400th Freedom of Information request received

This morning the 400th FOI request was received by the School so I thought that this was worth commenting on. The Freedom of Information Act was brought into force in 2005 with the aim of making public authorities more transparent. It gives the public the right to access information held by public authorities including universities, hospitals, the police and Government.

During the first few years we did not receive too many requests but as you can see from the numbers below, these have increased dramatically over the past year, keeping the Archives service (which manages the FOI process) and staff members in the School (who provide the information) very busy.

  • 2005/06: 24
  • 2006/07: 18
  • 2007/08: 34
  • 2008/09: 16
  • 2009/10: 39
  • 2010/11: 41
  • 2011/12: 49
  • 2012/13: 49
  • 2013/14: 86 so far

The request received this morning was from a journalist at the Times Higher asking for the numbers of staff that have been involved in employment disputes, this is fairly typical as, sector wide, journalists make the highest number of requests and staff issues are the subject most often requested. However, we are asked about a wide ranging manner of topics as the list below shows, these are some of the requests received since January:

  • Donations made to the School
  • Student disciplinary cases
  • Number of Vietnamese students
  • Items lost or stolen from the Library
  • Student deaths and suicides
  • Relationship of students with caffeine
  • Living wage
  • Research misconduct
  • Student drop outs
  • Academic appeals
  • Gender statistics

The increase in requests is sector wide and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next year in terms of numbers and subjects covered. For further information on FOI please see our website at: http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/policies/foi/