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Information Rights Team
Post Office Limited
20 Finsbury Street
London EC2Y 9AQ
Our reference: FOI2021/00864
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
21st October 2021
Freedom of Information Request – FOI2021/00864
I am writing in response to your email received by Post Office Limited (“Post Office
29 September, which has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (“FOIA
In your email you have requested the following information:
Please can you provide the total opening hours of the Post Office branch network
run by the Co-op.
I would like this to be visible as a total (not by branch) for a snapshot in time during
March of each year from:
March 2019, March 2020 and March 2021.
For Post Office to provide exact figures for “opening hours, visible as a total for March
2019, March 2020 and March 2021”, it is estimated that the cost of complying with your
request in ful would exceed the “appropriate costs limit” and Post Office is not obliged to
process your request in these circumstances by virtue of section 12 of FOIA. I set out our
reasons for this decision in further detail below.
The “appropriate cost limit” for Post Office is £450.1
When estimating costs for the
purpose of this limit, the rate of £25 per person per hour is used2
and so £450 represents
the cost of one person at Post Office carrying out 18 hours of work. However, the 18
hours of work can only relate to carrying out the following “permitted activities” in
complying with the request:3
(i) determining whether the information is held;
(i ) locating the information, or a document containing it;
(i i) retrieving the information, or a document containing it; and
(iv) extracting the information from a document containing it.
1 See regulation 3(3) of the Fees Regulations. - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3244/regulation/3
2 See regulation 4(4) of the Fees Regulation. - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3244/regulation/4
3 See regulation 4(3) of the Fees Regulations. - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3244/regulation/4
We estimate that to search through our records in order to determine whether the
information is held, locate the information, or documents containing it, and extract the
requested information from our records given the volume of documents involved would
take significantly longer than 18 hours. In response to your request, we conducted some
preliminary searches and enquiries and established that any further details held may be
contained within multiple IT systems. Post Office believes to retrieve and extract any
electronic documents located to determine whether any of the content falls within scope
of your request, would significantly exceed the cost limit set out under Section 12(1) of the
As Post Office estimates that the “appropriate costs limit” would be exceeded, we are not
obliged to process your request further in accordance with section 12 of FOIA.
In accordance with our duty under section 16 of FOIA to provide reasonable advice and
assistance, we have considered whether it would be possible to narrow your request in
order to bring it within the costs limit.
Post Office has contracts with multiple Cooperative Societies around the country which
between them operate over 500 branches. The number of branches operated by the
Societies will change from year to year and a branch could be trading or be closed
multiple times during the various periods (instances of this increased during the Covid-19
pandemic) and vary their opening hours accordingly.
In order to determine the total opening hours for Cooperative branches at the specific
points as requested would require a number of complex queries to be run against multiple
sources and the results matched to other records to get the total opening hours. We
therefore cannot see a way that your request could be narrowed to bring it within the cost
limit unless you restricted your query to one or two specific branches. Should you wish to
submit a revised request, it wil be dealt with as a new case accordingly.
I am sorry I could not provide you with the information you requested on this occasion,
however if you are dissatisfied with the handling of this response, you do have a right to
request an internal review. You can do this by writing to the address above or to email@example.com
stating your reasons for your internal review request.
If, having requested an internal review by Post Office, you are stil not satisfied with our
response you also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113 https://ico.org.uk
Information Rights Team
Post Office Limited is committed to protecting your privacy, information about how
we do this can be found on our website at www.postoffice.co.uk/privacy