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Dr Ben Worthy

Lecturer in Politics

I joined Birkbeck in 2012. My research interests include Government Transparency, Political Leadership, British Politics, Digital Democracy and Public Policy. I have written articles for Governance,  Parliamentary Affairs and Public Administration, presented evidence to the Justice and Public Administration Select Committees and worked as an independent reporter for the Open Government Partnership. I also present the Westminster Watch Podcast with Dermot Hodson.

To read more about my current research you can take a look at the following:



Worthy, Ben (2017) ‘The Politics of Freedom of Information: How and Why Governments Pass Laws That Threaten Their Power’. Manchester: MUP (read chapter 1 here).

Hazell, Robert, Worthy, Ben and Glover, Mark (2010) Does FOI Work? The Impact of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on British Central Government. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Edited Collections

Bennister, Mark, t'Hart, Paul and Worthy, Ben (Eds) (2017) The Leadership Capital Index: A New Perspective On Leadership. Oxford: OUP (read Chapter 1 on the OUP site here).


Worthy, Ben, Bennister, Mark and Stafford, Max (forthcoming) ‘Rebels Leading London: The Mayoralties of Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson Compared’. British Politics (see our draft PSA paper here).

John, Peter, Worthy, Ben and Vannoni, Matia (2017) ‘Transparency at the parish pump: a field experiment to measure the effectiveness of freedom of information requests in England’. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 27(3): 485-500. (Draft available here).

Worthy, Ben and Hazell, Robert (2017) ‘Disruptive, Dynamic and Democratic? Ten Years of Freedom of Information in the UK’. Parliamentary Affairs, 70 (1): 22-42 (draft here)

Worthy, B. (2016), Ending in Failure? The Performance of ‘Takeover’ Prime Ministers 1916–2016. The Political Quarterly, 87: 509–517 see here

Meijer, A., t' Hart, P. & Worthy, B. (2015). 'Assessing Government Transparency: An Interpretive Framework'. Administration & Society, 0095399715598341.

Worthy, Ben (2015) 'The Impact of Open Data in the UK: Complex, Unpredictable and Political', Public Administration 93 (3): 788-805 (draft here).

Mark Bennister, Paul ‘t Hart & Ben Worthy (2015) 'Assessing the Authority of Political Office-Holders: The Leadership Capital Index'. West European Politics 38 (3): 417-440 (see a draft here)

Michener, G., & Worthy, B. (2015). 'The Information-Gathering Matrix A Framework for Conceptualizing the Use of Freedom of Information Laws'. ASM, 0095399715590825.

Worthy, Ben (2014) 'A Powerful Weapon in the Right Hands? How Members of Parliament have used Freedom of Information in the UK' Parliamentary Affairs 67 (4) 783-803 

Worthy, B. (2013). “Some are More Open than Others”: Comparing the Impact of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on Local and Central Government in the UK. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 15(5), 395-414.

Worthy, Ben, Hazell, Robert and Bourke, Gabrielle (2012) ‘Open House: Freedom of Information and its Impact on the UK Parliament’. Public Administration 90 (4), 901–921

Worthy, Ben (2010) ‘More Open But Not More Trusted? The Effect of FOI on the UK Central Government’. Governance 23 (4) 561-582

Hazell, Robert and Worthy, Ben (2010) ‘Assessing the Performance of FOI’. Government Information Quarterly 27 (4) 352-359 see here

Worthy, Ben (2008) ‘The Future of Freedom of Information in the UK’. Political Quarterly 79 (1) 100-108


Worthy, Ben, (2017) ‘Freedom of Information and the MPs’ Expenses Scandal’ in Thompson, Louise and Leston-Bandiera, Cristina (eds) Exploring Parliament (OUP edited Parliamentary Studies course textbook), Oxford, OUP, pp. XX (20 pages).

Bennister, Mark and Worthy, Ben (2017) ‘Limits To Dominance? Comparing The Leadership Capital of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair’ in Bennister, Mark, t'Hart, Paul and Worthy, Ben (eds) (2017) The Leadership Capital Index: A New Perspective On Leadership, Oxford, OUP, pp. 121-144 (draft version here)

Worthy, Ben (2017) ‘Freedom of Information and The Media’ in Howard Tumber and Silvio Waisbord (eds) The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights, Abingdon, Routledge, pp.60-73 (13 pages).

