FOI requesters should not encourage others to apply for the same information in order to put pressure on the authority to release it. The tactic is likely to backfire leading to the request being refused as vexatious, as a recent tribunal case shows (Michael Sivier v Information Commissioner, EA/2013/0277).
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 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.
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 Press Gazette on 17 December 2004
After a four year delay to allow public authorities to prepare, the Freedom of Information Act finally comes into force on January 1st. It should provide journalists with a valuable tool for looking behind the gloss and spin at the actual documents in authorities’ files. Some authorities accept that they will have to adopt a more open stance and are likely to respond positively to press requests for information. Others will carry on as before, until forced to do otherwise.
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.
A version of this article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in The Guardian on 14 December 2004
On January 1 the long-awaited Freedom of Information Act finally comes into force. The Act gives the public important new rights to the information held by public authorities. Worried about possible changes to your local school or hospital? The Act should allow you to see the evidence for them. Want to know whether the police are doing enough about burglaries? Use the legislation to probe their response times and clear-up rates. Unhappy about a regulatory body that never seems to do anything when people complain? Ask for their internal guidance on handling complaints and see their staff are doing what they’re supposed to do.