FOI: Victory for this blogger – or proof that I’m an empty vessel?

On Sunday evening, I blogged about Bury Primary Care Trust – or NHS Bury as it prefers to be known now – using a rather complicated FOI form which left people under the impression they had to explain why they were requesting information:

Less than 24 hours later, and the page looked like this:

Every point I raised in my blog post was changed. So win for me? Maybe, maybe not. If you look in the comments thread of the original post, a Doug Paulley wrote:


please can I make a complaint?

I want to complain about your Freedom of Information Request Form at
is not acceptable for the following reasons:

1) it asks for too much personal information

2) it doesn’t allow for a request for information to be made by
electronic means including email

3) it asks for a reason for the FoI request.

Freedom of Information Requests are applicant and motive blind, and
you are required to make efforts to respond to requests in the format
asked for by the requester. An email address (alone) is a valid
address under the Act.

For more detail, see David Higgerson’s blog on the issue at

I look forward to your response.

Doug Paulley

Doug later added:

they’ve sorted it, quickly as well! –

So I think we can Bury PCT’s swift response down to the fact Doug contacted them directly. It’s a big leap to assume they read my blog post –  so maybe the lesson here is that a blog post can generate discussion, but can it generate a result?

Would Bury PCT have changed it had I just contacted them directly – or did my blog post provide a catalyst for action when contained within the complaint?

I guess the way to an answer here is to ask Bury PCT directly. Which is kind of my point here. Blogging, I guess, only gets you so far.


2 thoughts on “FOI: Victory for this blogger – or proof that I’m an empty vessel?

  1. ah, but I wouldn’t have contacted them if you hadn’t blogged about it 🙂 so for one reason or another your blog has created a positive change in this specific situation (as well as in all the other ways your blog brings positive change)

    all the best and I hope you don’t feel I was meddling unduly 🙂

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