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FOIWorks

An open source, front end Freedom of Information request service developed in collaboration with local authorities, for local authorities.

FOIWorks is built upon 16 years of experience running open source FOI software.

It streamlines authorities’ FOI workflows by suggesting public records from previous case responses and reducing the amount of correspondence.

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What is FOIWorks?

In 2019, as part of research carried out by our parent charity mySociety, we worked in partnership with Hackney Council, Cornwall Council, Suffolk County Council, Stevenage Borough Council and East Herts District Council to understand the challenges faced by information officers, and the untapped value in channel-shifting more FOI requests into a fully integrated, automated solution.

The result of this research was FOIWorks.

FOIWorks improves the quality of FOI requests by providing a user-centred request process that intelligently leverages already published information. Built around the needs of both citizens and information officers, the solution streamlines authorities’ FOI workflows and reduces the amount of correspondence per request – or in some cases removes the need for the request to be made at all.

15%Reduction in correspondence per request(FOIWorks for Hackney Council)

Features of FOIWorks

FOIWorks is built upon mySociety’s 16 years of experience running open source FOI software, including WhatDoTheyKnow, which processed its 1 millionth request in 2023, and Alaveteli, which has been used in around 50 jurisdictions globally.

Simple, intuitive interface

No complicated forms, no unnecessary questions. FOIWorks is designed to remove barriers to requests by only asking for the request, and the name and email address of the requester.

Integration

End-to-end integration with your case management system (e.g. iCasework or Infreemation) sends requests straight to where you need them. Integrate with your disclosure log too for maximum benefit.

Reference number

Once the request has been submitted, the citizen receives a reference number and confirmation email from the integrated case management system.

Intelligent suggestions

Match the request to existing, relevant responses from the disclosure log and custom links to help reduce time wasted on Section 21 “information already available” responses.

Curate information and links

Upload links to existing published information in your disclosure log or website pages to feed the suggestion engine and preempt responses.

Built-in analytics

Instantly see which suggestions are most popular, and which are helping to direct citizens to existing information.

Advice to requesters

Include advice about what makes a good FOI request within the request workflow to help citizens form successful requests and reduce the administration per request.

Accessible

Optimised to work smoothly on any device and WCAG 2.2 AA compliant, making it as simple to use as possible for everyone.

Open standards compliant

Proudly Open Source software, following the Government Digital Service Standard.

GDPR & Security

Fully compliant data protection and privacy. See our website for our Business Continuity and security policies.

Benefits for councils

Like all of our solutions, FOIWorks has been developed in collaboration with councils, and remains under continual development in consultation with clients and users, through research and discovery events.

Streamlines processes

FOI requests are sent straight through to your case management system, like iCasework or Infreemation. No manual copying and pasting.

Reduces duplicates

The suggestion system helps redirect citizens to existing material before they make a request.

Harnesses value of existing responses

Relevant answers to FOI requests already published to your Disclosure Log are automatically suggested as potential resolutions at the point of request.

Helps you preempt requests

Links to existing information (such as pages on the council website) can also be curated by Information Officers to feed suggestions – even for information that hasn’t yet been requested!

Better quality requests

Divert poorly-grounded requests before they are submitted by including helpful information in the request workflow to help citizens make good quality, actionable requests.

Increases trust

Whether their question is answered automatically through the suggestion engine or not, citizens have a good experience, increasing trust that the authority has nothing to hide.

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