The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000 but didn’t come into full effect until 2005. It is an important Act that has enabled us as individuals to access official information from over 100,000 public bodies and organisations. This information can include things such as e-mails, minutes of meetings, research, reports or bids for contracts.
Most A level syllabuses require that students learn about this Act but trying to excite and interest students in any of the essential Acts can at times be an uphill struggle.
However, there is a website called whatdotheyknow.com which allows people to explore the FoI requests made to UK government departments and public authorities.
How about setting your students the task of trying to find the most bizarre FoI requests? Here are a couple of suggestions you can use to demonstrate this idea:
- How much the BBC spends each year on chocolate digestives Click Here
- How many soft tissue toilet rolls the BBC uses each year Click Here
One of the problems with the FoI Act is the cost to the organisation of having to deal with so many requests and in particular obvious time wasting requests.
You could set a second task asking your students to find the most bizarre time wasting requests. Here are a couple of examples you can use to demonstrate this to students:
- How many employees at the BBC have stated their religion as Jedi? Click Here
- What percentage of the BBC license fee is spent by BBC employees on illegal drugs? Click Here