There’s a lot left to do, but Francis Irving’s brilliant new mySociety Freedom of Information site is now live. You can file requests to central government departments (most of the them), and browse what other people have been requesting (already fascinating). It doesn’t have a name yet, nor any slick design, nor half the features we want it to have, but it works and it gets things done.
And dammit, people, that’s what mySociety’s all about. Can we explain it any better?
I think it would help if you could point to some guidance on FOI/EIR from this site. There are issues around exemptions, time spent and associated cost ( to the person requesting the information) in having to retrieve information that certainly affect local government ( not sure about central) that it would be useful for people to be aware of when they are framing their requests. If you can’t find an appropriate link you are welcome to point to ours http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/council-and-democracy/publications-and-finances/freedom-of-information-publication-scheme/how-to-make-a-freedom-of-information-request.en or reuse the appropriate content from it.
I used the FoI to try and force out a document claimed by the local authority to be an environmental survey report, supporting their claim to chop down a row of trees.
Objections to the proposal had to be submitted within 3 weeks, so the Legal department claimed that they had 20 “working “days to provide documents under the FoI Act from the date of receiving the request and then added 4 days to the date that the request was submitted by e-mail.
The document was eventually received 8 days after the closure for objections and proved to be a series of pictures of pits dug around the tree roots with no environmental assessment of impacts.
A complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman was dismissed. Aren’t they all?