Image: Flickr/olcoge
Image: Flickr/olcoge

The Home Office has been revealed as the central government authority which responded late to the most amount of requests last year.

During the whole of 2013 the Home Office responded late to 1,295 Freedom of Information requests – more than a third of the total number it received, figures published by the Ministry of Justice show.

Theresa May’s department were late in answering more than double the number of requests than the Health and Safety Executive, who were second in the list.

Here are the top five authorities from central government who responded late to requests.

20 working day deadline

As FOI consultant Paul Gibbons pointed out on Twitter 86% of all requests were answered in the 20 working days permitted by the Act.

The Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulated FOI across England, Wales and Northern Ireland state that all authorities should attempt to respond to 85% of requests within the appropriate timescales.

For the entire of 2013 there were 12 authorities who did not manage to respond to requests within this percentage. They can be seen below:

Number of requests

The total number of requests made to central government kept to the general trend of increasing each year.

All together 51,696 requests were made to the central government bodies.

The Health and Safety Executive was the public authority which received the most requests as they received 5,767 requests for information throughout the year. Following them was the Department for Work and Pensions, and Ministry of Justice.

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.