Council, 27 November 1996.
The charges set out in this policy represent what the Christchurch City Council regards as reasonable charges for the purpose of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 where the Council decides to charge for supplying official information which is presently not charged for.
- Existing charges to remain
1.1 There are currently areas where access to information is charged for by the Council, or where charges are prescribed by Statute. This policy does not affect those charges.
- Fixing the amount of charge
2.1 The amount of charge should be determined by:
(a) The aggregate amount of staff time exceeding two hours spent in actioning the request.
This will include search and retrieval of information, the provision of transcripts and the supervision of access.
(b) The number of pages of A4 sized or foolscap photocopy to be provided exceeding 40.
Non standard sized photocopy paper such as that used for reproducing maps and plans will be charge on an actual and reasonable basis.
(c) For any other cost, the amount actually incurred in responding to the request.
This will cover the provision of copies of video, audio and film tapes, computer time or other situations where a direct charge is incurred.
2.2 Where repeated requests from the same source are made in respect of a common subject over intervals of up to eight weeks, requests after the first should be aggregated for charging purposes.
2.3 The charge should represent a reasonable fee for access given. It may include time spent:
in searching an index to establish the location of the information;
- In locating (physically) and extracting the information from the place where it is held;
- In reading or reviewing the information; and
- In supervising the access to the information.
The charge should not include any allowance for:
- Extra time spent locating and retrieving information when it is not where it ought to be; or
- Time spent deciding whether or not access should be allowed and in what form.
2.4 Where the free threshold is only exceeded by a small margin it is a matter of discretion whether any fee should be paid and if so, how much.
- Staff time
3.1 Time spent by staff searching for relevant material, abstracting and collating, copying, transcribing and supervising access where the total time involved is in excess of two hours should be charged out as follows:
- An initial charge of $25 for the first chargeable half hour or part thereof; and
- Then $25 for each additional half hour or part thereof.
3.2 The rate of charge applies irrespective of the seniority or grading of the officer who deals with the request.
3.3 Time spent by staff in deciding whether or not to approve access and in what form to provide information should not be charged.
4.1 Photocopying on standard A4 or foolscap paper where the total number of pages is in excess of 40 pages should be charged out as follows:
- 20 cents for each page after the first 40 pages.
- Other costs
5.1 All other charges incurred should be fixed at an amount which recovers the full costs involved. This would include:
- Producing a document by the use of a computer or other like equipment;
- Reproducing a film, video or audio recording;
- Arranging for the applicant to hear or view an audio or visual recording; and
- Providing a copy of any map, plan or other document larger than foolscap size.
- Remission of charges
6.1 The liability to pay any charge may be modified or waived at the discretion of the City Manager or the Legal Services Manager. Such decisions should have regard to the circumstances of each request. However, it would be appropriate to consider:
- Whether payment might cause the applicant financial hardship;
- Whether remission or reduction of the charge would facilitate good relations with the public or assist the Council in its work; and
- Whether remission or reduction of the charge would be in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of, or effective participation in, the operations or activities of the Council, and the disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
6.2 Elected members shall be exempted from charges for official information for their duties as elected members.
7.1 A deposit may be required where the charge is likely to exceed $100 or where some assurance of payment is required to avoid waste of resources. A deposit may only be requested after a decision has been made to make the information available.
7.2 The applicant should be notified of the amount of deposit required, the method of calculating the charge and the likely final amount to be paid. Work on the request may be suspended pending receipt of the deposit.
7.3 The unused portion of any deposit should be refunded forthwith to the applicant together with a statement detailing how the balance was expended.