Howard Back,Ppt


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Howard Back,Ppt

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