Information Commissioner & Tribunal Decisions – what do they mean in practice?

Photo: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Photo: Campaign for Freedom of Information

When: Thursday 1 December 2016
Where: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Time: 1:30 – 5:00 pm

The Information Commissioner has issued over 9,000 decision notices under the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations – while the Information Rights Tribunal has published over 1,700 decisions. A significant number of appeals to the Upper Tribunal and courts have also been decided. These complex decisions are essential materials for anyone trying to understand what public authorities must do to comply with the legislation.

This course, now in its 11th year, is aimed at experienced FOI practitioners and others with a good working knowledge of the legislation. It highlights the latest developments in the way the exemptions, public interest test and the legislation’s procedural requirements are being interpreted.

The course will cover the most significant FOI decisions issued since the previous course in June 2016. The content will therefore depend on the cases decided in that period, but typically addresses issues such as:

  • “Fair” & “unfair” disclosures of personal data
  • The FOI/EIR border
  • The application of specific exemptions such as those for breach of confidence and commercial interests
  • Where the public interest line is being drawn
  • Vexatious requests
  • The cost limit, aggregating requests, invalid requests, advice & assistance and other administrative provisions

This course is primarily aimed at Freedom of Information practitioners, lawyers* and other specialists working in the field. It is not intended as an introduction to FOI. If you are new to the subject you may find our Using the FOI Act course more suitable. This course can be provided in-house – please contact us for more information.

*Lawyers may claim non-accredited CPD points for attending.


£220 for an individual place
Discounts available for multiple bookings from the same organisation:

2 places £385 (saving £55)
3 places £495 (saving £165)
4 places £605 (saving £275)
5 places £715 (saving £385)


Bookings can be made and paid for by credit card online via the Free Word Centre website or by phoning the Free Word Box office on 020 7324 2570.

If you are unable to pay to by credit card and would like to pay by invoice, please email us or call the Campaign on 020 7324 2519.

About the trainer:

The course is presented by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, who has worked in the field for over 30 years. He was actively involved in persuading the government to introduce FOI and seeking improvements to the legislation in Parliament. He now trains public authority staff and requesters in the legislation. He was a member of the Ministry of Justice’s Information Rights User Group. He sat on the ODPM group looking at aligning the Local Government Act 1972 with the FOI Act. He was a member of the Common-wealth Group of Experts whose FOI Principles were adopted by Commonwealth Law Ministers in 1999. He drafted the successful private members’ bills which became the Access to Personal Files Act 1987, the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988, the Environment and Safety Info-rmation Act 1988 and the Access to Health Records Act 1990. He received an OBE for services to open government in 2004.

This course has been attended by officials from:

Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, City of London Police, Cranfield University, Crossrail, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust, Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions, Falmouth University, Financial Conduct Authority, Food Standards Agency, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Goldsmiths University of London, Heritage Lottery Fund, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Home Office, Home and Communities Agency, House of Commons, Independent Police Complaints Commission, Kent County Council, Land Registry, Local Government Ombudsman, London Borough of Barnet, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, Melton Borough Council, National Audit Office, Network Rail, New Forest District Council, Northampton Borough Council, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Office for National Statistics, Office of Rail Regulation, Ofwat, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Sheffield City Council, Sport England, Surrey County Council, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Thanet District Council, The National Archives, University of Bedfordshire, University of East London, University of Leeds, Welsh Government.

Feedback from previous delegates:

“Very relevant to current work”

“Focused & insightful as ever. Logical, common sense dissection of cases”

“As always, makes the ‘correct’ decisions sound like common sense. Clear, logical, insightful”

“The variety of decisions and comparison of apparently similar decisions is very useful”

“Excellent round-up of important decisions that I’ve overlooked through being too busy dealing with FOI requests!”

“We always make sure at least one individual [from the FOI team] attends – very useful for FOI staff members’ knowledge and awareness – and challenge from a pro-disclosure/openness perspective”

“good explanations (backed by examples) of finer points of FOI”

“An excellent selection of thought provoking decisions, some of which will be of particular value”

“Good range of cases, I always learn something of immediate use”

“Highlighted decisions not previously aware of”

“[likely to lead to] improved guidance to internal staff”

“Good to go through nuances of exemptions – sometimes forgotton!”

“Good engagement, succinct”

“Good format – presented well”

“My 1st attendance at a decisions course. Found it interesting & useful”

Please follow and like us:

Comments are closed.