ABOUT THIS COURSE
The Practitioner Certificate is an established program for those with Freedom of Information responsibilities.
The BCS Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information offers an in-depth practical examination of FOI and EIR. An accepted mark of achievement, award holders, are often selected to lead disclosure practices of publicly held information within their organisation, department or authority.
This BCS accredited course explores the rights people have to know about the activities of public bodies, except where there is a valid reason for non-disclosure. It examines how transparency and openness are integral to the degree of trust and confidence placed in public authorities. And how being accountable opens debate, ultimately leading to the development of more efficient public services.
TThe course requires participants develop a thorough understanding of the access requirements under the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations along with other associated legislation. It covers the process and mechanisms used to administer the release of information held by, or on behalf of, government departments and public authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Delivered over 5-days the course follows the latest BCS Syllabus. Participants will also receive a separate 1-day course to help prepare for the BCS Practitioner Exam. The BCS exam is a 3-hour closed-book examination comprising three sections.
The BCS Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information course is currently only available online. The course is delivered over 10-days, with one 3.5 hours live module each day.
The following schedule is intended as a guide:
|Module 1||Introductions, Learning outcomes|
|Exam details & techniques and understanding the Act|
|Origins and Background|
|Definitions and Scope - Duties of the Act
• Amending DPA and PRA, extend EIR
|Module 2||Definitions and Scope Duties of the Act cont.
• Who the Act affects and application – Schedule 1 Sections 4 & 5
• Publicly owned companies, limited application Sections 6 & 7
|Obligations and Responsibilities – Access Rights
• Access Code section 45
• The duty to confirm or deny, and the duty to communicate
• Held information
|Module 3||Obligations and Responsibilities - Access Rights cont.
• Valid Requests
• Fees and cost limits
• Means of communications and Datasets
• Re-use of Public sector information 2015
|Advice and assistance
• Clarifying requests
|Module 4||Obligations and Responsibilities cont.
• Consulting 3rd parties,
• Vexatious and repeat requests
• Transparency and Confidentiality in contracts
|Module 5||Code of Practice/Regulations EIR on Access
• Timelines and charges
• Transfers /Public sector contracts,
|Obligations and Responsibilities – Records Management
• Section 46 Records Management Code
|Benefits v Risks|
|Module 6||Records Management cont.
• Function/Policy/Keeping Records
• Historical Records after 20 years
|Obligations and Responsibilities- Exemptions
|Module 7||Obligations and Responsibilities Exemptions cont.
• Prejudice and PIT tests
• Absolute Exemptions
|Module 8||Obligations and Responsibilities Exemptions continued.|
• Removal of exemptions
• Enforcement and appeals
• Role of the ICO
• Internal review
• Complaints to ICO
• Appeals to TGRC
|The Cabinet Office responsibilities|
|Practice exercises and case studies|
|Module 10||Questions & Answers|
|Individual 1 to 1 tutorials|
Who should attend?
This course is intended for:
- Freedom of Information Managers
- Environmental Information Regulations Managers
- Information Governance (IG) and Information Assurance (IA) professionals (all grades)
- Records Managers working in the public sector
- Data Protection Officers working within the public sector
- FOI lead officers within an industry sector carrying out a public function or service e.g. Utilities & Housing Authorities
- Lead FOI officers within relevant public-private partnerships
- Solicitors advising on information law and press officers
By obtaining the Practitioner Certificate, individuals will:
- Hold the leading practitioner level accredited qualification in Freedom of Information
- Develop a deep appreciation of FOI in its widest context, its interaction with EIRs, DPA and other associated legislation
- Have the confidence to lead organisational compliance for both FOI and EIR
- Be able to give advice and support on relevant information handling standards and frameworks
- Understand the types of information likely to be requested along with those required to be made available within a Publication Scheme
- Be equipped to develop Freedom of Information policies that cover the processing and monitoring of:
- the receipt of a new information request through to disclosure, and
- the application of appropriate legal exemptions or exceptions from disclosure and the public interest test
- the calculation of fees where applicable
The BCS Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of information aligns with the vocational qualification QCF Level 4. Note, this link is advisory and for comparison purposes only. Ofqual does not regulate BCS qualifications..
Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information (PC-FOI)
Extracted from syllabus version 5.4
This professional certification is not regulated by the following United Kingdom Regulators - Ofqual, Qualification in Wales, CCEA or SQA.