Our small parish meets every two months and the clerk works 4 hours per week. An FOI request is potentially going to take an estimated 8 to 12 hours to process from start to finish. It is not possible for us to meet the 20 day deadline for a response (assuming the response means to provide requested information). It is likely that if the clerk focusses on the FOI request we will postpone council work and cancel the next meeting and APM. What to do?
Update, and some responses to comments:
The ICO confirmed the requirements of the Law and said we "should be resourced to respond to its requirements" - they were surprised about the 0.1 full time equivalent people being my staff! However, there is no leeway for a small public body. They did suggest keeping a diary in case we have problems and have to explain ourselves later!
The FOI Request is valid. The publication scheme lists items that are accessible under the Act - it is not a replacement for the actual document/emails/letters/reports/etc. which are being asked for and have to be retrieved, reviewed, etc.
The Clerk has another job, so she is unable to provide additional hours. She is competent to respond to an FOI request appropriately. She is required to plan and organised the Annual Parish Meeting (required by Law to happen in May) and the follow-on Parish Council meeting. So rather than divert her, or break the Law, I decided to do the work myself.
The request proved to be relatively straightforward, even so I spent 340 minutes researching, extracting, collating and redacting the material prior to the final step of a quality/release review and sending the material to the requester. This means Parish work did not slip by over 5 hours (i.e. over a week!)
Just as well there was only one request! Anyway, thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.