Departments buck trend of declining FOI requests
Stats show Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, and Home Office hit by double-digit rises as overall number of demands declines
Three government departments have bucked a general decline in Freedom of Information Act requests with query hikes of up to 20%, new figures reveal.
Just-published Cabinet Office data for the period from April to June this year shows there was a 4.4% overall decrease in the number of demands for information lodged by members of the public, researchers, and businesses with departments and other monitored government bodies – such as the National Archives and Ofsted.
But according to the statistical release, the Ministry of Justice saw a 20.1% spike in the information requests, with 1,105 submitted in the quarter compared 979 in the same period in 2015.
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By volume, the Ministry of Defence saw the largest rise over the three months, with an additional 195 FOI requests to the 920 lodged in April-June 2015 – a rise of 17.9%.
Figures for the Home Office showed a 10.5% rise in FOIs, up to 882 for the period, while the Cabinet Office’s tally rose by 4.7% to 423.
A Cabinet Office commentary on the entire set of statistics said that just under three-quarters of the FOI requests were considered to be “resolvable” under the terms of the act, and that of 44% of the resolvable requests had been answered in full – a decrease of 2% in comparison with the same period in 2015.
The now-defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was the worst departmental performer in terms of timeliness. It reported a late-response rate of 35%, with answers to a further 9% of FOIs subject to an extended timeframe responses.
Of the monitored bodies, the Royal Mint had the worst “in time" record, with late responses given to 57% of its FOI requests.
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