Office for Nuclear Regulation

Dealing with vexatious requests

Date released
31 May 2022
Request number

202205005

Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

Information requested

Please disclose, preferably by PDF: 1. any communications and records of any meetings held in relation to developing and forming what finally became the policy in this document: ONR Policy: Dealing with vexatious Freedom of Information (FOI) requests - February 2021 and the lengths of meetings caught by this request/how many staff involved; 2. what prompted the thought of having such a policy or prompted the ONR to have such a policy.

Information released

We confirm that under s.1 of the FOIA, we hold the information relevant to your request.

However, your request is very broad and covers a wide-range of historical information held across several IT systems in ONR. To locate, retrieve and extract the information for release is likely to involve a cost in excess of the £600 limit set by the government for dealing with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. Therefore we are refusing your request under s.12 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, requests where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit.

In addition, in accordance with chapter 7 of the FOI Code of Practice (paragraphs 7.12-7.15), and s.14(1) of the FOIA, we believe that s.14 is engaged and the information should be withheld based on the burden that responding to the request would create. In addition to the further time which would be required to prepare the information for release, there is little public interest in the release of information about the background to a policy, the rationale for which, we believe, is self-evident on its face.

We are a public body, accountable to Parliament, and we need to be proportionate in our use of resources to provide value and fairness across the range of stakeholders and public that we engage with. Many public authorities and regulators who process FOI requests have such a policy as it enables them to have an effective FOI function and deal with vexatious requests fairly and transparently.

Further Information

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published guidance on “Dealing with vexatious requests” which includes what they expect from an authority seeking to apply s.14 FOIA and the supporting evidence authorities should provide. Our policy reflects that advice, explains how s14 is considered internally within ONR and signposts readers to where further information is available.

It is very rare for us to refuse requests for information under s.14 FOIA. You may find our request reference FOI202102070 regarding our use of s.14 helpful in illustrating how we have previously used this provision.

Exemptions applied

12, 14

PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable

N/A