Monday, September 24, 2007

'Information Commissioner & Tribunal Decisions' course

A half-day course presented by Maurice Frankel, director Campaign for Freedom of Information:

Central London 1 November 2007, Liverpool 6 November 2007, Bristol 8 November 2007

The course is aimed at practitioners with a working knowledge of the legislation. It will look at the implications of key decisions from recent months on the main exemptions, public interest test and procedural requirements. It will examine the approach being taken by the Commissioner and Tribunal in part by discussing apparently similar cases which have reached different outcomes.
Issues will include: "fair" and "unfair" disclosures of personal data; protection of commercial interests under FOI and EIRs; disclosures that inhibit frankness; vexatious requests; where the public interest test has tipped the balance; when is information "held"; neither confirming nor denying - decisions to date; advice and assistance.

There are significant discounts available for more than one booking from the same organisation.

For further information -
Act Now Training Courses

Act Now Training has produced its Autumn 2007 program of training courses on Freedom of Information.

Courses range from a basic A-Z to the more advanced exemptions workshop. There is also a new workshop on implementing the Records Management Code of Practice. All courses are priced at £245 plus vat and are at city centre venues close to transport links.


Or Phone 01924 451054
FOI Podcast - Episode 8 available

Episode 8 of the UK’s first Freedom of Information podcast by Ibrahim Hasan.

In July and August 2007 the Information Commissioner published sixty four FOI decisions whilst the Information Tribunal published seven. This podcast guides you through some of these.

Amongst other things, in this episode Ibrahim will be discussing

• The first appeal against an Information Notice
• Disclosure of staff names and contact details
• The first Commissioner decisions involving GPs
• Disclosure of bids received for the purchase of council land
• Whether statistics can still be personal data
• Disclosure of dead peoples’ information
• AND when retrieval of information amounts to the creation of new information

The podcast can be listened to by going to

The raw feed for those of you with RSS feed readers.

There you can also download previous scripts and podcasts.
Dr FOI September 2007

The September e-bulletin from Dilys Jones Associates can be downloaded from the following link

Training dates for Autumn and Winter have been added to

Monday, September 03, 2007

Disclosure "likely to improve quality of the deliberative process"

The Information Tribunal has upheld Friends of the Earth's appeal against the Information Commissioner and Export Credits Guarantee Department over a EIR request for inter-departmental documents relating to the Sakhalin oil and gas project. This is the first time that the Tribunal has determined that policy advice should be disclosed pre the decisional stage.
"While the Tribunal accepts that a final decision has yet to be made, the ECGD presented no evidence to the Tribunal or indeed to the Commissioner of how, and if so, to what extent ongoing interdepartmental or governmental deliberations regarding any prospective final decision would be harmed or might be harmed by disclosure of the 2003 inter-departmental responses in March 2005...The Tribunal is simply not willing to accept in the absence of such evidence that disclosure of the 2003 inter-departmental responses in March 2005 was likely to pose a threat to the candour of further deliberations or that the as at the time of the requestr was made in 2005, protective thinking time or space was required as a matter of overriding importance. There is simply no factual evidence to support the suggestion that time and space was required, let alone used, over the long period in question."

"The information requested in this case consists of a number of items of correspondence to ECGD from a number of the recipients [departments] of the notification. The Tribunal takes the view, having seen this information, that disclosure of at least one of the responses is highly unlikely to cause prejudice in terms of collective responsibility or candour when it comes to applying the public interest scales. On the contrary, the Tribunal feels most strongly that disclosure of the type of information in question in that particular exchange is, if anything, likely to improve the quality of the deliberative process." (Emphasis added)
Read the Tribunal's decision (Pdf)