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Using the FOI Act! Training for requesters

 

Photograph: Samuel Zeller

Photograph: Samuel Zeller

When: Thursday 3rd November 2016
Where: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Time: Registration 9:45 am, course 10 am – 5:00 pm

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 that 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, an authority isn’t doing its job or generating key information for your research.

This practical course is designed to help campaigners, researchers, 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 best to apply the Act in a variety of situations. The course is aimed at both beginners and those who are already using the Act but want to do so more effectively.

This course will explain:

  • What information you’re entitled to – and from whom
  • How to draft a clear and realistic request
  • How the Act’s exemptions and public interest test work
  • Key pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • What authorities should do to help you
  • When requests can be refused on cost grounds
  • How to challenge refusals
  • Examples of disclosures that have made a difference

You will also have the opportunity to discuss problems you have encountered with your own requests.

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 with the Campaign since 1999. The Campaign played the leading role in securing the FOI Act and improving it in Parliament.

Cost
Standard rate: £90
Concession for unaffiliated individuals, freelance journalists, small NGOs with 4 staff or less: £45

Please note lunch is not provided but there are plenty of places to buy lunch nearby.

NOTE: Lawyers may claim non-accredited CPD hours for attending.

Places can be booked online via the Free Word Centre website or by phoning the Free Word Box Office on 020 7324 2570. 

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