Introduce myself to the conference Briefly explain my role
Other legislation such as EIR and DPA EIR – environmental information – presumption in favour of disclosure DPA – personal information – third party info removed
Expand on incidents where duty to confirm or deny does not arise Explain 20 working days Expand on what is a publication scheme – list of publications Access to information complaints procedure – explain my role in this process
Requesters are required under the terms of the act, to provide an identity – be it a name or a corporate identity. They are also required to provide an address for correspondence, which can be a postal address, email, fax number or in respect of social media, a facebook or twitter page. Requests MUST be in writing via any of the forms mentioned above. Other forms may be permissible as a valid request. Consult the Information Governance team if you have any queries.
Any social media platform might provide an avenue for FOI requests A requester must be identifiable via their social media profile for a request to be valid – we may still decide to accept the request in the spirit of openness and transparency. Social media managers will have a great deal of contact with the public. Therefore it is important that they spot valid requests for information, and ensure that these are handled appropriately and timely – in order for the council to comply with the relevant legislation. If you are unsure contact us and we will advise and if necessary – treat as a request under FOI. Not all requests for information should be handled as FOI requests. If a question is easy to answer, and is not in any way sensitive – it should be responded to outside of the council’s FOI process.
Understanding the community which we serve, enables the council to engineer our services with the customer at the centre, and the promotion of openness and transparency will help foster greater trust and understanding of the council and its services. FOI is sometimes seen as a hinderance, but by understanding the requests being made of us by the public, we are better able to understand possible problems with our services, which may allow us to better target resources to improve these as a result. Proactive publication is the best possible way of reducing the burden of responding to FOI requests, and the Information Governance team are always looking to promote such publication wherever possible. Come and speak to us if you have any queries or concerns.
Search for our guidance on the source under the A to Z (Freedom of Information). The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are the independent regulator for FOI / EIR and DPA and are a very useful resource in this area. They have much guidance on interpreting the legislation on their website – www.ico.gov.uk
FOI and Social Media By Martin Lawrence (Corporate Information Governance Officer)
What is FOI? The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a general right of access for the public, to all types of recorded information held by public authorities such as Devon County Council.
Our Obligations <ul><li>State whether information is held by the authority (unless doing so would reveal exempt material) </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate information requested within 20 working days </li></ul><ul><li>Possess a valid Publication Scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Have a complaints procedure for dealing with complaints </li></ul>
What constitutes a valid request <ul><li>Requester must provide an identity </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Fax </li></ul><ul><li>Letter </li></ul><ul><li>Any written medium </li></ul><ul><li>Social media? </li></ul>
FOI & Social Media <ul><li>Requests can be received through Social Media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Requesters must be identifiable via social media </li></ul><ul><li>Important that Social Media managers have a close relationship with their FOI officers </li></ul><ul><li>Not all requests for information are FOIs </li></ul><ul><li>If you manage social media for the council </li></ul><ul><li>WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! </li></ul>
FOI as a tool for Engagement <ul><li>Important that councils understand their communities </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of FOI requests is a good way to gauge what individual are interested in </li></ul><ul><li>This work should underpin proactive publication </li></ul><ul><li>More engagement will ( hopefully ) lead to less request </li></ul>
Resources <ul><li>Information Governance team are always on hand to answer queries </li></ul><ul><li>We have a raft of guidance on our Source pages </li></ul><ul><li>The ICO is always on hand to offer technical advice on the DPA / FOI / EIR </li></ul><ul><li>Further information available from www.ico.gov.uk </li></ul>