The price for freedom is £41,000

PUBLISHED: 12:22 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:49 11 May 2010

A COUNCIL has spent more than an estimated £40,000 dealing with requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The cost has been revealed after The Crow requested under the Act details on the scheme from North Herts District Council. The estimated cost of

A COUNCIL has spent more than an estimated £40,000 dealing with requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

The cost has been revealed after The Crow requested under the Act details on the scheme from North Herts District Council.

The estimated cost of £41,850 covers a period from the introduction of the Act in January, 2005 up to April this year.

In answer to The Crow's request, the district council revealed that in 2005 there were 60 requests under the Act; in 2006, 81 requests; in 2007, 138 requests and up to this April, 58 requests.

The costs over the years has been estimated at £9,000 for 2005; £12,150 for 2006; £20,700 for 2007 and £8,700 until April, 2008.

The 58 request made up to April have included questions on gypsy sites, health and safety inspections and bus services.

Questions involving council spending included requests about the use of agency staff and temporary staff.

The request revealed that £253,775 had been spent on agency staff and £543,048 on temporary staff from April 2007 to March 2008.

A request was submitted, too, on the council's use of consultants in 2007.

Although the council said £1,034,904 was spent on consultants in 2007 it was unable to give further details because the request would have exceeded 18 working hours to provide the information.

The cost of providing details to the applicant making the request would have been £1,550.

Under the Act, councils are allowed to charge for supplying details on questions after 18 working hours has elapsed.

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