Freedom of Information Act training

Image of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 introduction stating "An Act to make provision for the disclosure of information held by public authorities or by persons providing services for them and to amend the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Public Records Act 1958; and for connected purposes."
Image: Campaign for Freedom of Information

The Campaign for Freedom of Information’s training is led by its Director, Maurice Frankel, drawing on the unique experience he has built up over 30 years of working on FOI.  Attendees consistently rate it as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

We provide courses on:

  • Using the Freedom of Information Act: next course TBC (but likely Nov/Dec 2024)
  • FOI case law: next course 6th June 2024

We can also offer bespoke in-house training tailored to an organisation’s requirements.

If you would like to be notified about future courses or for information about in-house training please contact:

Using the FOI Act! Practical training on making Freedom of Information requests

Do you want to learn how to make a Freedom of Information Act request? 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 best to apply the Act in a variety of situations. This one day course is aimed at both beginners and those who are already using the Act but want to do so more effectively.

Feedback from previous attendees:

“I have benefitted hugely from the courses run by the Campaign for Freedom of Information. I recommend them without reservation for any journalist interested in developing their expertise and knowledge in this area. Maurice Frankel knows more about FOI than anyone and those attending will come away armed with new tips and strategies as well as enthusiasm for using the Act.” (Paul Francis, Group Political Editor at The Kent Messenger Group)

“I found the comprehensive nature of the presentation very helpful and quite impressive…the information provided is of practical use for dealing with the IC and complaints/Tribunal procedures as a whole, not just for drafting an effective request.”

“enjoyed the course and saw how my previous FOIs had not been successful”

“New to FOI. A really effective introduction”

“Very good! It starts at the beginning and gets more complex…perfect for novices”

“I found the comprehensive nature of the presentation very helpful and quite impressive…the information provided is of practical use for dealing with the IC and complaints/Tribunal procedures as a whole, not just for drafting an effective request.”

“I started knowing nothing about the detail of FOI and learned a lot”

“Engaging and articulate presentation, informative and useful”

“Never used it [FOI] before, will give it a go with more confidence now”

Information Commissioner & Tribunal Decisions FOI case law course

This twice-yearly course on recent FOI case law covers significant Commissioner and Tribunal decisions issued during the preceeding six months. It aims to help experienced FOI practitioners and others who specialise in FOI keep abreast of new developments. Its exact content is dependent on the decisions that have been issued during the period, but typically covers issues such as: “fair” and “unfair” disclosures of personal data; the FOI/EIR border; the application of specific exemptions including those for breach of confidence, commercial interests and legal professional privilege; where the public interest line is being drawn; vexatious requests; the cost limit, aggregating requests, advice & assistance and other administrative provisions.

Feedback from previous attendees:

“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”

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

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