About WhatDoTheyKnow

Using WhatDoTheyKnow

Access To Information Help

Rules & Complaints

Your Privacy

Information Officers

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Contact us

If your question isn’t answered here, or you just wanted to let us know something about the site, contact us.

Credit where credit is due #

WhatDoTheyKnow is a project of mySociety, a UK organisation. mySociety builds websites that empower citizens to hold authorities to account. This is one of those sites.

The original idea #

In 2006, mySociety ran a competition, inviting concepts for their next citizen-empowering website.

Two people came up with what proved to be the winning idea, a site for submitting FOI requests: Phil Rodgers and Francis Irving.

FOI activist and journalist Heather Brooke had already been campaigning for an archive of requests and replies, which helped shape our ideas.

mySociety developer Chris Lightfoot refined the concept with the model of intercepting email responses to requests and automatically publishing them. And so WhatDoTheyKnow in its current form was born.

Going global #

WhatDoTheyKnow was the foundation for the Alaveteli software, which enables anyone, anywhere, to run their own Freedom of Information website. Because Alaveteli is open source, it contains contributions from many contributors, all of whom we appreciate and celebrate.

Funding #

Original funding for WhatDoTheyKnow was provided by the Joseph Rowntree Trust. mySociety continues to be funded by a variety of funders. WhatDoTheyKnow currently receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Swedish Postcode Foundation, and from Mr John Cross, who made a very generous donation to the service. The site also relies heavily on the support of individuals. Your donation will help us continue to run the site, ensuring anyone can submit a Freedom of Information request and making that information freely available to all on our public archive.

Volunteers #

Richard Taylor has been a huge contributor to WhatDoTheyKnow over many years, and a tireless advocate of the service’s, and our own, transparency and mission.

An amazing team of volunteers run the site, answer your support emails, maintain the database of public authorities and so much more. Thanks to Michael Bimmler, Gavin Chait , Helen Cross, John Cross, Martyn Dewar, William Fitzpatrick, Ben Harris, Ryan Jarvis , Matt Knight, Matt Lewin, Rob McDowell , Adam McGreggor, Doug Paulley , Ganesh Sittampalam, Alex Skene, Alistair Sloan, Richard Taylor and Andrew Ying.

Thanks are also due #

Many people — too many to mention, but we love you all — helped find the email addresses for public authorities, and gave the site a test run in its early days.

The provision of the service is also supported by our volunteer non-executive directors and trustees.

Many of mySociety’s staff, past and present, have contributed to the site’s success.

Francis Davey gave us invaluable legal advice for several years.

Peter Williams, who is sadly no longer with us, answered many user support emails and contributed greatly to the public bodies database.

We also thank all the officers and servants who have answered the many requests made through the site. Their diligence, patience and professionalism is what has made the information you see in this massive archive. Thank them for helping make government more transparent.

Want to help? #

Find out about how to get involved.

Changes #

We keep these pages under review, and may make changes from time to time to ensure that they remain up-to-date and accurate. You can find a synopsis of changes we’ve made at our GitHub repository but if you have any questions, please do contact us.