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Freedom of Information - Public access to recorded information
Tuesday 18th May 2021

An on-line training workshop over two mornings - Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th May 2021

Given the COVID-19 health emergency, it has not proved possible to run our usual training events in Grangemouth. In response to demand from delegates, we are running a series of Spring 2021 training events on-line through the highly successful GoToWebinar and Microsoft Teams platforms. This will allows for a full training day but spread over two mornings and will allow for full audience interaction and Q&A sessions in addition to a full training presentation.

IRRV is pleased to advise of this important training event on Freedom of Information legislation and responsibilities, organised at the request of local authorities.

The course is aimed at front line staff, first line supervisors and managers including those who are working towards IRRV qualifications. The course focuses on the practical aspects of dealing with Freedom of Information requests using examples from the Scottish Information Commissioner Decisions. Delegates are encouraged to bring examples or queries to the workshop.

Freedom of Information, Data Protection and Complaints legislation form the basis of the individuals’ rights of oversight, challenge and transparency of public bodies.

The public are increasingly aware of Freedom of Information, awareness rising from 85% in 2017 to 91% in 2019. The same time the Scottish Information Commissioner notes an increase in the numbers of ‘failure to respond’ in time and is seeking further enforcement powers. Authorities need to be able to deal with FOI requests quickly, efficiently and once.

This course will be of interest to all IRRV members, managers and supervisors. It will be delivered by Webinar over two half-day sessions. Delegates are encouraged to bring examples of requests or queries to the course.

Session One – The legislative context

  • The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

  • The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

  • The obligations of Local Authorities to make data available.

  • The procedure for dealing with requests and reviews.

  • Introduction to ‘Public Interest’ and ‘Substantial Prejudice’.

  • Adjustments to procedures due to the pandemic.

Session Two – Working with request for information.

  • Determining of fees: whether a fee is payable and how to calculate it.

  • Refusing requests (Exemptions).

  • Partial response (Exemptions / assistance).

  • The role of the Scottish Information Commissioner.

  • Complex requests; those where more than one piece of legislation is relevant.

  • A look forward to changes being considered in a review of the law.

At the end of the course, delegates will have greater understanding of :

  • The statutory procedure for dealing with requests.

  • How and when to refuse requests in full or in part.

  • How to go about making decisions on public interest, substantial prejudice and whether a requests is vexatious.

  • Whether to provide copies of documents or information.

  • Dealing with cases involving Data Protection and Complaint Handling issues.

The course will be led by John Harding. John has over 30 years' experience administering benefits and Council Tax in Edinburgh. In that time he has acquired extensive practice in investigating, preparing and presenting appeals to Review Boards, Appeals Tribunals and the Valuation Appeal Committee as well as negotiating complaint outcomes with the Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman.

The workshop represents excellent value for money, with seminar fees starting at only £165 + VAT. We have held delegate charges at 2019 levels and, in addition, every third place from the same organisation booked in the same booking comes entirely free of charge. This applies to the lowest cost place and is an improvement on our previous free places offer.

 

A full booking form is available here

 

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