Last week saw another breakthrough for the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) was brought under its scope. Aiming for “transparency and openness” the FOS is to become public as it was suggested in January this year.
Still, the FOS will not be fully public as there are restrictions to what questions it can answer. To start with, personal information will not be disclosed (as it falls under the Data Protection Act) and any information given in confidence or details that fall under other Acts will also remain private.
According to ifaonline.co.uk the FOS said that it “already accepts and fulfils requests for information.” In response a comment on their website reads: “You learn something new every day. I thought FOS stood for Furtive, Obstructive and Secretive.”
The Independent Financial Advisors website has put together a list of question for the FOS (which you can find here) and some tips for “good requests” that include being specific and asking for documents that do exist rather than documents that might exist or that should exist. (For more general tips on FOIs check James Ball’s on Help Me Investigate.)
Finally, as the FOS prouds itself for answering over 1 million enquires a year, do you reckon that number might be doubled now?