PDP - FOI News Update - 6 June 2018

GDPR goes into effect
FOI email header
  Issue: 06/06/2018


GDPR goes into effect
The GDPR has now gone into effect as from 25th May, affecting the operation of section 40 of FOIA which deals with the FOI exemption for personal data. The GDPR requires organisations including public authorities to document their compliance, meaning public authorities who also have duties to be transparent to the public are even more open to scrutiny. Volume 13, Issue 5 of Freedom of Information journal featured an article on how exactly the GDPR affects FOI law. See the back issues page
Secrecy over Lord's conflicts of interest
The Department for Education has refused to say what steps a minister who oversees academies while remaining a trustee of a controversial academy trust has taken to avoid conflicts of interest. Lord Agnew, who founded the Norfolk-based Inspiration Trust in 2012, stood down as Chairman when he became a schools minister in September 2017 but remained a member and trustee. His ministerial responsibilities include academies, multi-academy trusts and free schools. The decision to keep Lord Agnew's conflict of interest agreement secret following a FOI request from Tes (Times Educational Supplement) has been branded an "absurd spectacle" by Labour Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner. Tes has asked for the decision to withhold the information to be reviewed.  
Ministers ignored fire safety calls in 2010 review, documents reveal
Documents released under FOIA show that ministers ignored calls for mandatory fire sprinklers and warnings that "a culture of poor standards" was putting lives at risk in the last review of regulations before Grenfell. The consultation submissions to a 2010 review of building regulations carried out by the coalition government show significant warnings were issued about the mounting risk from fire safety, seven years before 72 people were killed in the blaze at Grenfell Tower. The documents were released after the intervention of the Information Commissioner and following a 10 month battle with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. 
ICO begins investigating MoJ
The ICO has begun a criminal investigation into the Ministry of Justice over allegations the department broke Freedom of Information law. The investigation was launched after a report leaked to BuzzFeed News suggested that the MoJ buried damning research into people defending themselves in court. BuzzFeed News and others complained to the ICO that the government had concealed the existence of a 36-page internal report containing explosive testimony from senior judges about the impact on the justice system of unrepresented people in crown court.
Latest criticism levied against Scottish government
The Scottish government is failing to act in the "spirit" of Freedom of Information laws, an architect of the legislation has claimed. The criticism came from Lord Wallace, as it was revealed from a snapshot of requests over a two week period in March that of 141 requests for information, 57 of them were referred to politically appointed advisers and 39 were sent for "ministerial approval". Carole Ewart, convenor of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland, said the original act "does not permit information to be skewed or withheld to avoid political embarrassment", adding that "the involvement of special advisers in finalising the content of so many freedom of information requests is worrying and it is right the public should know the nature and extent of that involvement."
Open Government Manifesto
The Open Government has released its Civil Society Manifesto set to inform the government's fourth Open Government Action Plan that will run from mid-2018 to mid-2020, as part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative. The Manifesto, which has been developed following discussions by civil society, puts forward the UK Open Government Civil Society Network's[2] key thematic areas for consideration. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union halfway through this action plan. The OG stated "We are deeply concerned by the lack of transparency in the preparations and negotiation of withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the EU. Whilst the EU has integrated transparency as part of its negotiating strategy and has regularly published detailed impact studies[6], we note that the UK Government has adopted a negotiating approach which lacks similar levels of openness.[7] As such, the Manifesto also considers this and the recommendations from the OGP Independent Review Mechanism mid-term report, that highlights "A focus on the openness of Brexit, especially as regards the impact of Brexit on everyday life and politics."
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Nottingham University Hospitals NHS TrustSubscribe to two or more journals at the same time and receive a discount
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Professional and practical Training Courses enable delegates to understand the legal requirements in key areas of compliance.  
The following is a selection of some of PDP's current courses.  

Records Management 1
John Wilson, Mosaic
Organisations face increasing pressure to manage their records according to statutory and business requirements. As the use of electronic records and the deployment of electronic document and records management systems continue to increase, the core skills of the person responsible for records management become ever more important to the organisation. In many cases, appropriate data protection and FOI compliance will depend upon a good records management system.This invaluable training session, led by John Wilson, examines core concepts of good records management practice.Records Management 1 is an introductory level session that provides delegates with a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of records management, including:
  • introduction - basic concepts
  • records management tools
  • records lifecycle approach
  • designing a file plan
  • records destruction
  • legal framework / compliance
  • management of electronic records and email 
Upcoming dates for this training course are:
  • London           Tuesday, 17th July 2018
  • Manchester    Wednesday, 5th September 2018
  • Edinburgh      Thursday, 4th October 2018
For further information and to make a booking,
  1. Visit PDP's website 
  2. Telephone PDP at +44 (0)207 014 3399
  3. Download the PDF Training Catalogue 

