Stats Warning – sorry, this does have numbers in it, but it’s not very long.
I was sat contemplating recently and realised that I was in a mischievous mood. I know that’s hard to believe but it does happen occasionally.
Anyway mischievous me thought that it would be a cracking idea to fire off a #FOI to the Home Office asking how many Freedom of Information requests they REFUSED. Well their reply came back the other day, it had been REFUSED.
To be fair though, they did provide me with a link to the Government Statistics website where all manner of exciting spreadsheets can be found relating to just about every Government Department. Eventually I found what I was looking for, Home Office FOI Stats.
In 2012, the last complete year available obviously, the Home Office received 3,903 #FOI Requests of which they actually processed 3,787. Nearly a whole year later 116 are shown as Still Being Processed. The 20 day deadline was met in 3,037 cases or 80% (not bad I suppose).
629 Are shown as having missed the 20 day deadline without an agreed extension (16.6%)
Now the bit I was really interested in, a grand total of 883 were REFUSED (23%)
In a further 594 cases they claimed not to hold the information requested (15.5%)
In only 1,299 cases was the request granted in full (34%)
Many, many more figures are available in this over-complicated spreadsheet, but the bottom line is that the Home Office gave full and frank responses to only ONE THIRD of all requests and fully refused ONE QUARTER. To my way of thinking that just smacks of a Department that doesn’t really want to give out information and will use any means available to withhold it. My naive brain tells me that Refusals to disclose under the Freedom of Information Act were meant to be a small minority of requests. I can hardly call a quarter a small minority, and even in the remainder only one third were FULLY disclosed.
I’ve lost the will to live and look at the other Govt. Departments but it might be amusing one day when I’m on the verge of dying anyway to look and see which Govt. Dept. was the most open and helpful when it come to #FOI requests, that will not be the Home Office.