At a glance
You normally have 20 working days to respond to a request.
- What are the timescales for responding to a request for information?
- It will take us a long time to find the information. Can we have extra time?
- Can we have extra time to consider exemptions?
Your main obligation under the Act is to respond to requests promptly, with a time limit acting as the longest time you can take. Under the Act, most public authorities may take up to 20 working days to respond, counting the first working day after the request is received as the first day. For schools, the standard time limit is 20 school days, or 60 working days if this is shorter.
Working day means any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or public holidays and bank holidays; this may or may not be the same as the days you are open for business or staff are in work.
The time allowed for complying with a request starts when your organisation receives it, not when it reaches the freedom of information officer or other relevant member of staff.
Certain circumstances (explained in this guidance and in When can we refuse a request?) may allow you extra time. However, in all cases you must give the requester a written response within the standard time limit for compliance.
For further information, read our more detailed guidance: