You can send Freedom of Information requests to more than 45,000 public authorities on WhatDoTheyKnow. For each of those authorities we need an email address to send those requests to, which means we often need to do some maintenance to keep everything up to date.
For some authorities in our database we don’t have a working email address. We might have had one in the past but it’s now out of date, or the authority might have merged and taken on new contact details – there are many reasons for missing email addresses, but they all leave us in the same predicament: we don’t know where to send your FOI requests for those bodies.
Can you help us find them?
If you have a little time to spare, a small amount of Googling could be a really big help for our users. Just five minutes here and there is all that’s needed to do a little bit of research to find the correct address.
The best starting point is almost always the authority’s website. Look for a dedicated contact email address for Freedom of Information requests.
Top tips for searching:
- Check the contact page.
- Check the footer on the homepage.
- Remember some public authorities such as schools and parish councils have very similar names, so make sure you are looking at the right one.
- If you can’t find a website for the authority itself, there are some other places that you can look: for example the NHS services site or the Get Information about Schools site.
Once you’ve found the right place, make a note of the contact email address. We prefer to use generic email addresses, for example that starting with foi@ or information@ as these tend not to change so often, so if there are multiple addresses given, these are the best ones to go for.
Let us know
If you find some of these missing email addresses please let us know.
We need both the new email address and the source (website address) where you found it, so we can verify the information.
You can send us this information by clicking on “Ask us to update FOI email” link on the public authority’s page. Just fill out the form with all the details that you’ve found.
Then our team of volunteers will use your input to update the database, and you’ll have ensured that people can make requests to the authority. That’s a really useful result.
Time poor but rich in other ways?
We know that your time is very precious and not everyone has the opportunity to help us out with tasks. If you are able to make a donation instead, that is also very helpful toward keeping our FOI service up and running.
Your contributions, however small, really help. Donate here.
Image: Marten Newhall