A press officer working for the Department of Health altered a Freedom of Information response with incorrect information to make it more friendly to the press. 

The Daily Star reported on the department’s chief press officer attempting to alter the statement.

After the Daily Star Sunday discovered what had ­happened, MPs and Freedom of Information campaigners described the interference as “outrageous”.

Author and FOI campaigner Heather Brooke said: “It shows there’s an obsession with spin and manipulation.”

After we complained to the Information Commissioner about the press officer’s interference, the Department of Health said spin doctors should not alter FOI ­responses. It said: “It is not the role of press officers to factually amend responses to Freedom of Information requests and this is not common practice.

You can read the full story here. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a journalist at the UK edition of WIRED magazine. In 2015, my first book Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. My second book Reed Hastings: Building Netflix, was published in March 2020. I created FOI Directory in 2012 and have maintained it in my spare since ever since.