Category Archives: FOIA

In defence of frivolous requests: FOIA and political accountability.

The FOIA is under post legislative scrutiny by the justice select committee.  The written and oral evidence provided showed a concerned for frivolous or time wasting requests.  I write here to defend one of these requests and show that they … Continue reading

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Can social media reduce the cost of responding to foi requests?

In the recent written evidence to the Justice select committee reviewing FOIA in the UK, the “cost” of FOI has been discussed.  Often, the witnesses want to cut this cost by limiting the number of requests. I would argue that … Continue reading

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Freedom of Information’s dirty little secret: it works.

What a casual observer of the debate over FOIA’s future will miss is that it works in practice and theory.  At a basic level, this is an obvious point. The legislation is supposed to work as designed by Parliament.  After … Continue reading

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Can the uk have a transparent and accountable government if civil society is weak?

The United Kingdom relies upon three connected parts to support a transparent government. The first part is the permanent infrastructure of civil servants.  The second part is having the opportunities to publish and share information. The third part is the … Continue reading

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The day Freedom of Information died in the United Kingdom

The 29th of March passed without much notice for most people in the United Kingdom. For freedom of information, it was a watershed day. From this day forward, Freedom of Information will never be the same.  Why?  The First Tier … Continue reading

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How the Information Tribunal has eroded our rights (IPCC v IC) and why Bull Connor is smiling in his grave.

One may wonder what Bull Connor, the epitome of the racist resistance to the American civil rights movement, has to do with an Information Tribunal ruling.  What the ruling represents is a clear echo of the ideology and approach to … Continue reading

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The Leveson inquiry: Who defines the public interest? Do the press decide the public interest?

One of the central problems raised by the Leveson inquiry is how the public interest is decided. What is the public interest? Who decides what is in the public interest? How is it decided? These are not just questions for … Continue reading

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If we are going to charge for FOIA requests we might as well start charging for complaints.

The current post legislative review of the Freedom of Information Act  which was shaped by the Government’s initial response to the review of the legislation sought written evidence on three areas.  Does the Freedom of Information Act work effectively? What … Continue reading

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Freedom of Information Act is the grain of sand in an oyster of records that creates pearls of transparency

An important actor has been missing from the recent discussions around the future of FOIA. The missing organisation is the National Archives. The National Archives did not give any written evidence to the post legislative scrutiny of Freedom of Information.  … Continue reading

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Does the UK have an ecology of transparency?

Seth Kreimer developed the term “ecology of transparency”. He was looking at a way to explain the interaction of actors and organisational contexts to explain transparency within the United States. Although his work is focused on the United States, I … Continue reading

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