How to obtain information from the Treasury under the Code of
Practice on Government Information
All central government departments are committed under the Code of
- give facts and analysis with major policy decisions;
- make available operational guidelines about dealings with the
- give reasons with administrative decisions;
- provide information under the Citizen's Charter about public services,
their costs, targets, performance, complaints and redress procedures;
- answer requests for information.
The Code of Practice explains what kind of information should be
available and also that which cannot be made public under a list of
exemptions. Subject to these points, if you want information which
falls within the Treasury's responsibilities, we will do our best
to provide this for you.
Much of the Treasury's work is concerned with policies where the
lead interest, and therefore the responsibility for any publicity
or information, falls to another department. The main areas of Treasury
work that fall within the scope of the Code, for broad policy purposes,
are as follows. The list is not exclusive.
- macroeconomic policy
- public expenditure control at the macro level
- private finance in the public sector
- privatisation and contracting out
- financial management and value for money
- Civil Service pay and personnel policy
- public purchasing policy
- aspects of City regulation
- UK initiatives on financial matter in international fora
- monetary policy
- funding policy
- the note issue.
Applying for information
Please send requests by post to the Treasury's Open Government Contact,
HM Treasury, Parliament Street, London, SW1P 3AG, explaining, in as
much detail as possible, what information you want. (It helps us if
you use the application form.) You
do not have to specify particular documents or files (and the Code
does not entitle you to see them).
Time to meet requests
For simple requests, the Treasury has a target of 20 working days
starting from the day the request is received if there is no charge
or from the time any payment is cleared. You will be told if your
request is likely to take longer.
Information provided free of charge
Some information is already provided free such as copies of Ministers'
speeches and brochures explaining Departmental policies.
There may be a charge for a request for other information which causes
additional work which it would otherwise have been unnecessary for
the Treasury to undertake.
Charges for simple requests
The first hour of work for processing simple requests for information
will be provided free.
Requests expected to take more than 1 hour but less than 3 hours
of one person's time will be charged at Pounds 15 an hour or part
of an hour thereafter.
You will be given an estimate of the charge. Any charge due must
be paid before work is undertaken.
These charges are intended to cover the costs of processing the requests
for information and are payable whether or not the information in
question can be supplied in full.
Charges for more complex requests
For requests expected to take more than 3 hours of one person's time
to prepare, applicants will be given an estimate of the amount of
the charge. If you wish to proceed, normally you will be asked to
pay in full before any work is undertaken.
This charge should not exceed the cost of providing the information
requested. The cost will depend upon the nature of the request and
the time spent retrieving and preparing the information by different
grades of staff.
There may be occasions when it is discovered that the cost of providing
the information will be greater than originally estimated. A revised
estimate may then be sent to you and work will continue on receipt
of the additional payment. If you are unwilling to pay this additional
charge, you should receive any work which has been done to date and
has been paid for.
Charges will normally be based on the cost of the extra work directly
related to the request, that is the time of the officials doing the
retrieval and the decision work and other direct costs such as copying.
Charges will exclude fixed costs such as accommodation and other overheads.
Higher rates may be charged where the application requires expert
attention, for example to decide whether technical information is
commercially confidential or otherwise exempt from disclosure.
Charges will not be made to cover:
- any time spent by senior management in deciding policy on particular
- excessive time spent retrieving information when the difficulties
due to errors in record keeping;
- excessive time spent on the preparation of new material when it
would have been practicable within the policy set out in the Code,
and more cost-effective, to provide edited copies of the original
The form in which information is given will normally be the most
cost-effective from the department's point of view. This should help
to reduce costs to the applicant. If you wish to have information
in a particular form, however, you should enquire when you make an
Forms of payment
Payment should be made by cheque or postal order payable to HM Treasury
and crossed "Account Payee only". These should be sent with
the relevant estimate form to the Accounts Section, HM Treasury, Allington
Towers, 19 Allington Street, London, SW1E 5EB.
Responding by preparing a new publication
If the Treasury has received several requests for information relating
to a particular matter, we may decide to respond by preparing a note
for general publication as soon as possible. This will usually be
less expensive for the applicant than charging for the work in full
to meet a single request. The Treasury will keep applicants in touch
with what is going on and avoid undue delay.
If your application is refused or you think a proposed or actual
charge is unreasonable, you may write to the Treasury seeking a review.
If, subsequently, you are still not satisfied with the explanation
or the basis of the charge, a complaint may be made through your Member
of Parliament to the Ombudsman.
Priced publications and charged information services
The Code does not entitle applicants to free copies of priced government
publications or free use of information services for which there is
normally a charge. On the other hand the Treasury will not introduce
charges for information that is normally provided free of charge.
Charges for the provision of information under the Code by government
departments or other public bodies and authorities are not subject