Every year, the municipality of Utrecht receives a few hundred freedom of information (FOIA) requests. The municipality already publishes information that is released through FOIA requests on its own website. Now with the help of Open State Foundation, the municipality has made the documents better searchable through OpenWob.nl.
Active publication of information
Citizens, businesses and journalists have the right to request information from the municipality based on the Dutch Freedom of Information Act (Wob). Utrecht makes as much as possible information actively available. This ensures that citizens can find information on the website of the municipality without requesting the information and having to wait for an answer.
FOIA-coordinator Edwin Rooke: ‘We received complaints from information requesters that they find it hard to search through the FOIA documents’. Information commissioner Donovan Karamat Ali: ‘Together with Open State Foundation we have looked how we could make the data better searchable. Through OpenWob.nl people can easy browse and search through the FOIA information that we make public’.
At OpenWob.nl the FOIA-documents of the municipality of Utrecht can be found and searchable. For the first time, users can search through the whole archive and it is possible to search through the documents themselves. With OpenWob it is also possible to see what are pending information requests and users can add a notification to know when a FOIA requests has been answered. OpenWob tracks the average time an information request lasts and the information is available for re-use as open data via the dataplatform of the municipality of Utrecht (utrecht.dataplatform.nl). Governments that are interested to make their FOIA documents available in the same manner can contact Open State Foundation.