I was impressed by this use of FOI. Like many things with FOI, it’s all about the right application of the tool.
The Teesside Gazette covered, as you would expect, a fire at a school in its area late last year.
School fires, as any journalist who has worked in a local newsroom will tell you, remain big news in the community long after the event.
The Gazette has since reported that FOI was used to find out the fire service’s conclusion to their investigation – it was arson.
Obviously, it’d always be preferable for this information to come via the fire service without using FOI, although FOI does have the benefit of being able to seek access to the full investigation file.
As I said at the start, sometimes the smartest use of FOI is the most obvious use too.