BBC squashes Freedom of Information request

11 January 2011

What Do They Know is a massively powerful tool that assists the public in asking questions that publicly-funded bodies rather we wouldn't. The website facilitates Freedom of Information requests, which in the past have revealed everything from BBC expenses to the part-time jobs of the Police force.

But then there are truly important questions to be asked, and while they may cost the organisation in question many man-hours in supplying the answer, the truth can be both rewarding and disturbing - as Abbie Chesher discovered:

Bitterwallet - FOI 1

Bitterwallet - FOI 2

12 comments

  • Bri
    Slow news day?
  • MrTroll
    Let the trolling commence...
  • I p.
    I LOVE PIES
  • James S.
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/52532/response/134680/attach/3/RFI20101531%20final%20response.pdf "In the English Regions the hospitality menus offer mixed biscuits comprising chocolate digestives, bourbons, shortcake and oatmeal. The cost for the financial year 2009/2010 in English Regions for mixed biscuits amounted to £1,868."
  • Fred
    And yet they respond to Ms Andrews and the requestor's name was Abbie Chesher??????
  • Nick
    Lol at this bit - definitely appeal that answer! Appeal Rights If you are not satisfied with this response, you have the right to an internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal adviser. Please contact us at the address above, explaining what you would like us to review and including your reference number. If you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 01625 545 700 or see http://www.ico.gov.uk
  • nick
    Look how much they spend on choc digestives! http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/52532/response/134680/attach/html/3/RFI20101531%20final%20response.pdf.html In Wales, the cost for the financial year 2009/2010 was £149.94. In the English Regions the hospitality menus offer mixed biscuits comprising chocolate digestives, bourbons, shortcake and oatmeal. The cost for the financial year 2009/2010 in English Regions for mixed biscuits amounted to £1,868. It is not possible to separate out how much of this cost was just for chocolate digestives.
  • Me
    Great website that. What pees me off though is the twunts that use it for (presumably) commercial purposes which the FOI act was not designed for... for example the twunt that asked every council in the UK and loads of other bodies, how much the spend fixing mis-fuelled vehicles - 868 requests were made about that. This costs the councils shit loads of money and this dick presumably has a device that can fix the problem.
  • Nick T.
    It doesn't mention whether the biscuits were decent Fox's/McVitie's, in which case I think most households could match that cost OR rubbish Pennywise/Asda Smartprice, in which case the BBC must be scoffing tons every day.
  • defcon
    Dear Ms Andrews? Where did that come from then...?
  • Elma B.
    commercial purposes which the FOI act was not designed for… We pay for these public bodies, and it's entirely reasonable that they give us information we can use to develop and price services and products that represent good value we can sell to them. It's not for anyone to tell us when its legitimate to ask and when not. The FOI laws don't allow public bodies to discriminate according to why we want the info.
  • Kevin
    Public bodies that have multiple locations, offices etc collate queries that are repeatedly asked so that the research doesn't need to be done again and again. Also if someone is asking a couple of locations rather than a central contact they tell the FOI contacts in all units to make sure that each unit doesn't answer individually and waste time. All FOI requests in my organisation are entered onto a database so that any duplicate queries don't need to waste peoples time and money and allow queries to be answered. As much information as possible is put on our websites to stop people having to make FOI requests.

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