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Freedom of Information requests

Comment 8th July 2010
One of the most time wasting (and therefore costly) things I've experienced in my planning career in local government is that of repeated, detailed FoI requests relating to matters dealt with some years ago (ie not current or recent by any definition) usually by a single individual with a grievance and plenty of time on their hands (eg premature retirement) to pursue it.  My suggestion would be:
a) to limit the number and frequency of requests by an individual or what might be reasonably seen to be a group of individuals acting in unison (difficult to determine often I know but a definition could be made relating to the frequency of requests surrounding a given detailed topic);
b) to limit the ability of requests to go back more than, say, five years without a court order.

Why does this matter?

Answering repeated unreasonable requests under FoI raises costs significantly reduces efficiency by taking up considerable local authority and other public sector staff time.  People can submit requests without any thought as to their own cost/ effectiveness as they don't directly bear the costs – the taxpayer does.

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