FOIMan brings you the responses from government departments to his recent FOI request on public relations.

A comparison of communications v FOI spending in a selection of departments
A comparison of communications v FOI spending in a selection of departments

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the outcome of my FOI requests to central government departments on their expenditure on public relations activities. At the time I promised to publish the actual responses so that you can see for yourself the answers received.

So here are all the responses received to date in one handy document. As will be noted, some departments were very helpful – others considerably less so.

Notably the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Wales Office were prompt in responding and provided straightforward answers to these questions. Several others were less quick but provided thorough and helpful responses.

The Treasury seemed to think that there was an exemption for information not held in one place. DWP don’t seem to be able to track their expenditure efficiently enough to provide a figure within 24 hours of staff time. Some have still to answer – and in some cases haven’t even acknowledged the original request.

The chart above compares communications and FOI expenditure for a selection of departments. I’ve intentionally left off the Ministry of Defence as their £80 million on communications (versus £641,000 on FOI) distorts the chart beyond all usefulness.

As some have suggested, I will of course be using my findings in my response to the FOI Commission’s consultation, and feel free to do so if you are responding.