MoJ refuses to provide spending details per language service provider
Ms Cristina Santos
Our Reference: FOI 81000 18 March 2013
Dear Ms Santos,
Freedom of Information Request
Thank you for your e-mail of 19 February 2013, in which you asked for the following information from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ):
“I am writing to request the following financial information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please provide spending details on interpreting services by HMCTS from 1st February 2012 to 1st February 2013 per language service provider (e.g. Capita TI, ITL, etc.). For ease of reference any bookings completed by freelance interpreters when engaged directly by HMCTS can be aggregated into one language service provider – Freelance Interpreters engaged under the terms of the National Agreement.”
In relation to your request, I can confirm that the Ministry of Justice holds information that you have asked for. However, because the cost of complying with your request would exceed the limit set by the Freedom of Information Act, on this occasion I am afraid I will not be taking your request further. In this letter I explain why that is the case, and I also provide you with some advice as to how you could refine your request so that we may be able to answer it.
The law allows us to decline to answer FOI requests when we estimate it would cost us more than £600 (equivalent to 3½ working days’ worth of work, calculated at £25 per hour) to identify, locate, extract, and then provide the information that has been asked for.
In this instance to provide you with the information we would need to check the payment records of each individual criminal court. Although tribunals and civil courts record their spend on interpreters separately, they do not have a sub-category for the type of payment (for example, agency booking or direct booking with an interpreter). In criminal courts, interpreters are paid out of a central fund which is not further specified. Therefore, each payment would need to be checked.
I am satisfied that all these checks would exceed the £600 costs limit.
You can find out more about Section 12(1) by reading the extract from the Act and some guidance points we consider when applying this exemption, attached at the end of this letter.
You can also find more information by reading the full text of the Act, available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/12 and further guidance http://www.justice.gov.uk/information-access-rights/foi-guidance-forpractitioners/
Although we cannot answer your request at the moment, we might be able to answer a refined request within the cost limit. You may wish to consider, for example, restricting the request to a shorter time period, or to a specific location. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee at this stage that a refined request will fall within the
FOIA cost limit.
I am sorry that on this occasion I have not been able to answer your request. You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect. Details can be found in the ‘How to Appeal’ section attached at the end of this letter.
You can also view information that the Ministry of Justice has disclosed in response to previous Freedom of Information requests. Responses are anonymised and published on our on-line disclosure log which can be found on the MoJ website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/information-access-rights/foi-requests/latest-moj-disclosurelog
Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service