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Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) are an integral part of the public sector’s commitment to transparency. However, FOI requests can often be a costly and time-consuming task to complete.

FOI exemptions allow public sector organisations to protect information, reduce the burden of responding to vexatious FOI requests and prioritise valid requests for information.

Attend our Understanding and Applying FOI Exemptions course to gain a brief and comprehensive overview of the FOI landscape; apply the commercial interest test; improve how you manage vexatious requests; establish over the cost threshold; learn how to write a refusal notice and apply the public interest test.

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!

Please note we will use Zoom to virtually deliver this course.

trainer photo
Scott Sammons
Information Governance Coach, MNLP, AMIRMS, MBCS, H-FIIM

Scott is an experienced and qualified practitioner & coach in the management and governance of information and data having worked and volunteered for 14+ years in the profession. Starting his career in Local Government, Scott has since worked across both the private and public sectors (both large and small) and gained experience, knowledge and/or qualifications working with information governance frameworks applicable in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, and wider European context. From 2016-2020 Scott was Chair of the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) and now volunteers as their lead on professional development including Accreditation, Mentoring, Apprenticeships and ...

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Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to apply a range of exemptions
  • Gain a brief overview of the FOI regulation
  • Improve how you manage vexatious requests
  • Learn when to establish over the cost threshold
  • Take back an FOI exemptions toolkit to use within your organisation
All the Understanding ModernGov courses are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified, with signed certificates available upon request for event.

Enquire About In-House Training

To speak to someone about a bespoke training programme, please contact us:
0800 542 9414
[email protected]


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09:25 - 09:30


09:30 - 10:00

Trainer’s Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 10:45

Brief Overview of FOI

  • Gain a brief overview of FOI regulation
  • Learn how to identify different types of FOI requests
  • Benchmark your FOI procedures against other public sector organisations
10:45 - 11:00

Morning Break

11:00 - 12:00

FOI Requests and Commercial Interests

  • Prejudice to commercial interests: learn how to apply the prejudice test
  • Trade secrets
  • Third party interests
12:00 - 13:00

Managing Vexatious Requests

  • Identify vexatious requests
  • Gain strategies and techniques on handling vexatious requests
13:00 - 13:45


13:45 - 14:00

Reflection Session

  • Trainer will review the day’s learning and the next stages of the course
  • Delegates will have time to ask questions and share views with one another
14:00 - 14:30

Establishing Over the Cost Threshold

  • Calculate when the FOI exceeds the threshold
  • Assessing staff time to manage the requests
  • The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004
14:30 - 15:15

Workshop Writing a Refusal Notice

  • Learn how to write a refusal notice
  • Identify key points to include
  • Establish what to say and how to communicate it
15:15 - 16:00

Workshop Applying FOI Exemptions: The Public Interest Test

  • Review FOI requests and take part in interactive sessions to apply the public interest test
  • Develop processes and procedures to be better apply exemptions
  • Take back an FOI exemptions toolkit to use within your organisation
16:00 - 16:15

Round Up and Key Takeaways