Some FOI stats on local authorities

I recently found these requests by James Muldoon covering FOI statistics for the London Boroughs for 2009.  As we regularly carry out analysis of WhatDoTheyKnow’s percentage share of FOI requests to central Government Departments of State, I thought it would make for an interesting comparison to do the same for the 33 Metropolitan borough councils, plus the City of London.

Below is a graph of the market share for WDTK.

Overall, the share for 2009 was 8.1%.  During the year, the share did fluctuate quite a bit, and the requests on WhatDoTheyKnow were significantly lower in the 2nd quarter for some reason.

Q1: Jan-Mar 2009 – 9.4%
Q2: Apr-Jun 2009 – 5.1%
Q3: Jul-Sep 2009 – 9.5%
Q4: Oct-Dec 2009 – 8.3%

The City of Westminster has a much higher number of FOI requests compared to the other boroughs, mostly apparently due to a large motorcyclist parking campaign/protest.  73% of all requests made to Westminster via WhatDoTheyKnow in 2009 contained the words “parking”, “motorcycle” or “Verrus” (203 out of 278).

I will soon start looking for FOI statistics for Local Authorities outside London, either on WDTK, or via their disclosure logs.  The Ministry of Justice encourages Local Authorities to regularly publish statistics on their FOI data.

Data caveats

  • Brent - excluded from totals & comparison as the underlying FOI request is still outstanding.  The ICO is apparently investigating.
  • Camden -  Q1-2009 data excluded from totals & comparison due to partial refusal to the FOI request by Camden (FOI Act Section 12, costs of complying too high)
  • Southwark - excluded from totals & comparison.  They said in their FOI response:  “due to a serious malfunction of our reporting database we have no access to the data stored centrally”.  The data has been re-requested by James to see if the malfunction has been fixed.