WhatDoTheyKnow and Central Government FOI

2016 Report


How many Freedom of Information requests are sent through WhatDoTheyKnow as compared to those made directly to public bodies? Our new mini-site. lets you explore Cabinet Office statistics in comparison to numbers from WhatDoTheyKnow.

Every quarter, the Cabinet Office releases Freedom of Information stats for a collection of central government ministries, departments and agencies. This provides a good benchmark for understanding how requests made from WhatDoTheyKnow relate to requests made through other routes. Back in 2010 we ran several blog posts about this, though we haven't released any comparisons in recent years — and we’re now making up for lost time.

In 2016, WhatDoTheyKnow was the source of 17.14% of requests to audited public bodies. On the other hand, most WhatDoTheyKnow requests (88.51%) went to public bodies that the Cabinet Office figures don't cover.

One interesting conclusion from this is that most FOI activity in the UK is not immediately visible from the official statistics. You can read more about what we learned from the numbers, or explore the data for yourself on the mini-site.


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Cite this

Parsons, A. (2017). WhatDoTheyKnow and Central Government FOI. [online] mySociety Research. Available at: http://research.mysociety.org/publications/whatdotheyknow-and-central-government-foi [Accessed 20 Apr 2018].