Who can I request information from?
WhatDoTheyKnow covers requests to 46,371 authorities, including:
- Department for Work and Pensions 13671 requests
- Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council 3869 requests
- Kent County Council 2783 requests
- British Broadcasting Corporation 4329 requests
- Ministry of Defence 8168 requests
What information has been released?
WhatDoTheyKnow users have made 1,001,469 requests, including:
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council answered a request about Distribution of monies received from Council Tax and Business Rates
about 1 hour ago
about 22 hours ago
University of Bedfordshire answered a request about Enrolment data for students with refugee and asylum seeker status
about 23 hours ago
Transport for Greater Manchester answered a request about Strategic Transport Costs for P4E New Carrington Allocation
about 23 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
Freedom of Information to support social change
Rethinking our approach to marginalised communities Read our new report ‘Using Access to Information to support social change’ Freedom of information is for everyone: that’s something we believe, and something...Read post
What’s on WhatDoTheyKnow?
In celebration of our millionth public FOI request on WhatDoTheyKnow, we’ve been examining many aspects of the service — and now we come to that huge archive of released information,...Read post
You can use WhatDoTheyKnow for the good of the climate
As we look back on a million public requests, we’re also looking to the future and how WhatDoTheyKnow might be leveraged for the most important issue of our generation —...Read post
What would the world look like without WhatDoTheyKnow?
Yesterday we shared the news that WhatDoTheyKnow has processed its millionth public request. The site’s been around since 2008, nearly as long as the UK’s right to information, and we...Read post
Our Freedom of Information Research
Mapping the online Access To Information network in Europe
Mapping Access to Information website challenges and successes in EuropeRead article
How many people use Freedom of Information? The numbers blog post
More details on our FOI polling, and how it compares with other polling and estimates of FOI use.Read article
Prioritising FOI complaints
Draft response to ICO consultation on how to prioritise FOI complaintsRead 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
Using Access to Information to support social change
A look at how organisations which support marginalised communities use and request information from public bodies, what the information unlocks and what mySociety can do to better support this use of access to information.Read article
mySociety response to “Call for Evidence: Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation”
Response to Ministry of Justice consultationRead article