Campaign for Freedom of Information

Campaign for Freedom of Information

At a glance


  • Campaigning
  • Human rights

Other details

Geographical remit: 
National - Britain


The Campaign for Freedom of Information promotes and defends freedom of information in the UK in support of a more open democracy and to hold government to account. We train campaigners, journalists, and citizens in using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and advise FOI requesters.


The Campaign was set up in 1984 and played a leading role in persuading the Blair government to make and then honour a manifesto commitment to introduce the FOIA in 2000 and in improving what started out as an extremely weak bill.

The Act has become an essential tool for journalists, campaigners, researchers, and individuals facing difficulties in their dealings with public bodies. It is not popular with government. Tony Blair famously reproached himself as a ‘naïve...nincompoop’ for introducing it. Former prime minister, David Cameron said ‘it furs up the whole of Government’, and in a recent debate a current minister astonishingly described FOIA as ‘a truly malign piece of legislation’. The Campaign has repeatedly had to defend the Act from restrictions proposed by all governments. Moves to remove Parliament and then MPs’ expenses from its scope have been seen off. In 2015, the government appointed a Commission to examine the case for new restrictions on access to Whitehall policy discussions. The Commission credited the Campaign with helping persuade it that such changes were not necessary and called for the Act to be improved instead. In each case the CFOI’s unique expertise has been crucial.

The Campaign is a not-for-profit limited company. Our work is funded by grants from charitable foundations (though we are not a registered charity), donations from individual supporters and income generated from training. We currently have 3 members of staff, with extensive FOI expertise.

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