January 2008 Archives

Below is our response to the Ministry of Justice's public consultation on adding new , mostly private sector organisations to the list of 100,000 or so Public Bodies to which the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies.

The Consultation Document:
Freedom of Information Act 2000: Designation of additional public authorities (.pdf)

Send in your response, nominally by tomorrow, Friday 1st February 2008 to:

Ayobola Akwarandu
Ministry of Justice
Information Rights Division
6.16, 6th Floor
Selborne House
54-60 Victoria Street
Tel: 020 7210 8034
Fax: 020 7201 7777
Email: informationrights@justice.gsi.gov.uk

Our submission:

The HM Revenue & Customs website is not easy to navigate, if you are looking for how to submit a Freedom of Information Act Request - they really must do better.

There is an FOIA page which can only be found after using the search facility,

However, it appears, that two and a bit years on from the supposedly seamless merger between the former Inland Revenue and the Customs & Excise departments, there is still no consolidated Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 HM Revenue & Customs Publication Scheme

There is a strange, unfriendly (no Preview, just Submit) online comments form, which appears to email a "Michael Armstrong", rather than a generic FOIA request response team (you need to click on the "Michael Armstrong "link itself, rather than otherwise you get an error message)

There also seems to be a legacy email address for Inland Revenue FOIA requests, which may or may not work.


Our FOIA request below, asks some Questions about the discriminatory, and possibly counterproductive practice of having specially marked categories of tax codes and tax returns, supposedly only for Westminster politicians and celebrities, but not for the rest of us, or even for people whose lives would be genuinely at risk if their home address details were revealed..

See HMRC tax record security only for a minority of the privileged, but not for the rest of us

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog has been spawned from Spy Blog, and is meant to provide a place to track our Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to United Kingdom Government and other Public Authorities.

If you have suggestions for other FOIA requests,  bearing in mind the large list of exemptions, then email them to us, or use the comments facility on this blog, and we will see  what we can do, without you yourself having to come under the direct scrutiny of  "Sir Humphrey Appleby" or his minions.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog @spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.


WhatDoTheyKnow.com - FOIA request submission and publication website from MySociety.org

Campaign Buttons

Campaign for the Freedom of Information

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Amnesty International 's irrepressible.info campaign

Yes, Minister

Yes, Minister Series 1, Episode 1, "Open Government" First airtime BBC: 25 February 1980

"Bernard Woolley: "Well, yes, Sir...I mean, it [open government] is the Minister's policy after all."
Sir Arnold: "My dear boy, it is a contradiction in terms: you can be open or you can have government."

FOIA Links

Campaign for the Freedom of Information

Office of the Information Commissioner,
who is meant to regulate the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish Information Commissioner,
who similarly regulates the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals against decisions by the Information Commissioners.

Freedom of Information pages - Department for Constitutional Affairs

Friends of the Earth FOIA Request Generator and links to contact details for Central Government Departments and their Publication Schemes

UK Government Information Asset Register - in theory, this should point you to the correct Government documents, but in practice...well see for yourself.

Access all Information is also logging some FOIA requests

foi.mysociety.org - prototype FOIA request submission, tracking and publication website

Blog Links

Spy Blog

UK Freedom of Information Act Blog - started by Steve Wood, now handed over to Katherine Gundersen

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

Open Secrets - a blog about freedom of information by BBC journalist Martin Rosenbaum

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

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