Friday, 19 November 2010


More notes on Freedom of Information. This time we had the pleasure of Brian's expertise.

The essence of FOI: The public have a legal right of access to any piece of of information held by public authorities because they pay their taxes.

100,000 FOI requests are submitted every year. It costs around £34m to answer that number.

Anybody can send an FOI request. In fact, only 12% are sent by journalists.

EXAMPLE: Kingsnorth Climate Protest (August 2008)
- Initial statement: 70 police injured
- After FOI request: 12 police injured, only 4 seriously

Journalists believe this is the 'golden era' of FOI.

When can they say 'no'?

If it costs more than £600 to find out the information.
(£450 for smaller organisations)

Other exemptions

ABSOLUTE: Security, intelligence, court records etc

QUALIFIED: e.g. - ministerial communication, commercial confidentiality etc.
There are 23 reasons for exemption in total.

Responding time

Body in question must acknowledge request within 20 days.

They are allowed a further 40 days to deal with the information.


Keep questions simple and to the point.

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