2 October 2012

Mr Mustard's FOI Club


With the winter nights approaching Mr Mustard has now got around to sorting out a venue for the FOI (freedom of information club). What finer pursuit could there be on a wet winter's evening than to sit with like minded souls (and possibly a fine pint of beer) and have a chat about questions that you would like to ask of public authorities such as:

Barnet Council (who have a very poor FOI record with Mr Mustard)
Metropolitan Police (who are simply brilliant at FOI and a shining beacon for others to copy)
NHS (not tested, yet)
Central Government
Schools (tried one and they were fine)
Barnet Homes (like going to the dentists - you have to pull teeth)
other local authorities (currently testing 4 who are doing badly)

The purpose of the monthly meetings will be to learn how to use the Act better, how to write precisely targeted questions, to discuss answers received, to discuss exemptions that have been applied to prevent release of information etc

For the benefit of Barnet Council (good morning to one and all) the meetings are not for the purposes of acting in concert to ask questions that form part of a campaign; they are going to be educational meetings. Once established we might have guest speakers and it would be good to have the view from the FOI officer's side of the table. The appearance fee will be a drink or two, below £10 so that you don't have to write it in the gifts & hospitality ledger. You might get asked more FOI questions if there is a lot of interest (hard to say) but at least the ones that you do get will hopefully be better written so that they are easier to comprehend. Some questions might fall away if one member of the club knows the answer that another person wants to know.

If you want to be invited, send an email to mrmustard@zoho.com and details of the date, time and venue will be emailed to you.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. I'd like to come along - I don't live in Barnet - but you're scaring me now that Mr Walkey is coming to Haringey, where I am.
    I have put in several FoI request and my latest one was difficult because I had not targetted my question well.
    It went to the Commissioner, who telephoned me to explain. He is a very genuine guy! Very helpful and he told me how to word future FoI requests better....
    I use the web site 'What do they know' for all my requests as they remain public.
    I would like to come along to your FoI Club for moral support!

  2. Hi Reasons to be Concerned. You would be most welcome. Send an email to mrmustard@zoho.com and I will send you the details.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.