Bit of Friday fun this, but quite illustrative of some of the themes I’ve covered in recent posts. An FOI Officer forwarded me the following FOI request received via the “email the FOI Officer” link on the authority’s web site:

“Dear Sir/Madam,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please provide me with:

The direct e-mail address of which to submit Freedom of Information Requests

I understand that under the Act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this email.

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others. Should this prove to be the case, I would ask that you release available data as soon as possible – rather than hold up the entire request.

I would prefer to receive this information electronically. If the decision is made to withhold some of this data using exemptions within the Act, please inform me of that fact and cite the exemptions used.

If you need any clarification then please contact me at the number below or via email. Under your section 16 duty to provide advice and assistance I would expect you to contact me if you find this request unmanageable in any way.

I would be grateful if you could confirm that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.”

Yes, 195 words asking the authority to provide the email address that the requester had to use to submit the request. Who could have made such a request, do you think? You’ll like this, as a (in)famous magician used to say, not a lot…

“Yours faithfully,

Member of Parliament”

Yes, MPs are using their staffing expenses wisely, quite clearly.

If you have any stories to share about the most nonsensical FOI requests that you’ve received, do get in touch.  I suspect this will be a returning feature!


  1. Sadly my authority has not really received any bonkers requests. We do get staff using the Act a lot and I am not sure if this common with other authorities. I think it is a reflection on internal comms (or lack of) but there you go.

    That looks like a template taken from some advice site or otherwise.

    I think it is often forgotten that you do not need to mention the Act in your request, so you could do away with a lot of the supporting gumph in a request.

    However clearly when you mark a request FOI it is more obvious and likely to be dealt with quickly.

  2. Forgive me for including it here as we dealt with it under EIR regulations, rather than FOI, but I have had a request asking for details of complaints made by staff or public due to ghosts or other paranormal activity on our premises.

    Sadly our detailed search didn’t turn anything up.