An Academy in Yorkshire has paid thousands of pounds to a private law firm to respond to its Freedom of Information requests and handle press requests.

The Yorkshire Post report:

The spending began in January 2011 when academies became subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. Outwood already employed a solicitor as its legal officer but chose to refer all Press inquiries and FOI requests to Addleshaw Goddard.

As a result, the school ran up a bill of £79,865 between January 2011 and September this year, including individual payments of up to £1,539.

After initially providing a total for spending with the firm up to April last year, Outwood refused to provide updated figures after further FOI requests by the Yorkshire Post.

In June this year, the Information Commissioner ruled the academy should provide the full total but Outwood refused and began tribunal proceedings to try to overturn the decision.

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I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.