30,000 people submitted evidence to the government’s Review of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Independent Commission that’s looking at the FOI Act received so many responses to its consultation that it’s not going to report its findings until next year.

The controversial five person panel, which consists of former government members and senior civil servants, had originally planned to provide its report by the end of the year. However it will now hold two oral evidence sessions and take time to go through the responses received.

It’s not known whether the panel looking at the transparency law will hold the evidence sessions in public, or behind closed doors.

In a statement issued after the call for evidence closed on Friday the Commission’s chair, Lord Burns, said: “I’m pleased to have received approximately 30,000 submissions of evidence from individuals, campaign groups, journalists and civil society organisations from all over the country.

“Given the large volume of evidence that we have received, it will take time to read and consider all of the submissions.”

The Commission’s consultation, which ran for just over a month, asked six questions about how the FOI Act works in practice and has been widely criticised by press and campaign groups. Burns added: “Furthermore, the Commission has also decided to invite some parties to provide oral evidence.

“This will take place in two sessions on the 20 and 25 January 2016. Our intention is to report as soon as possible after these sessions.”

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 time ever since.