How far should an agency search for a document?

17 June 2020
Tags: document search

The scope of the search required depends on the nature of the request and the information that is available. Agencies are encouraged as a matter of good administrative practice to contact the applicant to discuss the request.

Use the ‘reasonable steps checklist’ and ‘search minute’ in the agency resource: Processing FOI requests: taking all reasonable steps to find documents.

A statement of reasons should provide an explanation of steps taken to locate the document. See Part 3 of the Guidelines.

Does an agency need to search back up computer systems when processing an FOI request?

Not usually. Whether a search of a back-up system is necessary will depend on the circumstances of the request. See Part 3 of the Guidelines.