Information Access Law – Freedom of Information and Beyond Sid Ryan
This session will outline how you can make the law work for you by requesting information from government bodies. By the end you will know the entire information access law toolkit and can set out to put it to use.
We’ll cover the basics of the Freedom of Information Act, and its lesser-known cousins the Environmental Information Regulations, Subject Access Requests and the Audit Commission Act. We’ll focus on examples of the kinds of information you can receive and how you can put this to work in your investigations.
An information request can be as simple as asking a question, but to have any real success you need to put a lot of thought into what you’re asking for and how. Here you’ll be learning how best to frame a request to get useful information.
The second session in the information access law strand will focus on what you need to be thinking about before you send in a request, so that you can avoid the biggest pitfalls and come back with something useful at the end. And we’ll go through the basic template for a request. At the end, we’ll run a clinic where we can troubleshoot any requests that you would like to send in.
If you want something important you’re guaranteed to have a fight on your hands, and you need to be able to stand your ground against the public authority. This session will teach you how to argue your case right up to the courts.
The final session will go through the appeals process, outlining how to challenge public bodies when they don’t want to give you the information you’ve asked for. We’ll break down the steps to making an appeal and work through some of the most common issues you’ll face. To finish, he’ll work through some of the problems that you bring to him.