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. 

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!

trainer photo
Paul Gibbons

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a thorough understanding of FOI requirements
  • Understand the updates to refusing an FOI request
  • Learn how to perfect your FOI procedures
  • Familiarise yourself with the ICO’s FOI self-assessment toolkit
  • Embed effective information rights processes 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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09:30 - 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


Central Government & Agencies

Delegate Price
£495 + VAT

Local Government, Housing, Education & Health

Delegate Price
£445 + VAT


Delegate Price
£445 + VAT

Private Sector

Delegate Price
£595 + VAT