The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has published two annual reports containing statistical information on freedom of information requests received by monitored bodies including Central Government Departments in 2005 and 2006. These reports can be found at the following web address:
The 2007 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) annual report is currently being drafted for publication in June 2008. However, statistics on requests received in each quarter of 2007 have been published and can be found via the MOJ website:
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) requires public bodies to respond to written requests within 20 working days of receipt, but allows additional time for the consideration of the public interest in disclosing the requested information.
The published reports provide statistics on the number of “non-routine” requests received during each period where: an initial response was provided within 20 working days; an initial response was given outside this time but a public interest test extension had been applied; an initial response was given outside this time and no public interest test extension was applied; and where no initial response had been given at the time the statistics were collected.
The 2006 FCO annual report provides statistics on the duration of the public interest test extensions in that year. Corresponding statistics for 2007 will be available when the 2007 annual report is published.
Information on requests where deadlines were extended beyond 40 days is not collected in the form requested; however the proportion of resolvable requests the Department answered “in time” (that is, meeting the deadline or within a permitted extension) in 2007 was 98 per cent.
For 2005 and 2006, the reports show the number of requests received by the department which were withheld, either in full or in part, where an FOIA exemption or Environmental Information Regulations exception was applied. For 2007, the number of such requests was 254, based on aggregated quarterly statistics from 2007. Requests withheld solely under the exemption applicable to “information available by other means” are not included; statistics on these are not collected centrally because they are dealt with as routine business.