Using Freedom of Information requests in local authority debt audits

DRUK’s investigation into LOBO loans, which has led to both a Channel 4 Dispatches programme and a parliamentary inquiry, wouldn’t have been possible without utilising the the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information from local authorities.

The below slidedeck was used to deliver a presentation on the use of FOIs in Local Authority Debt Audits to an audience at this year’s Spark sessions. The session, entitled ‘FOI requests and citizens audits’, was run mostly by Sid Ryan, an investigative journalist and FOI expert who’s used Freedom of Information requests to great effect in the PPL vs PFI campaign, and covered everything from how to write a request to dealing with the Information Comissioner’s Office and information tribunals.

DRUK then rounded the session off with a case study showing how we’ve used FOI requests in a national campaign, including the problems we’ve run into with councils refusing information and dealing with large numbers of responses.

The slide deck doesn’t go into a great deal of detail (there’s more if you click on the cog and show the speaker notes) so, while I hope to write more on this topic in future, if you have any questions about using FOI requests in a debt audit of your local authority, or for any related campaign, drop me a line via

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