18 January 2012

Campaign for FOI

Mr Mustard spent some of his afternoon at a meeting at the offices of the Campaign for FOI.

link to the cfoi website

The Campaign for Freedom of Information is a non-profit organisation working to improve public access to official information and ensure that the Freedom of Information Act is implemented effectively.

The Campaign was set-up in 1984, played a leading role in the passage of the FOI Act and is recognised as a leading independent authority in the field. We provide advice to individuals in exercising their rights to information. We provide training both for public authorities implementing the Act and for users of the legislation. Please contact us for more details.

We are not affiliated to any political party. Our main funding comes from charitable sources including the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Allen Lane Foundation, the Nuffield Foundation, the GW Cadbury Charitable Trust and from supporting organisations and individuals. We are also grateful for a one off donation from Freedom to Care.

If you believe Britain is too secretive a society, please support our work by making a donation. Your contribution will make a difference and be greatly appreciated.

If you can help by volunteering in our London office please get in touch as we often need extra help with campaigning, research projects and general office administration.

Follow the Campaign for Freedom of Information on Twittter at http://twitter.com/CampaignFOI

The purpose of the meeting was to listen to a briefing presentation as follows:

The Freedom of Information Act is being reviewed by a parliamentary committee which is likely to recommend changes to the law. This could be an important opportunity to improve the Act. 

But there will also be significant pressure for new restrictions from public authorities concerned about the cost of dealing with FOI requests or lobbying for new exemptions.

If you would like to contribute to the exercise, it is important to act quickly. The deadline for submitting evidence to the committee is 3 February 2012

This ‘post legislative scrutiny’ of the Act is being carried out by Justice select committee of the House of Commons. ( see link at note 1 )
It has been prompted by the Ministry of Justice which has published a memorandum ( see link at note 2 )  highlighting specific areas of concern, including:

· Increasing request volumes
· The cost to public authorities and impact on resources
· The difficulty in refusing vexatious requests
· The level of protection given to policy advice and cabinet papers
· The impact on public authorities with commercial functions

The memorandum also:

· Acknowledges delays can occur in conducting public interest tests and carrying out internal reviews
· Discusses the possible extension of the Act to other bodies.

The memorandum says there is “limited evidence” about requesters’ views on the Act. It is therefore important that the select committee hears from requesters and we strongly encourage you to submit evidence about your experiences.


Mr Mustard expects that if you are a user of FOI and are thinking of putting in a submission, that the team at CFOI would be happy to email you the slides of today's presentation to help kick-start your thought process. Mr Mustard has a lot of experience to tell the Justice select committee about.

It is well worth book marking and linking to their site.

Yours frugally
Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Is there any expectation of more organisations falling within the FoI Act - like Network Rail, for instance?


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.