Three workers happily looking at a laptop

An open-source FOI service for councils that provides a user-centred FOI request process while intelligently leveraging already published information to reduce request volume.

Developed in collaboration with Hackney Council, FOI for Councils is a user-needs focused solution to streamlining authorities’ FOI workflows, and reducing request volumes. It currently integrates with the Infreemation FOI case management system, but could be extended to work with another similar system – contact us for more information.

  • A simple interface for customers, building trust and reducing customer support time.
  • Intelligent suggestions from the disclosure log and custom links help reduce time wasted on Section 21 “information already available” responses.
  • Disclosure Log integration resurfaces past responses, helping you to get more value out of your officers’ past work.
  • Integration with your case management system allows the customer to receive a reference number immediately.
  • The system becomes more effective as more responses are added to the disclosure log.
  • Built-in analytics provide feedback on which curated links are most effective at reducing duplication.
  • Proudly Open Source software, following the Government Digital Service Standard.

Benefits for citizens

FOI for Councils is built on over a decade of mySociety’s experience in making simple, easy to use websites that empower citizens. We’ve combined that with a deep understanding of how authorities handle FOI requests most efficiently and effectively.

FOI for Councils workflow
Simple process

No complicated forms, no unnecessary questions. We ask only for the user’s request, name, and email address.

Reference number

Once the request has been submitted, the user receives a reference number and confirmation email from the integrated case management system.

Intelligent suggestions

We match the request against pre-existing content and the disclosure log, so the user doesn’t have to wait for a response if their question has already been answered.

Increased trust

Whether their question is answered automatically through the suggestion engine or not, customers have a good experience, increasing trust that the authority has nothing to hide.

 

Benefits for councils

We worked closely with Hackney Council to understand the challenges faced by Information Officers, and the untapped value in channel-shifting more FOI requests into a fully integrated, automated solution.

End-to-end integration

Requests get sent straight through to your case management system.

Reduced duplicates

Suggestion system helps redirect citizens to existing material before making a request.

Get value out of your responses

Answers to FOI requests that have been published to your Disclosure Log are automatically fed to citizens as suggested answers.

Hand-picked suggestions

Links to existing information (such as pages on the council website) can also be curated by Information Officers to feed suggestions.

Built-in analytics

Instantly see which suggestions are most popular, and which are helping to reduce the number of new requests.

Government Service Standard

FOI for Councils was built from the ground up to meet the Government Digital Service Standard, including WCAG AA accessibility.

Next steps