Tool of the Month – WhatDoTheyKnow?

Tool of the Month – WhatDoTheyKnow?

Eleanor Frere

Eleanor Frere

Freedom of Information requests – anyone can ask to access information recorded by public organisations and they’re a great way to gather new research, garner interesting industry insight and tap into business and consumer sentiment. All with no need to fork out on commissioning your own study. But, on the other hand, they can be a little complicated, potentially very time consuming and not to mention that rather overwhelming influx of confirmations and replies into your inbox. Luckily, we’ve found out about the website, WhatDoTheyKnow, which hopes to make the whole process a lot easier, quicker and hassle free.

All you need to do is click to make a request, choose the public authority you wish to contact, input your questions and send. It’s as simple as that. The site will also keep you updated when you receive a response, so there’s no chance of missing anything and no need to trawl through your emails.

Not even sure where to begin or who you can approach? No worries, the website lists all the UK public authorities that can be sent FOI requests and, if it’s wider European organisations that you’re interested in, then just pop over to its sister site asktheEU.

Someone may have even done the asking for you. Not only does the site help you to make a new request, it also publishes all the requests and responses to other users –  the information you need may well already be there, ready to use. Or, if you’re hoping for something a little more exclusive, it’s an easy way to check if someone else has beaten you to it and submitted a request for the same information.

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