San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Do you want to learn how to use the Freedom of Information Act? Are you already using the Act, but want to know more about how key provisions are being interpreted?
Making a FOI request is straightforward but making an effective request can be more difficult. Requests which ask for too much information can be refused - and some information may be exempt. But a well thought-out request can have a powerful impact, revealing that a policy isn’t working or an authority isn’t doing its job or generating key information you need for your research.
This practical course is designed to help campaigners, journalists and others make the most of the Act and the parallel Environmental Information Regulations. It explains the legislation, shows how to draft clear and effective requests, describes how to challenge unjustified refusals and highlights critical decisions of the Information Commissioner and Tribunal. The course’s interactive sessions will encourage you to work out how to best apply the Act in a variety of situations. This one day course is aimed at both beginners and people who want to use FOI more effectively.
The course will explain:
- What information you are entitled to - and from whom
- How to make an effective request
- Key pitfalls and how to avoid them
- What authorities should do to help you
- When requests can be refused on cost grounds
- How the Act's exemptions and the public interest test work
- Challenging refusals
It will also highlight key Commissioner and Tribunal decisions on issues such as:
- Requests for contracts
- Commercial confidentiality claims
- Revealing what lobbyists are up to
- Civil servants' advice
- Why some personal data is disclosable
- When requests for environmental information really pay off
- Arguing the public interest case
When & Where
Campaign for Freedom of Information
The course will be presented by Maurice Frankel, who has worked for the Campaign since it was set up in 1984 and been its director since 1987 and Katherine Gundersen who has worked for the Campaign since 1999.
The Campaign is uniquely placed to help requesters. It played the lead role in persuading the government to introduce the Act, strengthening it in Parliament and fighting off later attempts to restrict it. It now closely monitors how the Act is working in practice and seeks to improve it. For more information visit www.cfoi.org.uk