Records Management 2
This course examines how to implement good records management practice. Led by John Wilson, Records Management 2 is an intermediate level session that provides a grounding in the fundamentals of records management, including:
  • introduction - initiating a records management project
  • records audit
  • process mapping
  • building a business classification scheme
  • measuring performance
  • sustaining a records management programme
Delegates are encouraged to share their own experiences at the session. The day will be a mixture of presentation and practical exercises. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions.Upcoming dates for this training course are:
  • London           Wednesday, 18th July 2018
  • Manchester    Thursday, 6th September 2018
  • Edinburgh       Friday, 5th October 2018
A discount is available for delegates attending both the Level 1 and Level 2 sessions, as well as for multiple delegates attending from the same organisation.
For further information and to make a booking,
  1. Visit PDP's website  
  2. Telephone PDP at +44 (0)207 014 3399
  3. Download the PDF Training Catalogue 
Estelle Dehon, Cornerstone Barristers
Estelle Dehon
Cornerstone Barristers
Since the Freedom of Information Act 2000 came fully into force in 2005 we have experienced a fundamental change in the relationship between UK government and its citizens as government information has become more publicly accessible. Greater transparency is also a key policy of the Coalition Government, and in light of the deficit reduction programme there is an ever increasing public interest in how public money is spent. This has led to the publication of a wide range of public sector datasets and proposals to expand the Freedom of Information Act through the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Information Officers are central to these developments and need to be fully aware of the Act and the impact of future changes to it.This training session is designed to help those who are on the receiving end of requests for information and those who advise and assist them.This training course can be used as credit towards gaining the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information.Upcoming dates for this training course are:
  • Belfast           Monday, 24th September 2018
  • Manchester   Tuesday, 16th October 2018
For further information and to make a booking,
  1. Visit PDP's website 
  2. Telephone PDP at +44 (0)207 014 3399
  3. Download the PDF Training Catalogue 

FOI Practical Training - Level 2 (Applying the Exemptions)
Liz Fitzsimons, Eversheds
Liz Fitsimons

Public sector bodies must make daily decisions on how to respond to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and how to apply the exemptions in the Act. Those decisions are increasingly reviewed and, in many cases, overturned by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and the Courts. As case law develops and changes, public authorities need to ensure that they understand when the exemptions can be applied, and what they have to demonstrate to apply them correctly.This training session considers in detail the practical application of the main FOI exemptions.A discount is available for delegates booking both FOI Level 1 and FOI Level 2.This training course can be used as credit towards gaining the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information.Upcoming dates for this training course are:
  • Belfast           Tuesday, 25th September 2018
  • Manchester    Wednesday, 17th October 2018
For further information and to make a booking,
  1. Visit PDP's website 
  2. Telephone PDP at +44 (0)207 014 3399
  3. Download the PDF Training Catalogue 
The latest edition (Volume 14, Issue 4), features the following articles:Back to the FOIA: how FOIA affects historical records - Paul Gibbons, aka FOIManTo hold, or not to hold - that is the question - Lynn Wyeth, Leicester City CouncilRecent decisions of the Commissioner and Tribunal - Alison Berridge & Imogen Proud, Monckton Chambers
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For more information, please visit PDP Journals

Advanced Records Management Training
Glasgow - 22nd June 2018

This training course provides an in-depth analysis of the key issues and challenges facing those responsible for the management of records and information in the current business environment.

PDP Training Catalogue 2018  
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Browse through PDP's leading information compliance qualifications and training courses 
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"I am very pleased to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The programme provides excellent knowledge and understanding on the practical applications of handling requests for information"
Louise Smith
Financial Ombudsman Service
"A very worthwhile qualification which I wholeheartedly recommend to colleagues"
Barbara Tyldesley
The Environment Agency
"I am so pleased to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in FOI. The 4 day course was excellent and I am now confident in my role as FOI Officer for Social Services. The course has helped me develop my skills and knowledge of FOI/EIR and DP and I would encourage anyone working in this area to attend."
Rachael Strand
Flintshire County Council
"The Practitioner Certificate in FOI was an excellent opportunity to receive specialised training and gain a recognised qualification. In particular, I found the instructors to be both knowledgeable and engaging. As a regulator in an overseas territory, I was easily able to translate the learning into practice. I have and do encourage other FOI practitioners to take advantage of this training programme."
Clara Smith
Information Commissioner's Office (Grand Cayman)
"I am delighted to have passed my examination, achieving this qualification and attending the courses have been a very positive experience which have boosted my confidence and enthusiasm for this subject. I found the courses very informative and the course handout binders are an excellent reference tool which is very relevant to the workplace."
Julie Johnson
Durham County Council
"I'm delighted to have passed the exam; it was hard work preparing for an exam, having not sat one for over 10 years, but the course materials really helped structure my revision. Passing has increased my confidence in dealing with the Act which will be of benefit to myself as well as my organisation."
Heledd Thomas
Comisiynydd y Gymraeg
"I found this to be a comprehensive course, which was well structured to be relevant and of interest to everyone from FOI beginners to more seasoned practitioners. The course tutors were very knowledgeable and clearly very interested in their respective topic areas, and the course was similarly detailed and well-taught."
Mark Reynolds
"I'm thrilled to have gained this qualification. FOI can be a complicated area to understand and apply, but the tutors were excellent in bringing it to life in an interesting way."
Angela Sanderson
Big Lottery Fund
"The Practitioner's Certificate has equipped me with the knowledge and confidence to undertake my role. I found the courses well presented and easy to follow. The case studies are particularly useful, as they give an insight into different scenarios that one may experience. I would recommend PDP to anyone wanting to gain this qualification."
Kim Starbuck
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham "Both the thought provoking training and materials as well as passing the exam will help to ensure we provide a prompt quality service when dealing with information requests particularly as those involving planning can raise complex issues"
John Pierce
The Department for Communities and Local Government 
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