Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information Acts can be a valuable tool for journalists. This workshop explains how to make effective requests using the UK Freedom of Information Act.

‘There really is no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.’

 A Journey, Tony Blair, 2010

These are the words Blair chose to berate himself in his memoirs for introducing the FOI Act in 2004. This legislation opened up the decisions, discussions and dealings of government to public scrutiny. Why was he quite so hard on this particular decision, amongst all the others he took while in office? Because it made his job, and the job of government open to greater scrutiny.

As it should be.

The course covers what information to ask for, the format, what you should expect to receive and the timeframes for getting a response to your request, as well as your options if the request is refused. It explains the pitfalls and when there is no point using the Act. Examples of stories that have drawn on information obtained under the Act are used to illustrate the course.

The CIJ’s expert trainers have years of experience in using FOI for journalism, and will show you how to prepare, execute and meaningfully use FOI requests to get your story.

We also provide a range of handbooks which cover different aspects of using Information Access Regulations for your investigations.

FOIA Without the Lawyer

EIRs Without the Lawyer

DPA Without the Lawyer