November 26th 2019 | COSLA Conference Centre

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Tuesday, 26 November, 2019

09:00 Registration, Exhibition and Refreshments

09:45 Opening remarks from the Chair Henry McLeish


Session 1: Post-legislative scrutiny; Future-proofing the Act, chaired by Henry McLeish

This session will focus on the Parliament’s post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, which will be coming to a close in December. Have the policy objectives of the Act been realised? What are the issues with the operation of FOI, and what role does FOI play in modern society and open government? 

09:50  Minister’s opening remarks

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

10:00 Questions to the Minister

10:10 Daren FitzhenryScottish Information Commissioner 

10:30 Carole Ewart, Convener of the Campaign For Freedom of Information

10:40 Will Moy, Chief Executive of Full Fact

10:50 Questions to the panel

11:00 Refreshments

11:15  Session 2: Masterclasses

Following feedback from last year, we’ve added an extra masterclass. Delegates will have the choice of which three 30-minute workshops to attend (two before lunch and one after). In advance of the event, you will register for your preferred sessions to ensure these align with the key issues you want answers to. Two of the masterclasses are “solutions rooms”, which are more practical, participative opportunities for smaller groups to reflect on key challenges and work together to resolve them.

The masterclasses are:

Find detailed information for each masterclass here

11:15 Masterclass of choice num. 1

Find a list of available masterclasses here.




11:45 Masterclass of choice num. 2

Find a list of available masterclasses here.




12:15 Lunch

12:50  Masterclass of choice num. 3

Find a list of available masterclasses here.


Session 3

All speakers will reflect on this question from various perspectives. In an age of big data, fake news, and diminishing trust in government, how do we ensure people still feel involved and represented in today’s democracy? How do we line up with other examples from abroad?

13:45 Maria Zuffova, Research Associate at the School of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde

International comparisons of FOI 

14:05  Alastair Brain, Lead fact-checker at The Ferret Fact Service

Transparency in the age of fake news


14:25 Questions to the panel

14:50 Refreshments and Networking

Session 4 The journey of a request, chaired by Henry McLeish

By breaking down the different stages of an information request, this session will give some insight into the different parts of the system and different characters that play such an important role in the FOI story. In the session will hear about why people make requests and what they do with that information. It will then move onto the authority side and explore some of the issues faced by authorities in handling requests. 

15:00 TBC

The requester 

15:10 Rob Ewards, environmental journalist at The Ferret

The journalist ‚Äč


15:20 Paul Gibbons, consultant and trainer in information rights and information management at FOIMAN

The FOI officer 



15:30  Alex Parsons, Research Associate at My Society 

The authority

15:45 Questions and discussion


16:00 Close of conference