Who can I request information from?
WhatDoTheyKnow covers requests to 46,364 authorities, including:
- Department for Work and Pensions 13665 requests
- Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council 3856 requests
- Kent County Council 2780 requests
- British Broadcasting Corporation 4327 requests
- Ministry of Defence 8155 requests
What information has been released?
WhatDoTheyKnow users have made 999,841 requests, including:
Birmingham City University answered a request about Enrolment data for students with refugee and asylum seeker status
about 22 hours ago
What is Freedom of Information?
Make a request for information to a UK public authority.
By law, they have to respond.
The Freedom of Information Act, also known as FOI gives you the right to request recorded information from public authorities.
As well as documents and emails, it also covers things like spreadsheets, presentations, maps, videos and photographs.
How do I use Freedom of Information?
From coach drop off points to national borders; modern slavery to council sell-offs, Freedom of Information is a tool that everyone can use. Individual or community group; journalist or campaigner. National or local; every day or now and then. Here are just a few of the ways that it can help…
🔍 Find the evidence: Survey responses, research reports and board papers can help you to uncover the truth behind decisions and public statements.
⚖️ Compare and contrast: Compare the situation in your local area with what’s happening in other parts of the country and highlight disparities or similarities.
💰 Follow the money: Contracts, invoices and budget information let you see where public money goes, ensuring greater accountability for how funds are allocated and spent.
🧩 Fill in the gaps: You can ask a group of authorities to build or extract a dataset that didn't exist. This can fill knowledge gaps and improve public understanding of specific issues.
🤔 Understand why: Meeting minutes, policy papers and internal correspondence can help you to understand why important decisions were taken, and who is accountable for those decisions.
☀️ Promote openness: Asking for datasets can help to show that there is public demand to see it, which might persuade the authority to publish it themselves without needing to be asked.
Read our case studies for some great examples of how others have put these ideas to use.
How does WhatDoTheyKnow help?
🔀 Find the right authority: A database of 46,000+ public bodies, kept up to date by a team of staff and volunteers.
🗂️ Public archive: A permanent, searchable, public record of hundreds of thousands of information requests and responses.
✍️ Write your request: Inline guidance and a collection of help pages to help write your request.
🤖 Automate bureaucracy: Built in assistance and reminders to manage your request from submission to completion.
🏟️ Correspond in public: Requests and responses are automatically published online with proof of delivery to hold authorities accountable to respond.
🛑 Refusal advice: Encouragement, support, guidance and snippets to help challenge refusals at internal review, regulator appeal and tribunal(soon).
Latest news and campaigns
Shortlist announced for mySociety’s 20th anniversary awards
The ways in which people and organisations have used mySociety’s services through the lifetime of the organisation have been impressive, inspiring and sometimes astonishing. So, to celebrate our 20th anniversary,...Read post
WhatDoTheyKnow and the Post Office Horizon scandal
“Freedom Of Information. Three harmless words.” The Post Office Horizon scandal serves as a prime example of how, when official channels have failed, determined investigators can eventually unpick the truth...Read post
ICO advisory note on publishing spreadsheets
Following the PSNI and other recent data breaches, the ICO has issued guidance to public authorities. This guidance suggests a temporary stop on publishing Excel-style spreadsheets in response to FOI...Read post
CE UK and mySociety are using people power and Freedom of Information to bring transparency to local climate action
A story in this week’s Financial Times [paywalled] has brought the EPC ratings of council-owned properties into the public conversation. This story was based on data obtained through FOI requests...Read post
Our videos about Freedom of Information
Our Freedom of Information Research
FOI and appeals to the regulator
How do appeals to ICO and OSIC vary in outcome and time taken?Read article
mySociety response to “Call for Evidence: Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation”
Response to Ministry of Justice consultationRead article
What are environmental information requests and how do they differ in Scotland?
Understanding what makes Environmental Information special in Freedom of Information and the (minor) differences in how this is interpreted in Scotland.Read article
Prioritising FOI complaints
Draft response to ICO consultation on how to prioritise FOI complaintsRead article
FOI Reform in Scotland
Response to consultation on Private Members BillRead article
Improving oversight of Access to Information
The right to access information requires high quality oversight. Studies of effectiveness of Access to Information (ATI) legislation tells a clear story: the benefits of greater transparency and access to information can only be realised when this sy[...]Read article