Public authorities must comply with requests promptly but in any event before the end of the 20th working day. This is known as the "standard processing period".
This timescale can only be extended if the public authority is considering whether a qualified exemption may apply to the information.
The time cannot be extended:
- to search for the information;
- to prepare the information for supply to the applicant;
- for consideration of whether:
- an absolute exemption applies
- a practical refusal reason applies;
- due to staff leave or absenteeism.
If the authority reasonably needs additional information from the applicant to identify the information being sought, or to prove that the person is resident, where the authority does not, on reasonable grounds, believe that to be the case, the time for complying with the request is stopped when the information is sought from the applicant and restarts upon receipt.