Versa | Top 6 FOI requests sent to Oxford City Council

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you – an ordinary member of the public – have the right to request certain pieces of information or documents from various authorities and companies. This right can be used to find out all sorts of useful stuff, such as how the Council spends its budget, or how good its equal opportunities record is, or…well. Other things. Here’s our pick of the best FOIs sent to Oxford City Council in the last few years.

1. “Are any Oxford councillors or civil servants freemasons?”

An, erm, classic. Sadly, the Council ‘does not hold the requested information’. Or that’s what they want us to think.

I’d like to give this particular individual a shoutout for some of his other notable FOIs. They include asking the Scottish Parliament whether he could vote in the independence referendum (Google literally takes less than a second), demanding to know why his green wheelie bin had been replaced by a blue one, enquiring when the Prime Minister last visited “small island Brecqhou, in the Channel Islands?”, and – finally – asking the House of Commons whether the density of its writing paper has changed recently. A true public servant.

2. “Why can’t I watch porn on public library computers?”

“I now make a point of testing any computer I use for the first time.” Ok. Sure.

All right, we paraphrased. But that’s definitely what he wants.

3. “Please can you let me know the total expenditure on biscuits at the Oxford City Council for the most recent period available.”

The Council replied, as they’re legally obliged to do. Biscuit expenditure, it emerges, is “not identified separately from overall catering costs”. Fobbing him off if you ask me. Serves him right for calling Jaffa Cakes biscuits.



5. “Do Council staff watch porn at work?”

There were a load more questions after that…but we know what he really means.

6. “Why don’t you ever reply to FOI requests? WHY??!!”


“Hope you had a good easter.” Bless.

See also: numerous other FOI requests demanding to know how much time the Council spends on replying to them, and how much they cost the Council per year. You’ve got to love this city sometimes.

Tags: data protection — FOI Act — Oxford City Council