This site is trying to get more organisations that have public responsibilities made subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. For more information please see our letter.
We believe that we have a right to know about organisations that spend public money and provide public services. We also think that organisations carrying out a regulatory function should be accountable to the public.
We want the Government to use its powers it already has under Section 4 and Section 5 of the Act to add the public authorities on our list. We also think they should add most of the authorities on our other list as well, we think they all deserve careful consideration.
We are campaigning for the authorities on our list to be made subject to Freedom of Information law no matter where in the UK they are based. In Scotland the equivalent law is the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Adding an authority to Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act normally makes it subject to the Environmental Information Regulations as well. The bodies listed not already subject to Environmental Information Regulations should be made subject to the Regulations.
Voluntary compliance is better than nothing but it is not good enough because "the ICO cannot investigate Freedom of Information complaints against organisations that are not formally covered by the Act."[What We Cover, ICO]. In order to get MPs expenses published the journalist Heather Brooke had to appeal to the ICO and then the Information Tribunal in the end it was a court that ordered the release of the information, this could not have happened under a 'voluntary compliance' system, so we would still be in the dark about what MPs spent.
It has been put to me that political parties that get taxpayers money should be subject to FOI. As a general principle I think that political parties should be not in any way be regarded as part of the state or public bodies. The present system is not transparent enough but I am not sure making political parties subject to FOI is the right solution..
Visit WhatDoTheyKnow.com or find the public authority's email address and email them asking for the information you want.
Whatdotheyknow.com volunteers found they were being asked to add lots of public authorities to the site that were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. A list of organisations and officials with public responsibilities that are not subject to the Act was created on the FOI Wiki. Details of complaints received by the Information Commissioner about organisations not subject to FOI have also been consulted (ICO emails dated May 2009 and 19 July 2010 ).
There is no complete list of bodies controlled, influence or funded by local councils in the UK. It is therefore very difficult to identify all such bodies which ought to be made subject to FOI. The follow quote illustrates the difficulties in obtaining such a list:"Bristol City Council has identified all the partnerships with which it has a relationship and has published a short and long list. The long list runs to 76 Bristol-wide partnerships, forums and strategy groups, etc; 46 neighbourhood partnerships and groups; 36 regional partnerships and groups, including the South West RDA and regional assembly; and ten national and international networks. There is no monitoring of the memberships of key partnership and analogous boards, let alone the potential for unseen or undesirable influences being brought to bear by concentrated or overlapping memberships of key partnerships." Select Committee on Public Administration Fourth Report, Chapter 2: Overseeing the appointments system
No, this site is a political campaign to change the law.
John Cross. This site was built by me in a personal capacity with help from friends and I do not represent nor am I being funded by any company, business, charity, political party or other organisation.