Editor's blog: Crowd-sourcing FOIs - what do you want to know about your Beeb?

The BBC is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and given how little transparency there is in many of its operations, we want to submit your FOI requests for you - so send them on!

Dan Hancox
13 July 2012

We've sent off a couple of Freedom of Information requests about the BBC since we started ourBeeb. One was about Egon Zhender, designed to find out how much BBC money was paid to a HR consultancy to help Chris Patten hire a candidate who was already a front-runner (answer: £189,000). Another was how much licence fee money was spent on the seemingly extravagant Hackney Weekend (answer due next week).

There is more information on the BBC and FOIs on a dedicated mini-site here. The bottom line is that, "As a publicly funded organisation, the BBC is fully committed to meeting both the spirit and the letter of the Act."

One of the greatest problems we are tackling at ourBeeb is the total absence of transparency about major decisions - decisions made with your licence fee contributions. Another problem is an at best superficial engagement with the British people. FOIs seem like a potentially useful short-cut, for now: they are free, must be answered within 20 days, you can submit as many as you want, and they can be submitted by anyone. We are offering to submit them for you, and then publish the results here, for everyone to see. 

So, quite simply: what would you like to know about the BBC?

It could be around how much a specific person or programme costs, what criteria are used in programming or allocation of resources, how governance decisions are made, or regarding BBC plans for the future. Send us your suggestions! Either leave a comment on this blog, or email me.

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