About

About Us:
FOI By Proxy makes Freedom of Information requests at the suggestion of our readers.

FOI By Proxy is run by a group of amateur bloggers and citizen journalists, who are strong advocates of transparent government, public accountability and the right to report. For the past few years we have been submitting Freedom of Information requests via the WhatDoTheyKnow.com website, which is a fantastic resource that sadly denies us the element of surprise and exclusivity when reporting the outcome of those requests. Several of our requests have been reported on by the national media without attribution or acknowledgement.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) allows members of the public to request the disclosure of information held by a public authority. The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Our Objective:
FOI By Proxy believes that every taxpayer should have access to the information held by public authorities that they contribute towards.

FOI By Proxy works as follows:
  • A reader suggests some official information that they would find of interest.
  • If we agree that the information is of wider public interest, we will write a suitable information request and send it to the public authority. The text of our request will be published on this website.
  • The public authority will issue a response or refusal notice. The text of their response or refusal notice will be published on this website.
  • If appropriate we will also challenge non-disclosure using the public authority's own internal review process and Information Commissioner's Office's complaints process.
It is important to stress that FOI By Proxy will only make a Freedom of Information request where we have a genuine interest in the information in question and wish to use the information for our own purposes.

Suggest an FOIA request:
If you would like to suggest a Freedom of Information request, please contact us via the email address on the sidebar. If we think there is a wider public interest in the request, then we will normally be happy to make it.

Before sending a suggestion, please be sure to read our FOI Summary page. It gives a general overview of the type of information that can be requested, the time frame the public authority has to work to and some common exemptions the public authority can apply if it wishes to refuse disclosure.

If you send us a suggestion, please include the following details:
  • The name of the public authority the request should be made to.
  • A brief description of the information sought.
  • A nickname that we can refer to you as, in the event that we publish information relating to your suggested request. We recommend that you choose a brand new nickname, which has not been previously associated with you as an individual.
  • Optionally: A brief outline of your reasons for suggesting that information. This will assist us in reporting your request. We may publish your reasons, so please be sure not to include any details that might inadvertently reveal your identity.
Unfortunately we cannot guarantee to respond to, or make, every request suggested to us. It is not worth the time and effort making requests that we know will fail because they don't meet the criteria of the legislation. We are unlikely to make multiple requests to the same public authority at the suggestion of the same individual.

Confidentiality:
If we proceed to make a request at your suggestion we will maintain the confidentiality of any personal information you have provided to us.

FOI Officer Questions:
The FOIA and FOI(S)A are often said to be purpose and applicant blind. This means that any person can request any information, for whatever reason they like, even if a thousand different people have previously requested the same information.

By providing a response the public authority is acknowledging the public's right to see the information, so it should have no trouble with us sharing that response publicly on this site.

If a public authority considers that our publication of its information somehow infringes its copyright, we will remove that information if requested to do so. However, to save public money by preventing duplicate requests, and to avoid the embarrassment of adverse publicity, we would strongly discourage public authorities from asking us to do that.

If you have received a request for information from FOI By Proxy, then you should proceed with processing that request on the understanding that FOI By Proxy, or the named representative thereof, is the applicant.

Using Our Material:
The copyright of all articles published on FOI By Proxy rests with the authors.

We envisage that some of our articles will be of interest to the wider media.

Anyone interested in republishing our material is invited to contact us by email using the address on the sidebar. We will normally be happy to grant permission, but on condition that a link is provided back to FOI By Proxy.