Save FOI: Putting the case to MPs

 I am giving evidence to Mps on the House of Commons Justice Committee on Tuesday as part of their inquiry into the future of freedom of information. I shall be there alongside three  other journalists – Martin Rosenbaum from  BBC News, Doug Wills, from the Evening Standard, and David Higgerson, from Trinity Mirror Regionals. I shall be there on behalf of the National Union of Journalists, who have put a submission to the committee and as someone who regularly uses FOI for both my blog and for Eaxro News, the investigative news website.

We will be asked a wide range of questions on FOI. If any  journo or blogger has any point that they think should be raised about FOI you can put a comment upon this site. Please keep any comment short and succinct. I don’t promise to be able to raise everything but it would  be good to know of any burning issues which may have escaped me.

The hearing starts at 11.15am and will be broadcast live  on the internet and will also be saved for other broadcasts.

2 thoughts on “Save FOI: Putting the case to MPs

  1. Any attempt to curtail FOI requests must be resisted, likewise the present limitations should be scrapped.

    Simple question: If politicians have nothing to hide, what can they fear by not imposing any limitations/restrictions on FOI requests?


  2. Give them some alternatives if they want to reduce the burden. e.g.
    1. Keep the current costs limits but allow redaction time to be taken into account, but with a duty to give a summary of non-exempt info when this was at least 50% of the projected cost.
    2. Toughen up on vexatious requests. The points have already been made that using the vexatious exemption can squash the more frivolous requests, and that perhaps authorities should use it more robustly rather than whingeing about them. However one very good reason for not using, is that it is a red rag to a bull in many cases. If we use s14 we can be sure there is a very high risk of internal review – appeal to ICO – appeal to Tribunal and it is easier to waste 5 hours dealing with the request, rather than 50 dealing with the aftermath of refusal. Introduce a £200 refundable (if successful) fee for appeals to ICO where refusal was based on s14.

    As someone who was responsible for FOI in a large local authority for 7 years, I am confident that such measures would have a significant effect on the burden without changing the basic regime


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