Worthy, Ben (2017) ‘Access to Information in the UK and India' in Bignami, Francesca and Zaring, David (eds) Comparative Law and Regulation: Understanding the Global Regulatory Process, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, pp.190-217 (27 pages). See a draft here

Worthy, Ben, 'The Development of FOI in Britain' in Felle, T and Mair, J (eds) (2015). FOI 10 years on: freedom fighting or lazy journalism? Bury St Edmonds: Abramis (draft here).

Worthy, Ben, 'Freedom of Information and the MPs’ Expenses Crisis' draft of Chapter for Hudson, J (2014) At the Public’s Expense? The Political Consequences of the 2009 British MPs’ Expenses Scandal OUP, pp. 27-43. (Draft here).

Worthy, Ben ‘Freedom of Information and Parliament’ in Oliver, D (2013) Parliament and the Law Oxford: Hart Press, pp.139-160

Hazell, Robert and Worthy, Ben, ‘La Transparence administrative est-elle efficace?’ in Pasquier, M. (2013) Le principe de transparence en Suisse et dans la monde PPUR, pp95-110

Worthy, Ben and Holsen, Sarah, ‘Local Government and FOI in England 2005-2007’ in Chapman, R. and Hunt, M. (2010) Freedom of Information: Local Government and Accountability Ashgate: Farnham, pp 27-43

Conference Papers

Worthy, Ben, (2017) 'Brexit and Open Government in the UK: 11 Months of May'. Available here at SSRN.

Worthy, Ben and John, Peter and Vannoni, Matia, (2015) 'Transparency at the Parish Pump: A Field Experiment to Measure the Effectiveness of Freedom of Information Requests'. Available here.

Bennister, Mark and Worthy, Ben,(2015) 'Going On and On? Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher: Leadership Capital Compared'. Available at SSRN:

Worthy, Ben, (2014) 'Making Transparency Stick: The Complex Dynamics of Open Data'. Available at SSRN:

Bennister, Mark and Hart, Paul 't and Worthy, Ben (2013), 'Leadership Capital: Measuring the Dynamics of Leadership' available here

Worthy, Ben (2013) 'David Cameron's Transparency Revolution? The Impact of Open Data in the UK'. Available at SSRN:

Michener, Greg and Worthy, Ben, (2013)'From Fishing to Experimentation: Transparency as Information-Gathering: A Typology and Framework for Analysis'. Available here.

Worthy, Ben and Grimmelikhuijsen, Stephan (2012). ‘Transparency and Trust in the UK and Netherlands’. Paper for the 2nd Regional Transparency Conference June 2012

Worthy, Ben and Bennister, Mark (2012). ‘Getting it, Spending it, Losing it: Exploring Political Capital’. Paper for the Political Studies Association Conference April 2012, Belfast.

Worthy, Ben and Bourke, Gabrielle (2011) ‘Open House? The Impact of FOI’ Paper for the Political Studies Association Conference London, April 2011 available here

Worthy, Ben, (2010) 'Does FOI Work? The Impact of Freedom of Information on Local And Central Government in England'. Available at SSRN:

Worthy, Ben and Hazell, Robert (2010), The Sword: How MPs and Peers Have Used Freedom of Information in the UK (January 6, 2010). Available at SSRN:

Reports and Evidence

Worthy, Ben (2015) UK IRM Second National Action Plan Progress Report

Worthy, Ben (2015) 'Labour party call for evidence on FOI'

Worthy, Ben (2015) ‘Evidence to the Independent FOI Commission’

Worthy, Ben (2014) ‘Evidence to The Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy' see here

Worthy, Ben (2013) ‘Evidence to PASC on the Impact of Open Data’Worthy, Ben (2013) ‘Evidence to PASC on the Impact of Open Data’ available here

Worthy, Ben, Hazell, Robert, Amos, Jim and Bourke, Gabrielle (2012) ‘Written evidence from the Constitution Unit, University College London on the Impact of FOI

Worthy, Ben, Hazell, Robert, Amos, Jim and Bourke, Gabrielle (2011) ‘Town Hall Transparency? The Impact of FOI on Local Government in England’. Constitution Unit: London available here

Worthy, Ben and Bourke, Gabrielle (2011) ‘The Sword and the Shield: The Use of FOI by Parliamentarians and the Impact of FOI on Parliament’. Constitution Unit: London available here


  • Parliamentary Studies
  • Digital Politics
  • Contemporary British Politics (undergraduate)
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
  • Public Policy

Presentations, Blogs and Talks

  • You can hear my new Westminster Watch podcasts with Dermot Hodson here
  • Giving evidence to the Justice Select Committee in March 2012 here

Ben Worthy

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