The Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act), which has its 10th anniversary on January 1 2015, has played a major part in informing the public about the state of public services, says the Campaign for Freedom of Information. The Act, which was passed in November 2000 came into force on January 1 2005. However, the Campaign says it is being undermined by the increasing use of private contractors to provide public services.
The FOI Act makes a vital contribution to keeping the public properly informed, showing when public authorities are failing to meet required standards and holding government to account.
These reports produced by the Campaign summarise FOI disclosures on a range of issues including the NHS, policing, prisons, defence, asylum, immigration education, public services, political lobbying nuclear safety, environmental protection and other issues.
The government’s new FOI Commission, announced in July 2015, is looking at measures to reduce the FOI Act’s ‘burden’ on public authorities. But many of the examples below show how the Act reduces costs, by revealing and helping to deter unjustified spending.
• Disclosures under the FOI Act, (January 2014)
• 1000 FOI stories from 2006 and 2007
• FOI stories from the FOI Act’s first year
The value of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act is highlighted by a new report summarising more than 1,000 press stories based on FOI disclosures during 2006 and 2007.
The 250 page report, by the Campaign for Freedom of Information, is based on disclosures made under the UK and Scottish FOI laws, which both came into force in January 2005.
A new report by the Campaign summarises more than 1,000 press stories based on disclosures under the UK and Scottish FOI acts in 2006 and 2007. The stories demonstrate the enormous range of information being released under FOI and reveal the substantial contribution to accountability made by the acts. In 2006, the government proposed to restrict the UK FOI Act, partly because of what it said was excessive use of the Act being made by journalists. The report shows how valuable the press’s use FOI has been. The proposals were dropped by Gordon Brown after he became prime minister in 2007. (Note: the report is 250 pages and may take a little while to download). Read the press release that accompanied publication of the report.
The Campaign for Freedom of Information reacted with concern to reports that the government is considering measures to reduce the amount of information disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Campaign has published summaries of 500 press stories based on disclosures during the first year of the Freedom of Information Act. They include disclosures under the UK and Scottish FOI laws, both of which came fully into force on 1 January 2005. The stories have been categorised by subject, newspaper and public authority and illustrate the wide range of information which has been released.
This article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in Press Gazette on 13 January 2006
During more than 20 years of campaigning for a freedom of information act, two questions repeatedly nagged me. The obvious one: would Britain ever get an FOI Act? And the more troubling one: if we did, would it be worth having?
A version of this article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in The Independent on 31 December 2005
The Freedom of Information Act has begun to open doors – but is yet to be fully tested against those the government is determined to keep locked.
From tomorrow (January 1st 2005) the public have five important new rights to information held by public authorities.
A version of this article by Maurice Frankel appeared in The Times on 14 December 2004
Less than three weeks until the Freedom of Information Act comes into force. From January 1, the public will have new rights to peer into a public authority’s files and check how well it is doing its job. People who want to know why they aren’t getting the service they expect, are unhappy with a proposal, or want to satisfy themselves that the right decision was taken, will now be able to see the paperwork or emails for themselves.