Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests: Our Right to Access Information
Within the RTC campaign, we consistently use the WhatDoTheyKnow website to access policy documents, statistics and trends. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA), we are entitled to access information from the UK Government and public bodies including universities.
Through an online portal, getting a response is made easy and you are guaranteed a response within 20 working days. This response is then published online and is accessible to all in an attempt to make information more accessible and transparent. The website itself encourages its use for research, journalism, campaigning, awareness-raising or simply to help alleviate curiosity. In this way, public bodies can be evaluated, analysed and recommendations can be given. Your taxes go to funding these public organisations so it is important that their information is accessible so they can be scrutinised and improved in the long term.
WhatDoTheyKnow is run by the MySociety charity which embodies three main values: justice, openness and collaboration. WhatDoTheyKnow accepts donations to support their continued efforts to make information accessible.
MySociety also runs other useful websites such as FixMyStreet, TheyWorkForYou, and WriteToThem. These websites facilitate the reporting of local problems by contacting the concerned council, Members of Parliament (MPs) and politicians respectively.