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Howard Back,Ppt

Howard Back,Ppt






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    Howard Back,Ppt Howard Back,Ppt Presentation Transcript

    • Freedom of Information Act, 2000 Lessons learned from implementing the Act in the London Metropolitan Police – a high profile U.K. Public Authority Presentation to the international seminar in Santiago, Chile Howard Back 5/6 November 2007
    • My role in Freedom of Information
      • London Metropolitan Police project team September 2002 until April 2005
      • Extensive learning from Queensland Police, Australia
      • Visit to/regular contact with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Washington DC, USA
      • Seen by 42 other UK Police Forces as a lead player
      • [email_address]
    • Objectives of presentation
      • Consider what lessons were learned from the London experience
      • Recognise the implications for Chilean organisations
      • Use the lessons learned to improve planning for implementing the law in Chile
    • Freedom of Information Act, 2000
      • Threat or opportunity?
    • The implications of FOIA
      • Policy, systems, processes
      • Training and awareness
      • Culture of openness and accountability
        • Senior management
        • Front line staff
        • Willingness to release new information
        • The view from the public
      • Information management improvements
    • What size is the Metropolitan Police?
      • 31,000 police officers
      • 17,000 civilian support staff
      • Budget of £2.9 billion
    • Different formats of information
      • Paper records – a huge legacy
      • Electronic Word documents and spreadsheets
      • Email communication and decision making
      • Video tapes
      • Audio tapes
      • Photographs
      • Maps and plans
    • FBI experience of FOIA
      • Comparison with a similar high profile law enforcement agency:
      • History of being unprepared for the onslaught of requests
      • Experience of the threat of ‘Mosaic Requests’
      • File based culture
      • Acceptance that records will be exposed
    • How did the Metro Police project team model the response?
      • Scale and geography of the organisation
      • Risks/threats
      • Central processing office and local decision makers
      • Existing Data Protection requests
      • Staffing constraints
      • Local ownership of information
    • What was the anticipated impact on the Metro Police?
      • Information Commissioner would publicise the right
      • Significant numbers of e-mail applications anticipated
      • Applications from media, politicians, criminals, local pressure groups and staff
      • Focus would be on policy, procedure, decision making and resource deployment
      • Significant past events will attract applications
    • How is it working in the Metro Police now?
      • Simple requests managed locally
        • No issues on disclosure
        • Application of simple exemptions
      • Complex requests managed centrally (Public Access Office)
        • Public interest exemptions
        • Co-ordination required
        • Structure of Single Points of Contact in higher ‘risk’ Dept’s
        • National co-ordination of pan-UK police forces
    • Resource cost
      • Staffing – 850 potential decision makers, 38 processors in the central Public Access Office
      • MetRIC – a case management system which cost £1.3m
      • Training – 5 levels – one size does NOT fit all
    • What are the Metro Police being asked for?
      • Focus on personal information, personnel matters and deployments / resources
      • Internal requests
      • Growing media usage
      • Considerable internal co-ordination needed
      • Hot news issues – this is event- driven
      • Top ten requested documents include the Diversity Strategy, minutes of local police station senior management team meetings and the expenses paid to the Commissioner and his Management Board colleagues!!
    • FOIA activity currently
      • 3084 FOIA requests in 2006
      • Monthly Publication Scheme activity:
      • 16,190 hits monthly on the Publication Scheme
      • 95,700 monthly downloads
      • Significant rise in Data Protection requests
    • The Metro Police’s system to manage requests
      • MetRIC – Metropolitan Requests for Information and Correspondence
      • Central co-ordination – access across the Metro Police
      • Software solution to capture and track all requests
      • Audit trail of all disclosures and decision making
    • The Metro Police Publication Scheme – used to reduce requests
      • Catalogue of information available to the public
      • Emphasis on new material of public interest
      • Proactive publication of material
        • Minutes
        • Policies
        • Performance
        • Plans, Objectives, Strategies
      • MPS model follows national model for police forces
      • Currently 12,900 documents published for world wide access
    • Lessons learned (1)
      • Culture change is led from the top
      • Publish NOW as much as you dare
      • Work closely with high risk departments and establish control points
      • Use as many exemptions as possible to protect high risk information
      • If one exemption fails, have alternatives ready
      • Invest in training for decision makers
      • Train to various levels based on need
    • Lessons learned (2)
      • Maintain contact with the applicant at all stages of the request
      • “Do you want it all or do you want it quickly?”
      • Think like an applicant
      • Once an applicant has possession of information, all control of it is lost
      • FOI is event driven – an incident given local/national/international media coverage will increase requests
    • Lessons learned (3)
      • Use technology if possible to manage requests:
      • Look for patterns of requests and regular applicants
      • Full audit trail of decision making
      • Up to date tracking of all requests
      • Analysis of bottle necks to improve performance
      • Publish information on the internet once released to an applicant
    • Lessons learned (4)
      • One and only opportunity to improve information management (not seen as important):
      • Reduce volumes of information, improve indexing, increase staff efficiency, improve staff knowledge, reduce costs, improve professionalism and reputation
      • Use the change in law to change the culture and reputation – openness, accountability, honesty, willingness to release information
    • If FOIA is coming to you, do this…
      • Prepare for requests
        • Identify the types of information that will attract requests
        • Examine the exemptions under FOIA
        • Consider how you would apply them
      • Proactively publish documents of ‘Public Interest’
    • General issues in the Metro Police’s law enforcement arena
      • FOIA relates to information held, not owned
      • Applicant blind
      • Threat of mosaic approaches
      • Interpretation of Public Interest Test
      • However the big issue is……………..
    • The issue of co-ordination
      • Pan-Department
      • Pan-London
      • National
      • International
      • Remember different FOIA legislation and use of exemptions in UK, USA, Canada and other countries subject to this legislation
    • If FOIA is coming to a range of organisations at the same time…
      • Make a request for one agency’s information from another one – where is the weakest link in the chain nationally/internationally?
      • Will each agency deal with its own requests or is there a central clearing house?
      • What protocols will govern decision-making on disclosure / withholding of information?
    • Multi-agency co-operation
      • Joint activity now to
        • Assess the risks
        • Identify sensitive information
        • Apply exemptions/agree publication now
        • Agree co-ordination
        • Think like an applicant
        • How is your organisation set up to respond?