Subject Access Requests at The National Archives

FOI request reference: F0050629
Publication date: November 2017

Request

Q1. How many subject access requests did you receive the identifying paperwork for and process in 2014?
Q2. How many subject access requests did you receive the identifying paperwork for and process in 2015?
Q3. How many subject access requests did you receive the identifying paperwork for and process in 2016?
Q4. How many subject access requests you rejected in 2014?
Q5. How many subject access requests you rejected in 2015?
Q6. How many subject access requests you rejected in 2016?
Q7. What was the average cost for you to process a subject access request in 2014?
Q8. What was the average cost for you to process a subject access request in 2015?
Q9. What was the average cost for you to process a subject access request in 2016?
Q10. How much do you charge an individual to process a subject access request?

Outcome

Partially Successful

Response

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. The FOI Act gives you the right to know whether we hold the information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions which may apply.

I can confirm that The National Archives holds some information relevant to your request and we are pleased to be able to provide this information to you.

The National Archives receives subject access requests across the organisation and they are processed by multiple teams. We do not hold this information centrally and in the format you have asked for.

We can provide you with the amount of subject access requests processed for each year however we cannot determine whether the identifying paperwork was received without going into each individual case file which would be likely to exceed the cost limit.

For further information about the cost limit, please see the explanatory annex at the end of this response.

Q1. The National Archives processed 84 subject access requests in 2014.

Q2. The National Archives processed 55 subject access requests in 2015.

Q3. The National Archives processed 54 subject access requests in 2016.

Q4, Q5 & Q6. It is unclear from your request what information you are looking to be included under the term ‘rejected’. There are several reasons that a subject access request may be considered unsuccessful for example if the information is found not to be relevant to the request, the information is exempt under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 or if adequate identifying paperwork is not received.

As explained above we do not hold this information centrally and we are unable to determine whether a subject access request was successful or unsuccessful without looking at the specific case details which would involve accessing each individual case file.

Q7, Q8 & Q9.  We do not hold this information. The National Archives processes subject access requests as part of our day to day work, the cost of processing such requests is not recorded.

10. The National Archives published policy states in paragraph 7.12 that ‘there is a statutory fee of £10 for responding to subject access requests which can be waived if we choose. This does not recover our costs and we often waive it’.

You can find The National Archives policy here:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/data-protection-procedures-2011-website-version-updated-apr-2013.pdf

Advice and Assistance

You may wish to consider narrowing the scope of your request in order to gain more information about the processing of subject access requests at The National Archives.  For example by limiting your request to a 6 month period we may be able to provide you with further details about the number of subject access requests that we received identifying paperwork for and processed.

Furthermore, providing further clarification about what you mean by ‘rejected’ subject access requests would assist us in locating this information and providing a more guided response.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX

Section 12 – Section 12 – Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit
Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central government departments like The National Archives, is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending just over three working days determining whether the department holds the information, as well as locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
We estimate that it will take us in excess of this to identify the appropriate information, and locate, retrieve and extract it in response to your request because it is so wide ranging. You may wish to consider refining your request.
Further guidance can be found at:
http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/costs_of_compliance_exceeds_appropriate_limit.pdf