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FoIA survey shows rise in requests and drop in costs

An academic study published by the Constitution Unit at University College, London has concluded there was a 20 per cent increase of FoIA applications to English local authorities in 2010.

As the BBC’s Martin Rosenbaum also comments, the research shows a consistent increase in the number of requests year on year since the Act passed in 2005 while at the same time councils have  sped up their responding process.

Responding to FoIA requests in 2010 was also considerably cheaper than 2009. The research estimates that English councils spent  £32m to reply to almost 198,000 FoIA requests in 2010 and £37m to reply to approximately 165,000 in 2009.

Of the 2010 requests, 12,490 resulted in no release and the number of internal reviews was the highest yet recorded at 2,852.

UCL also shows the increasing role of the media in making FoIA requests. In 2005 they were responsible for just 11 per cent of all requests while now their percentage has risen to a 33.

You can download the full survey here.

SNP keeps legal advice on joining Euro secret

Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish External Affairs Minister, has refused to publish details of legal advice sought by the SNP over its country’s options on joining the euro, The Telegraph reports. Alex Salmond’s administration argued there was no “public interest” in releasing the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

Government plans FoIA extension

As the UK Freedom of Information Blog mentions, Jonathan Djanogly, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice said the Ministry intends to extend the FoIA to 100 more organisations and is currently consulting 200 further bodies about possible inclusion. The statement follows MP Simon Wright’s call for inclusion of the Network Rail in the FoIA legislation.

Trusts’ staff blamed for social media misuse

FoIA replies received by the Guardian Healthcare from 16 of the biggest NHS Trusts in England revealed 72 separate disciplinary actions were carried out against staff for improper use of social media between 2008 and October 2011.

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