Signifying nothing

I was an FOI / DP officer in local government for the first five years of FOI’s operation, and like everyone else in the field, I got used to spotting trends – certain topics would come up again and again, certain requests would follow certain events. Of course, I also got used to certain names […]

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Process

Before I begin, let’s consider the great David Cameron Transparency Diet: BEFORE “It is our ambition to become one of the most transparent governments in the world.” AFTER “We spend, or the system seems to spend, an age dealing with freedom of information requests which are all about processes and actually what the public or […]

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The Joy Of Text

Einstein said he couldn’t predict what weapons the third world war would be fought with, but the fourth war would play out with sticks and stones.  The direction of the FOI arms race is equally hard to predict. Tony Blair’s era in power gave us ‘sofa government’, a term coined to describe the informal, un-minuted […]

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FOI Officers wanted for short survey

I’m currently writing a book, for which I need to do some surveys and interviews later in the year. To that end, I’m testing out some survey software. Moreover, the story that Chris Cook broke in the FT about private emails in Government last week is still, to my mind, one of the most fascinating […]

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Nudge Nudge Wink Wink

I like Michael Gove: like Eric Pickles, he keeps happy 1980s memories of Spitting Image alive just by having a face that, even in repose, looks like a caricature. But Mr. Gove has, as described in Chris Cook’s story in the Financial Times, apparently presides over a wrong-headed approach to FOI that shows once again […]

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