It is essential that public sector organisations are fully acquainted with the FOI self-assessment toolkit and the ICO’s updated guidance on refusing a request.

This virtual Excel at Complying with Freedom of Information course, led by information rights consultant and author of The Freedom of Information Officer’s Handbook, Paul Gibbons, equips delegates with the skills, knowledge and processes necessary to excel at remotely dealing with all issues surrounding information requests.

Whether you need to prepare your organisation for the latest developments, improve your request response time or become confident in handling complex requests containing personal data, this training is an essential part of your preparation.

Please note we will be using Zoom to deliver this course. 

Unlocking the Power of Virtual

Our virtual courses have been designed with you in mind. From group exercises in breakout rooms to live chat, whiteboards and interactive polls, we use a range of tools and techniques to ensure that you can connect with your trainer; network and share best practice with your peers and leave the day with the skills you need.

Our courses provide you with an interactive and engaging learning environment that can be accessed from any location, helping you to continue to connect, learn and grow. Click here to discover more!

09:30 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:00

Chair's Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 11:00

Understanding How FOI Works

  • Gain an overview of FOI responsibilities
  • Understand the relationship between the EIRs and FOI
  • Learn about publication schemes and pro-active publication
  • The implications of the new Code of Practice on managing FOI and new responsibilities
  • Learn about the Information Commissioner’s new FOI strategy and their approach to enforcing FOI
11:00 - 11:15

Morning Break

11:15 - 12:00

GDPR, Data Protection and FOI Requests

  • Understand how the 2018 Data Protection Act affects FOI
  • Learn about the impact of GDPR on the management of FOI
12:00 - 13:00

Workshop: Refusing Requests – Part I

The Chair will explain how vexatious, costly and problematic requests can be dealt with, and delegates will have the opportunity to apply their learning to a series of case studies

  • Effectively identify and deal with vexatious requests
  • Apply the cost limit correctly
  • Understand what tools are available to manage the burden of FOI
13:00 - 13:45


13:45 - 14:45

Workshop: Refusing Requests – Part II

The Chair will explain the exemptions in the Act, drawing delegates’ attention to relevant guidance and case law, and delegates will be asked to complete exercises designed to apply their learning

  • Understand the exemptions in the FOI Act
  • Understand how to conduct a public interest test
  • Know what information to include in a refusal notice
  • Learn about the appeals process
14:45 - 15:00

Afternoon Break

15:00 - 15:30

Managing the Practicalities of FOI

  • Ensure that effective procedures and systems are in place to manage FOI
  • Learn techniques to improve co-operation and compliance
  • Understand the importance of building good relationships with requesters and the media
15:30 - 16:00

Troubleshooting Session

Pose specific questions relating to FOI to the Chair who will provide tailored feedback and encourage discussion around the topics that arise

16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation & Close

Pose specific questions relating to FOI to the Chair who will provide tailored feedback and encourage discussion around the topics that arise

Paul Gibbons

Information Rights Consultant

Paul Gibbons is a leading expert in information rights and management with many years experience in the field. With a background…

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Q: Can I make a provisional booking?

A: Unfortunately, we do not accept provisional bookings. Registrations are subject to our terms and conditions. View terms and conditions here

Q: Can I book without a purchase order number?

A: Yes. Simply email after you have booked the course, with your Purchase Order Number. Please quote your order number and the course you are booked onto.

Q: Is lunch included?

A: Yes, a two-course hot buffet is served at lunch. Tea and coffee are served throughout the day.

Q: I have special dietary requirements, how can I request this?

A: Special dietary requirements can be catered for, please ensure you include this in the further information box when registering your place. If you have forgotten to add this, you can also send your requirements to or call 0800 542 9440. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can ensure your needs are met.

Q: I have just registered for the course, when will I receive the joining instructions?

A: You will receive the joining instructions and reminders, 6 weeks, 2 weeks and 3 days before the course date. Please check your spam box to see whether the joining instructions were sent there, if not please call 0800 542 9440 so we can have these sent to you immediately.

Q: I can no longer attend the course, can a colleague attend in my place?

A: Substitutions may be made at any time but must be made no later than 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 0800 542 9440 or email with the replacement's details.

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

A: Cancellations must be received in writing 30 working days before the date of the event and will be subject to a £195+VAT administration fee. Cancellations received after this time will be subject to the full delegate fee.

Q: Why haven’t I received the speaker’s presentation?

A: Speakers presentations are sent a week after the event date. Please contact a member of the UMG team on 0800 542 9440 or if it has been more than a week.

Q: Will there be WI-FI?

A: Yes, all our venues have the latest technology, offer full audio visual support and WI-FI.

Q: Can’t find what you are looking for?

A: Why not contact a member of the UMG team on 0800 542 9440 or email