December 13th 2018 | COSLA Conference Centre

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Thursday, 13 December, 2018


Registration, Exhibition and Refreshments


Opening remarks from the Chair

Liz Leonard, Journalist and Broadcaster

Session 1: Freedom of Information in 2018: a review of policy and practice

In this opening session we will look back on a busy year in Freedom of Information in Scotland, considering what the developments of the past 12 months will mean as we head into 2019. 


Minister’s opening remarks

Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans, The Scottish Government


Questions to the Minister


Opening remarks from the Scottish Information Commissioner

Daren Fitzhenry, Scottish Information Commissioner 


Questions to the Scottish Information Commissioner


The need for information in citizens’ hands

Rob Edwards, Journalist, The Ferret


Questions to Rob Edwards



Session 2: Masterclasses

Through a series of masterclasses delegates will be able to explore best practice in freedom of information.


First Masterclass 


Transition between Masterclasses


Second Masterclass



Masterclass 1: What children and young people need to engage in FOI

Research from the Scottish Information Commissioner shows that only 25% of secondary school pupils in Scotland know they have freedom of information (FOI) rights, compared to 85% FOI awareness amongst the adult population. In the Year of Young People, this is an exploration of what children and young people need to be better engaged in democracy and use their FOI rights more effectively.

Chair: Paul Mutch, Freedom of Information Officer, Scottish Information Commissioner


  • John Walker MSYP, Member for Almond Valley, Scottish Youth Parliament 

Further panellists to be confirmed

Masterclass 2: How Scottish Information Commissioner Interventions can improve FOI practice

The Scottish Information Commissioner has the power to act where a public authority is not complying with FOI law or the Ministers’ Code of Practice. He may intervene at different levels in order to improve public authority FOI practice. This session enables you to find out more about the process, and purpose, of an intervention.
Chair: Lorraine Currie, Freedom of Information Officer, Scottish Information Commissioner
  • Sarah Hutchison, Head of Policy and Information, Scottish Information Commissioner
  • Graham Crombie, Head of FOI Policy, Scottish Government
  • Jennifer Veitch, Head of FOI Casework. Scottish Government
  • Callum Morrison, Information Management & Governance Officer, Scottish Funding Council

Masterclass 3: Uncovering the Environment: The use of public access to environmental information

This masterclass will examine the special features of the regime for providing access to environmental information in Scotland and explore how it is being used.

Professor Colin T Reid, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Dundee

Dr Jonathan Mendel, Lecturer in Geography, University of Dundee

Dr Sean Whittaker, Post-doctoral Research Assitant in Law, University of Dundee


Session 3: Does FOI open the door to participation in democracy?

Jefferson said “information is the currency of democracy”, but does our FOI system enable or encourage democratic participation? This session will consider how public authorities can promote participation in democracy through good FOI practice and whether anything needs to change to make it easier for people get the information they need.


How access to information can promote equality

Kaela Scott, Head of Democratic Innovation, Involve


Using open data and FOI to shape public services 

Peter Tolland, Chief Information Officer, North Lanarkshire Council

Steven Revill, Co-founder & CEO, UrbanTide


FOI giving people a voice


FOI informing democracy

Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour party


Questions and discussion



Session 4: Is FOI working in contracted-out services and public procurement?

In November 2017, the International Conference of Information Commissioners approved a resolution on the right of access to information in relation to contracted out services and services delivered by non-public organisations. This session will examine FOI issues relating to public procurement in Scotland, including proposals to look at the extension of FOI.


Why Open Contracting Matters

Hera Hussain, Senior Advocacy Manager, Open Contracting 


With the right information public procurement can do more…

Fiona Montgomery, Information Development Officer, UNISON


Questions and discussion


Closing remarks from the chair


Close of conference