACCESS TO INFORMATION HELD BY PUBLIC AUTHORITIES - continued
Right to information - continued

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Public authorities to which Act has limited application.     7. - (1) Where a public authority is listed in Schedule 1 only in relation to information of a specified description, nothing in Parts I to V of this Act applies to any other information held by the authority.
 
      (2) An order under section 4(1) may, in adding an entry to Schedule 1, list the public authority only in relation to information of a specified description.
 
      (3) The Secretary of State may by order amend Schedule 1-
 
 
    (a) by limiting to information of a specified description the entry relating to any public authority, or
 
    (b) by removing or amending any limitation to information of a specified description which is for the time being contained in any entry.
      (4) Before making an order under subsection (3), the Secretary of State shall-
 
 
    (a) if the order relates to the National Assembly for Wales or a Welsh public authority, consult the National Assembly for Wales,
 
    (b) if the order relates to the Northern Ireland Assembly, consult the Presiding Officer of that Assembly, and
 
    (c) if the order relates to a Northern Ireland department or a Northern Ireland public authority, consult the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland.
      (5) An order under section 5(1)(a) must specify the functions of the public authority designated by the order with respect to which the designation is to have effect; and nothing in Parts I to V of this Act applies to information which is held by the authority but does not relate to the exercise of those functions.
 
      (6) An order under section 5(1)(b) must specify the services provided under contract with respect to which the designation is to have effect; and nothing in Parts I to V of this Act applies to information which is held by the public authority designated by the order but does not relate to the provision of those services.
 
      (7) Nothing in Parts I to V of this Act applies in relation to any information held by a publicly-owned company which is excluded information in relation to that company.
 
      (8) In subsection (7) "excluded information", in relation to a publicly-owned company, means information which is of a description specified in relation to that company in an order made by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this subsection.
 
      (9) In this section "publicly-owned company" has the meaning given by section 6.
 
Request for information.     8. - (1) In this Act any reference to a "request for information" is a reference to such a request which-
 
 
    (a) is in writing,
 
    (b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence, and
 
    (c) describes the information requested.
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a request is to be treated as made in writing where the text of the request-
 
 
    (a) is transmitted by electronic means,
 
    (b) is received in legible form, and
 
    (c) is capable of being used for subsequent reference.
Fees.     9. - (1) A public authority to whom a request for information is made may, within the period for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice in writing (in this Act referred to as a "fees notice") stating that a fee of an amount specified in the notice is to be charged by the authority for complying with section 1(1).
 
      (2) Where a fees notice has been given to the applicant, the public authority is not obliged to comply with section 1(1) unless the fee is paid within the period of three months beginning with the day on which the fees notice is given to the applicant.
 
      (3) Subject to subsection (5), any fee under this section must be determined by the public authority in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State.
 
      (4) Regulations under subsection (3) may, in particular, provide-
 
 
    (a) that no fee is to be payable in prescribed cases,
 
    (b) that any fee is not to exceed such maximum as may be specified in, or determined in accordance with, the regulations, and
 
    (c) that any fee is to be calculated in such manner as may be prescribed by the regulations.
      (5) Subsection (3) does not apply where provision is made by or under any enactment as to the fee that may be charged by the public authority for the disclosure of the information.
 
Time for compliance with request.     10. - (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.
 
      (2) Where the authority has given a fees notice to the applicant and the fee is paid in accordance with section 9(2), the working days in the period beginning with the day on which the fees notice is given to the applicant and ending with the day on which the fee is received by the authority are to be disregarded in calculating for the purposes of subsection (1) the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.
 
      (3) If, and to the extent that-
 
 
    (a) section 1(1)(a) would not apply if the condition in section 2(1)(b) were satisfied, or
 
    (b) section 1(1)(b) would not apply if the condition in section 2(2)(b) were satisfied,
       the public authority need not comply with section 1(1)(a) or (b) until such time as is reasonable in the circumstances; but this subsection does not affect the time by which any notice under section 17(1) must be given.
 
      (4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that subsections (1) and (2) are to have effect as if any reference to the twentieth working day following the date of receipt were a reference to such other day, not later than the sixtieth working day following the date of receipt, as may be specified in, or determined in accordance with, the regulations.
 
      (5) Regulations under subsection (4) may-
 
 
    (a) prescribe different days in relation to different cases, and
 
    (b) confer a discretion on the Commissioner.
      (6) In this section-
 
 
    "the date of receipt" means-
 
      (a) the day on which the public authority receives the request for information, or
 
      (b) if later, the day on which it receives the information referred to in section 1(3);
 
    "working day" means any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United Kingdom.
Means by which communication to be made.     11. - (1) Where, on making his request for information, the applicant expresses a preference for communication by any one or more of the following means, namely-
 
 
    (a) the provision to the applicant of a copy of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant,
 
    (b) the provision to the applicant of a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information, and
 
    (c) the provision to the applicant of a digest or summary of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant,
       the public authority shall so far as reasonably practicable give effect to that preference.
 
      (2) In determining for the purposes of this section whether it is reasonably practicable to communicate information by particular means, the public authority may have regard to all the circumstances, including the cost of doing so.
 
      (3) Where the public authority determines that it is not reasonably practicable to comply with any preference expressed by the applicant in making his request, the authority shall notify the applicant of the reasons for its determination.
 
      (4) Subject to subsection (1), a public authority may comply with a request by communicating information by any means which are reasonable in the circumstances.
 
 
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