Freedom of Information in Local Government

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Alex Parsons, Rebecca Rumbul

Freedom of information is a significant legal instrument in the UK - but currently very little is currently understood about how councils cope with this sometimes significant workload. While central government Freedom of Information (FOI) statistics are well covered by the Cabinet Office series, there is no equivalent picture for local government. The goal of this research was to construct a more detailed picture of FOI at the local level, to understand how many requests were being sent, how much internal visibility exists over the status of requests, and calculate the contribution of requests made through WhatDoTheyKnow to the total number of requests made overall.

Blog Post 1: Understanding FOI in Local Government

Blog Post 2: How Freedom of Information is administered in local government


  1. Executive summary
  2. Foreword
  3. FOI statistics
    1. Gathering information
    2. Interpreting FOI statistics
    3. How many FOI Requests were sent to local government?
    4. Success and timeliness of requests
  4. FOI administration
    1. FOI officers
    2. FOI practices
    3. Case management
    4. Capacities of local government
    5. Pro-active publishing
    6. Disclosure log
  5. Conclusion
    1. Acknowledgements
  6. Appendices
    1. A: Modelling FOI workload
    2. B: Accuracy with smaller samples

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Cite this

Parsons, A. and Rumbul, R. (2019). Freedom of Information in Local Government. [online] mySociety Research. Available at: [Accessed 27 Nov 2021].