Making a Freedom of Information request can be very easy; making an effective request that gives you the best chance of getting the information you’ve asked for is a skill.
My book ‘Freedom of Information: A practical guide for UK journalists’ aims to help journalists make requests that will yield useful information.
It is packed with useful advice that comes from original interviews, official guidance, academic background, FOI stories in the press, and FOI legislation and case law.
The book hears from more than 60 experts in Freedom of Information, not just from the UK but from the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland and more.
Journalists interviewed include Rob Evans, who requested Prince Charles’ black spider memos, Heather Brooke, who made integral requests in the battle to reveal MPs’ expenses, and Ian Cobain, his sleuthing and use of the Act helped to highlight the UK’s role in torture.
Three of the four Information Commissioner’s who have served in the last 10 years give their views on the Act and the media’s use of it.
A previous post looks at some of those interviewed in more detail.
Every exemption of the Act is examined with examples of court cases, Decision Notices and advice from experts that paints a picture about the types of information which is covered by each exception and what is likely to be challenged.
The book also hears from information professionals who have spent years answering and responding to requests from journalists. They have seen all the frequent mistakes and give their take on how they can be avoided.
There is also an international look at making requests to the U.S, Australia, and Ireland.
The book was published by Routledge in 2015.