Transparency: Volunteer appeal for email activists

6th February 2020 / United Kingdom

WhatDoTheyKnow is a website designed to help people in the UK make Freedom of Information requests. It publishes both the requests and the authorities’ responses online, with the aim of making information available to all, and of removing the need for multiple people to make the same requests. The site acts as a permanent public archive of FOI requests made through it.

A high percentage of requests to UK Central Government are made through Over 24,300 public bodies have been added to the site and more than 610,00 requests have been made using the site and millions of people visit the site every year. All this with the considerable help and goodwill of volunteers.

WhatDoTheyKnow has been described by The Guardian as “an idiot’s guide to making a freedom of information request.”  The Information Commissioner’s Office has stated that it believes “the most up-to-date informal list of all public authorities is held on the website” and information released through the site has given rise to some serious news stories. The site is used by a number of prominent MPs and policymakers.

WhatDoTheyKnow is part of mySociety – a project of UK Citizens Online Democracy, a registered charity in England and Wales. For full details visit


If you have a passion for transparency, a great deal of patience, and a bit of spare time, consider becoming one of WhatDoTheyKnow’s volunteer admin team. Work includes user support, helping to resolve legal issues, and shaping the site’s direction, and is primarily managed via email.

WhatDoTheyKnow is always looking for volunteers to help run the site, decide policies and aid users in submitting FOI requests.

Find out more here.




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