"A quarter get knocked back..."
So really, the FOIA is just a complicated way of letting you find out which particular information the government is NOT EVER going to let you see.
The public asked for the release of more information from public bodies at the start of this year than at any time since the immediate aftermath of the enactment of freedom of information (FOI) laws, the government has said. The number of FOI requests filed between 1 January and 31 March this year was the largest number …
It means a quarter of ppl have no clue what the FoIA empowers you to do and make a complete **** of their requests.
If you ask for a broad spectrum of info, or try to use the FoIA as a DDoS chances are it will hit the s.12 exemption. Similarly there'll be numpties making FoI requests for info that is available under the DPA so they get kicked back (that's not to say they don't get the info, they just get counted as an FoI rejection and have to follow DPA procedures)
Go surgical and generally you'll get what you need (presuming you aren't trying to use the FoIA where you should be using the DPA). If you go fishing you'll catch nowt.
Interesting to see that HSE report the largest proportion of FoI reqs. Sounds like solicitors/insurance folk to me looking for a cheap way to get at the info.
As someone working in the field we recorded an almost 100% increase in requests Jan-Mar this year. It's dropped back a bit now but it's still the highest it's ever been. And with fewer staff to do the same job it's just becoming a 'mare. I love my job but there's plenty of days I think 'Oh just fuck off' when we get another lengthy FOI from a business looking to tout its over priced shit our way.