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Survey finds FOI requests double

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Freedom of Information Act requests (FOI) to councils almost doubled between 2005 and 2008, according to a survey by academics at University College London’s Constitution Unit.

Data from previous surveys indicated an increase in requests from about 60,000 in 2005 to more than 118,000 in 2008, with the 2008 figure up 48% on the previous year.

Ben Worthy, senior researcher on the project, said he would not be surprised if the next survey revealed even stronger growth. “We expect a continued, if not greater, rate of increase,” he said.

Dr Worthy added that the next survey would also be the first to ask council FOI officers to give their own explanations of the reasons behind the increased numbers of requests.

The survey will also ask participants to categorise the three biggest problems with FOI requests, as well as any positive implications.

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