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How long will it take to receive a decision?

Generally the agency or minister must take all reasonable steps to notify you of their decision within 30 days of receiving your request. This can be extended for various reasons. For further information see FOI fact sheet 16: Extensions of time.

Could it take more than 30 days?

Yes. The time to make the decision can be extended:

  • to allow the agency to consult a third party
  • if you agree in writing
  • if your request is particularly complex or too large
  • to discuss with you the charges for processing your request, or when you have not paid the notified charge.

For details about extending the timeframe see FOI fact sheet 16: Extensions of time.

What happens if no decision is made within time?

If a decision is not made within the required timeframe, your request is deemed to have been refused. You then have the right to ask for a review. For more information, see What can I do if I disagree with an agency or minister's decision?

The agency or minister can ask the Information Commissioner for a one-off extension of time after the timeframe has passed (for example, if they have nearly finished processing the request). You will still have the right to have the decision reviewed. For information about the review process see FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.