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Freedom of Information: The Exemptions

Correctly identifying and applying the exemptions to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act is one of the main legal and practical challenges that public authorities face on a daily basis.

This interactive workshop focuses entirely on the FOI exemptions in Part 2 of the Act. Using case studies, recent cases and ICO guidance, the course tutor examines each exemption in turn, with particular emphasis on the most widely used exemptions including Section 21, 36, 40, 41 and 43. We will also examine what makes a good Refusal Notice.

This is an intermediate workshop primarily aimed at people who have some experience of handling FOI requests but wish to enhance and develop their knowledge of the exemptions and how to apply them in practice.

Alongside the tutor's expert knowledge of the FOI, the case studies and exercises will enhance your knowledge of the FOI exemptions.

Key Topics

  • The types of exemption; absolute and qualified
  • Prejudice based exemptions-how do they work in practice?
  • Qualified exemptions- how to do a Public Interest Test
  • Requests involving personal data
  • Administrative exemptions
  • National Security, Public Safety exemptions
  • Justice exemptions
  • Communications within and between institutions
  • Commercial Confidentiality exemptions
  • The EIR exemption
  • Neither confirm nor deny responses
  • Drafting a Refusal Notice
  • Internal Reviews and Enforcement

Dates & Cost


£399 plus VAT


£449 plus VAT

Timings: 10am to 4pm

Date: 06 May 2024
Location: Online
Date: 19 Jun 2024
Location: Online
Date: 08 Aug 2024
Location: Online
Date: 16 Sep 2024
Location: Online
Date: 22 Oct 2024
Location: Online
Date: 09 Dec 2024
Location: Online

Course tutors

All our associates are experienced information governance professionals who have been training and advising in this field for many years.

  • Philip Jones

    Course Tutor

    Philip has 40 years of information management experience in the public and private sectors both as a practitioner and at a senior management level. He was Head of Information Governance at Staffordshire Council. Philip holds a masters degree in information management and an MBA. He is a senior associate for Act Now and Chair of the Exam Panel.

  • Scott Sammons

    Course Tutor

    Scott is an information governance specialist with over 15 years of experience. He has delivered a number international projects for Act Now Training and is a senior tutor on the Advanced Certificate in GDPR Practice. His previous roles include European Data Protection Lead for a bank and GDPR Implementation lead for a council. Scott is a former Chair of the IRMS.

  • Susan Wolf

    Course Tutor

    Susan holds a judicial position as a Fee Paid Member of the Upper Tribunal (Information Rights). She spent ten years teaching the LLM in Information Rights Law at Northumbria University and developed their Postgraduate Certificate in Data Protection Law and Information Governance. Susan is one of the senior curriculum developers for Act Now Training.

  • Iain Harrison

    Course Tutor

    Iain is currently an Information Governance Risk Manager for large local authority and has over 20 years of experience. He has been delivering training for Act Now for over seven years in GDPR and FOI for public, private and charitiable organisations. His extensive experience in planning and implementation of Information Rights legislation allows him to bring training sessions to life.

  • Craig Geddes

    Course Tutor

    Craig is a certified archivist and records manager with 28 years of experience in information governance. He has served as an Archivist, Records Manager, and Senior Information Officer for numerous Scottish local administrations. Craig has spent many years developing and delivering training on records management, freedom of information and data protection.

  • Kirsty Squires

    Course Tutor

    Kirsty is currently a DPO for a number of local authorities and has over 15 years of experience in Data Governance. She has led the IG Project Team on transformation projects to deliver local government restructure in Northamptonshire, dealing with issues including information sharing, data protection by design and leading on training and policy development.

  • Naomi Matthews

    Course Tutor

    Naomi is a local authority lawyer and holds a judicial position as a Fee Paid Member of the Upper Tribunal (Information Rights). She has extensive experience in all areas of information compliance and RIPA. Her training has been commended by RIPA inspectors and her advice has helped many local authorities understand the law and practicalities of covert surveillance.

  • Suzanne Ballabás

    Course Tutor

    Suzanne Ballabás, is a privacy professional with over ten years of practical experience in implementing privacy practices across various international organisations, in addition to acting as a compliance officer for multiple regulated entities within the UAE’s financial districts of DIFC and ADGM.

  • Olu Odeniyi

    Course Tutor

    Olu Odeniyi is a Cyber Security, Information Security and Digital Transformation Trusted Advisor who has 30 years' experience helping organisations maximise gain from technology solutions, including optimisation of business operations and processes. During this time, Olu held several key senior leadership, strategic and operational positions, in the public and private sectors.

  • Robert Bateman

    Course Tutor

    Robert Bateman is a trainer and writer specialising in privacy, data protection, security, and AI. He is a respected voice on privacy and has been writing, researching, and leading conversations in the field since 2017.

  • Craig Geddes

    Course Tutor

    Craig is a qualified archivist and records manager, with 28 years experience working across the range of information governance activities. He has worked for several Scottish local authorities as Archivist, Records Manager, and Senior Information and Improvement Officer.

What our clients say about us

    I found the entire course useful - Excellent course - Very helpful. JW, NHS HMR

    The session gave a great update on recent developments and was a good opportunity to speak with colleagues from other organisations. AH, Wirral Boroguh Council

    Great balance of theory and practice; up to date information. CP, Grosvenor GS

    Delegate pack was excellent - lots of useful information. DH, Electoral Commission

    Very useful course - picked up lots of useful info. LS, Burton Hospitals NHS Trust