November 26th 2019 | COSLA Conference Centre

Register Now


Keynote speakers

Graeme Dey MSP

Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans

Graeme Dey attended Harlaw Academy in Aberdeen before embarking on a career in journalism, living in Dundee and Angus. He was elected to the Scottish Parliament for Angus South in 2011 and has been Convener of the Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, and Depute Convenor of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. Born and raised in Aberdeen, Graeme is married with two grown-up children.

Daren Fitzhenry

Scottish Information Commissioner

Daren Fitzhenry took up post as Scottish Information Commissioner in October 2017, for a fixed term of six years. Prior to his current role, he was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force Legal Branch, heading up its legal advisory team, with wide-ranging experience in the development, implementation and enforcement of regulatory systems. 

As Scottish Information Commissioner, Daren is responsible for the enforcement and promotion of Scotland’s freedom of information laws. This includes handling appeals about the way in which Scottish public authorities respond to information requests, promoting good practice and monitoring and assessing FOI performance. He is strongly committed to the principles of freedom of information, recognising the significant benefits that FOI brings to society, not least its key role in enabling the public's participation and engagement in the issues which really matter to them.  


Will Moy

Executive of Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity

Will Moy is Chief Executive of Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact-checking charity which has pioneered automated fact checking. He has led Full Fact since work began in 2008.

He gave the Royal Statistical Society’s Beveridge Lecture Other Truths Are Available in 2018, co-authored The State of Automated Factchecking with Mevan Babakar in 2016, and regularly appears in the media and at events to discuss Full Fact's work.

Will has served on advisory groups for the ESRC, Ofcom, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Treasury, and regularly gives evidence to select committee and other inquiries. He has advised the ONS on a communications review and he was a Marketing Academy Scholar in 2018. He volunteers as a trainer on the NCVO’s Certificate in Campaigning for charities.



Henry McLeish

Former First Minister of Scotland 

The former First Minister had a crucial role in the creation of the FOI Act in 2002. His input and in-depth knowledge of the Act will make a great contribution to our agenda. 


Paul Gibbons

 Consultant and trainer in information rights and information management at FOIMAN

Paul Gibbons is the author of The Freedom of Information Officer’s Handbook, published by Facet Publishing in 2019. Best known for his FOIMan blog, he also writes for the Freedom of Information Journal and has featured in the Daily Telegraph, Times Higher Education and on BBC Radio. Paul has been delivering training courses for a diverse range of organisations in data protection, freedom of information and other subjects for the last 7 years. Previous clients include the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Isle of Man Government, the Association of Colleges, local authorities across the UK, universities, charities and housing associations. Paul is able to draw on 25 years of experience in the information management arena, during which time he has been employed in a range of organisations including a pharmaceutical company, the UK Parliament (as Parliamentary Records Manager), the Greater London Authority, local government, a hospital and in higher education. 

Rob Edwards

Environmental journalist at the Ferret & FOI campaigner 

Rob Edwards is a founder member of The Ferret, a not-for-profit journalists’ cooperative online at He was previously environment editor of the Sunday Herald and Scotland on Sunday, and has written regularly for The Guardian, New Scientist and others. He is a serial user of freedom of information law.

Alastair Brian

 Lead fact-checker for the Ferret Fact Service

Alastair Brian is the lead fact-checker for Ferret Fact Service and runs fact-checking workshops across the country. He has previously worked for STV News, ITV Border and BBC Scotland across features, news and politics, and is passionate about media transparency and teaching online verification skills.

Alex Parsons

Research associate at My Society

Alex Parsons is a research associate at mySociety (creators of WhatDoTheyKnow), researching the effectiveness and impact of civic tech projects. His research has included exploring appropriate uses of digital tools, and is currently exploring how different profiles of use within the same service should affect evaluations of success. His research into Freedom of Information has involved mapping the scale and administration of freedom of information in UK local government. See more at:

Maria Zuffova

PhD researcher at the University of Strathclyde and Open Government Partnership  

Maria Zuffova is a researcher interested in the area of comparative politics, substantively in digital technologies and democracy, access to government information, its use by journalists and its impacts on corruption. Prior to her doctoral studies, she coordinated online participation platforms for submitting FOI requests and complaints to municipalities in her home country Slovakia. She also works as an IRM researcher for Open Government Partnership.

Carole Ewart

Convener of Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland

Carole Ewart has worked on human rights, social justice and public policy issues in Scotland for over 35 years, and for the last 22 years she has served as an independent consultant.  Carole has worked with over 130 organisations to build capacity, share knowledge, empower people and influence public policy decisions.  Fundamental to all of this work is the right to access information which enables people to scrutinise decisions and helps individuals and communities to make an informed opinion -  a human right contained in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

In addition to being Convener of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland Carole is a member of: the Advisory Board of ‘Uncovering the Environment: The Use of Public Access for Environmental Information’ which is a research project at Dundee University, a member of the Project Board of the Jimmy Reid Foundation which is an independent ‘think tank’ for progressive policy in Scotland, a Member of the Editorial Board of the Scottish Left Review and an unremunerated Company Director of Left Review Scotland Ltd.



Patricia Anderson

Campaign Spokesperson & FOI user, GiveThemTime

Patricia is a former EFL and secondary English teacher who now works in widening participation. As a parent, she co-founded Give Them Time in 2018 to campaign for automatic funding for a further year of nursery for ALL children with a legal right to defer their primary one start.