November 26th 2019 | COSLA Conference Centre

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Masterclasses & Interactive Sessions

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. 

Delegates will receive an email on the 11th of November with detailed information

Masterclass A | Getting it right

Whether as a result of the recent designation of over 150 Registered Social Landlords and their subsidiaries, or just a change in job roles, there will always be people who are either new to FOI, or simply need a refresher. This workshop will remind you of the important stuff, provide useful advice, hints and tips, and point you towards the essential resources you need to get FOI right.

Session lead by Paul Mutch, Freedom of Information Officer, SIC                                  

Format - Interactive presentation & exercise


Masterclass B | Common problems of an FOI Officer

The FOI Officer is crucial to ensuring an authority’s transparency and openness. In this masterclass, you will hear from the two speakers about the common problems of an FOI Officer, and discuss some of the ways of overcoming these. There will also be an opportunity to share your experiences and get peer-to-peer advice.​

Session lead by  Joe Chapman, Freedom of Information Officer, SIC, with Paul Gibbons, consultant and trainer, FOIMan and Linda Brownlie, Lead FOI Officer, NHS Lanarkshire                

Format - Interactive presentation & exercise


Masterclass C | Solutions Room: Responding Promptly 

In 2018/19, one of the most common subjects of appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner was compliance with timescales. Every missed deadline impacts on requesters, denies them their statutory rights, and has the potential to create more work for the authority in the shape of reviews and appeals. But why do authorities find it difficult to meet FOI timescales? In this masterclass, we explore some of the hurdles to responding promptly, and offer practical solutions on how to overcome them, including steps the Commissioner’s office is taking to review its own procedures.​

Session lead by  Lorraine Currie, Freedom of Information Officer & Margaret Keyse, Head of Enforcement both SIC                         

Format - Delegates will be asked to work in groups to solve two different challenges.


Masterclass D | Solutions Room: The Power of Proactive Publication

FOI law requires authorities to publish information proactively as well as respond to requests. An authority that fulfils its publication scheme duty is one that embeds proactive publication in systems, in practice and in culture, right from the point of creation of the information. So, how does this work in practice, and how can it benefit the public and reduce the need for requests?

Session lead by Eva Groeneveld, Freedom of Information Officer, SIC                   

Format - Delegates will be asked to work in groups to solve two different challenges.