When public bodies solicit information from each other

...and other Transparency, FOI & Journalism news from mySociety

FOI requests from one authority to another

We talk a lot about how citizens can use Freedom of Information to hold public authorities to account — but it’s interesting to note that those same authorities sometimes also turn to FOI to obtain information from one another.

We examine three reasons for that in our latest blog post.

Closing the loop

With many authorities' disclosure logs falling into disuse, or seemingly publishing material on an ad hoc basis, it's clear that understanding the public's needs is the first step to a better information strategy.

Analysing FOI requests helps authorities see what to publish proactively, as we lay out in this post.

We're trying this new section out. Love it or hate it? Let us know!

Alaveteli community news

From and for the international community of Alaveteli users


Alaveteli is the open source software that anyone can use, in any country, to run an FOI site.

What the developers are working on

These user-facing improvements will come to WhatDoTheyKnow shortly, and will be rolled out to other Alaveteli sites soon:

  • One-click unsubscribe from emails
  • Usability tweaks including a simpler Find an Authority page
  • A warning when requests reach such a length that it may be hard for authorities to understand and respond

We'll also soon be rolling out improvements to make life easier for the admins who keep the sites running, too, including:

  • better user anonymisation functionality
  • automated guesses as to which request a misdelivered email may belong to
  • starting work on supporting Rails 5 in a way which allows us to add Rails 5 compatibility in parallel rather than needing to stop feature development to work on it full time
And we've added support for Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) and newer Ruby versions up to 2.5.
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And finally...

Hoping to present at TICTeC?

We'd love to hear your latest research findings on the impacts of any form of Civic Technology. But hurry: applications close tomorrow.

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