How far should an agency search for a document?
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.