Informal Approach to Freedom of Information Requests (NL0008)
The ‘Pleasant Contact with Government’ project found that informal interventions during government decision-making procedures and in the handling of complaints and objections led not only to better-quality decisions, significantly fewer complaint and appeal procedures, lower costs and shorter lead times, but also to greater public trust and satisfaction and greater job satisfaction for public servants. Although the informal approach is currently being used in 300 pilot projects in 16 areas of the public sector, it is seldom applied to freedom of information requests or to complaint and appeal procedures in response to rejected freedom of information requests.
Following a survey of the potential for applying the informal approach to freedom of information requests and a description of several practical examples, a new pioneering process will be launched in autumn 2013. For a year, participants’ experiences will be monitored and the potential for and effects of informal interventions in response to freedom of information requests will be identified. The outcomes and experiences of the pioneers will be recorded and made available at the end of the process, to serve as a source of inspiration and a basis for implementing this approach nationally, where appropriate.