Public scrutiny of how organisations are responding to the current crisis is bringing renewed attention to the importance of managing FOI requests.

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 Paul Gibbons, information rights consultant and author of The Freedom of Information Officer’s Handbook, equips you 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. 

About the Chair: Paul Gibbons
Paul Gibbons is a leading expert in information rights and management with many years experience in the field. With a background in the pharmaceutical industry, Paul then became the first Parliamentary Records Manager, and later prepared the Mayor of London for the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. His experience also covers working for a London Healthcare Trust and a college of the University of London.

Paul has subsequently worked as an information governance manager, managing compliance with the Data Protection Act and other legislation in the NHS and in higher education. Since 2010 he has been writing the respected FOI Man blog and now provides training and consultancy in information rights and management to the public sector and beyond. He has become well known in the UK public sector and beyond and is regularly asked to speak and write about information rights.

09:15 - 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