Freedom of Information

I provide advice, consultancy and training to journalists, businesses, researchers and others on techniques and tactics for making freedom of information (FOI) requests productively.

If you’re interested in this, please contact me at .

I’ve written a thorough and detailed book about FOI, ‘Freedom of Information: A practical guidebook’. This explains the law and how the system operates in practice, supplies lots of useful tips and tactics, and gives guidance on all stages of the process, from initial requests to tribunal cases.

My expertise stems from 16 years as BBC News’s leading specialist in using FOI for journalism, breaking stories, reporting, commentating and blogging, as well as advising other BBC journalists and running training sessions, and taking part in Tribunal hearings.

The wide list of topics I investigated ranged from what Tony Blair and Bill Clinton said to each other, to revealing which models of cars had the worst MOT failure record; from the Hillsborough disaster and Margaret Thatcher, to flaws in the workings of the honours system; from the policing of anti-nuclear protests at Greenham Common, to how date of birth can affect university entrance.

Some of my more recent BBC FOI work is collected here, some of the older stuff is here, and some brief BBC advice is here.

I also contributed a chapter to the book ‘FOI: Ten Years On’, and have spoken at numerous UK and international events.

Organisations/meetings I’ve addressed on FOI include the House of Commons Public Administration and Justice Committees, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, an Association of Chief Police Officers conference, Information Rights Tribunal annual meetings, The National Archives, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Hacks/Hackers London, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (in the US), and the DataHarvest/European Investigative Journalism Conference (in Brussels).

I’ve also given lectures and seminars to students at several universities including City, UCL, Birkbeck, Westminster, Essex and Northampton.