Practical refusal reasons
An FOI request can be refused if a practical refusal reason applies.
- the public authority does not hold or cannot, after taking reasonable steps to do so, find the information that the applicant has requested;
- complying with the request for information would require the public authority to create or derive information from information that it holds; undertake research into, or analysis of, information that it holds; or undertake substantial compilation or collation of information that it holds;
- the request for information was not in the correct form;
- the request for information relates to information that is identical, or substantially similar, to information previously requested by, and supplied to, the applicant and a reasonable period of time has not passed between compliance with the previous request and the making of the current request;
- the request is deemed to be "vexatious, malicious, frivolous, misconceived or lacking in substance".
Before it can refuse to provide the information requested a public authority must attempt to remove the practical refusal reason by the provision of advice and assistance to the Applicant.
A refusal notice must be issued if the request is being refused.
Further guidance is available to public authorities in the Code of Practice.