What is this all about? 

FOI Directory is intended to be a tool for researchers, academics, journalists, and anyone involved or wanting to know more about the Freedom of Information Act in the United Kingdom and beyond.

There are several components to the website.

  • The Directory, which can be found by the link at the top of this page, is intended to be an open project. The aim is to bring as many Freedom of Information contact details into the public domain and make it easier for people to send requests to the organisations covered by the Act. The process of collecting/collating/publishing the contact details is ongoing and more will be added on a regular basis.
  • The home page and Twitter feed exists as a resource highlighting notable Freedom of Information requests covered by the media or campaigners. This is to help publicise the FOI Act and bring together all the positive work achieved by FOI requests in the media.
  • The Freedom of Information blog is set up to offer comment pieces of the Act and the way it is being used. This will often be based on posts in the media and looking at FOI issues in the country.
  • Other sections of the website include a guide to the Act, and useful resources surrounding it.

How did it start?

The directory was started out from a simple idea, and a frustration. The idea for the website came from the irritation that many organisations don’t display contact emails for FOI requests on their websites. They decide to have annoying webforms instead.

FOI requests are valid if they are in writing, which includes email. To stop authorities trying to just allow webforms for requests I started to put a list of police forces together.

It spawned into creating more lists for ease of contact and then FOI Directory was born, this was followed by finding FOI stories in the media and the interest of different areas of life they could be applied to.

Who is behind the website? 

My name is Matt Burgess. I am a journalist.

If you hadn’t already guessed I’m passionate about the FOI Act and its use for journalists, campaigners and members of the public who want to hold public authorities to account.

You can find me tweeting here.

I also have a personal website here. 

You can email me by clicking 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 time ever since.