FOIMan signs off.

Members of the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) will have received an email recently announcing that the IRMS has agreed to host the content of the FOIMan site going forward. Some readers may not have seen that email so I just wanted to confirm that the site (and the domain name for that matter), as promised in my last post, has now passed to the safe hands of the IRMS.

Quite rightly, I don’t know for sure what the IRMS will do in future – it’s their baby now – but they have undertaken to keep the site available as is for at least the next year, and from what they’ve said I think the plan will be to keep most or all material available even if the actual way of accessing it changes in future.

I just wanted to say thank you to the IRMS for taking the site on and keeping it live for those who still find the content here useful. And thank you to everyone who has read blogposts and articles here, got in touch, provided encouragement – I had no idea back in Autumn 2010 that it would be such a long and fascinating journey.

My reason for starting a blog back then was that I wanted to bridge the gap between applicants and practitioners. I felt there was a perception that FOI Officers were mysterious figures whose sole aim in life was to frustrate requesters for the sake of it. Hopefully what I’ve shown is that it’s a bit more complex than that; many FOI practitioners want to push their organisations to be as open as possible. But also there’s no such thing as a standard FOI Officer – the people answering FOI requests can be lawyers, civil servants from all ranks, archivists, records managers, and often very junior employees doing their best to figure out what they should be doing. Similarly, I hope I’ve encouraged a few of these people to view their jobs as stimulating (at least sometimes) and worthwhile even if it’s not always immediately obvious how relevant a particular request might be. We can’t have revelations about MPs’ expenses or other public interest stories if we don’t also allow for the endless procurement questions that are – whether we like it or not – valid FOI requests.

I hope you continue to find the content here useful whatever happens to the site over the next year or so. All the best to the IRMS and to you, my reader.