Anyone who regularly sends Freedom of Information requests will have, from time to time, forgotten to follow-up on one that’s overdue. 

But – I hope – this spreadsheet will make things a little easier.

The sheet, which is based on Google Docs, updates to say when a request should be due and how many working days it has been since the request was sent.

When 20 working days has been exceeded the ‘Overdue’ column changes from green to red. (Snazzy, I know).

cleverspreadsheet

To get the spreadsheet to work (the link to view online/download is below) you need to enter the date that the request was sent.

The spreadsheet (Due Date column) calculates 21 working days from when you sent the request. It has been set to 21 working days as the ‘clock’ for FOI starts the working day after the response has been received and this was the most practical way of using the formula. The overdue column then shows how many working days it has been since the request was sent and when it is overdue turns read. Each time you add a new request copy the formulas from the Due Date and Overdue? columns into the row below the previous request.

Unfortunately, I haven’t got it set up to include Bank Holidays in the working days, but there really aren’t that many of them. So unless you’re sending a request around the Christmas period, the spreadsheet will almost certainly be accurate.

Here’s a list of Bank Holiday dates for reference:

31 August Monday Summer bank holiday
25 December Friday Christmas Day
28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)

2016

1 January Friday New Year’s Day
25 March Friday Good Friday
28 March Monday Easter Monday
2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
29 August Monday Summer bank holiday
26 December Monday Boxing Day
27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)


You can view the spreadsheet online and download it from here. 

Matt is a digital journalist, freelancer and has written a book on the Freedom of Information Act for journalists. He runs this site in his spare time aiming to help raise awareness of the Freedom of Information Act and its uses. He can be found tweeting @mattburgess1.

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