New research from mySociety/WhatDoTheyKnow finds that 1 in 10 UK adults has made an FOI request. When including people who made a request as part of their work, this figure goes up to 14%. You can read a blog post about this finding, or a short twitter thread.
Freedom of Information is a right that gives people power over public authorities. The case for FOI is often made on the high profile investigations and the public disclosure of scandals. But the value can be also seen in the quiet success of ordinary citizens being able to access information from the public authorities that hold power over their lives.
Alongside a team of volunteers, mySociety runs WhatDoTheyKnow, a website that helps people make freedom of information requests (so far over 850,000 requests), and displays the results of those requests in public, so more people have access to the results.
Through running this website, we’re very aware of the many different ways Freedom of Information is used by people, in ways that are not captured by official FOI statistics. We want more and more people to be able to use their information rights, and we want more and more of them to be using WhatDoTheyKnow so that what they find out is available to all.
We want to be doing more to support and advocate for people using their right to know. We’re proud of what we’re able to do with a small budget, but we want to do more. If you want to help us do that, there’s a number of things you can do:
You can read more about the numbers behind this research in this blog post.