The Freedom of Information Act provides the public access to information held by public authorities. Under the Act and otherwise, public authorities are obliged to disclose certain information about their activities and make these available to the public. On the other hand, members of the public are entitled to request information they require from public authorities.
The information that should be shared under the Freedom of Information Act is any recorded information held by a public authority. However, Freedom of Information does not bind public authorities to create data on receiving a request for the same, unless they have it stored in a readily shareable form.
However, not all public organisations are bound by laws and legislations to provide any data on request. There are exceptions, such as charities, who need not share information about their accounts or any other activities and records.
Recorded information that should be shared with the public can be in various forms, such as printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, audio and/or video recordings, etc.
Given the sensitivity of the data held by public authorities, the request for information follows a stringent procedure. The request needs to come in a formal form to be processed by the organisation in question.
While Freedom of Information is good to promote transparency and accountability in the government, maintenance of the data in an easily available-yet-secure form is of utmost importance. However, information sharing discourages and reduces corruption and increases cooperation of the public in operating public functions.
This freedom is vulnerable to misuse because of people taking undue advantage of the privilege to request for information. It is thus extremely important to have stringent measures in place and exercise sound judgement and awareness when processing requests for information.
While implementation of freedom of information is a progressive step for the country, it will be so only when the data is well-maintained, efficiently shared and accurately managed.
E-governance too is an increasingly useful tool for information sharing. It aims at streamlining procedures, standardising rules and improving service delivery to citizens.
This Zoe’s Freedom of Information training course will empower you with complete information regarding freedom of information and its successful implementation.
By undertaking this Freedom of Information course, you will be able to successfully implement freedom of information in your organisation, and the country at large, thus contributing to efforts put together to increase the transparency and accountability of public sector organisations.
Further, with the experience and knowledge gained through this course, you will be able to confidently handle modern tools and techniques for secure information management, which should be readily available upon requests.
After this course, you will be able to identify any instances of misuse of this freedom and implement action plans to address these before they escalate to a level that is dangerous for the organisation.
The main objective of this Freedom of Information training course is to empower public sector professionals with—
- complete knowledge and information of practices and laws related to freedom of information
- skill and experience to handle large datasets of information
- the necessary confidence and skill to use modern tools and techniques for efficient and secure data and information management, so that it is readily available on request
- the required awareness and information to distinguish between a valid and invalid request
- knowledge of various measures to predict and overcome challenges in the entire information sharing process
- complete understanding of what forms part of freedom of information and what does not, so that a request is assessed well, thus not compromising on security and confidentiality
- the necessary experience and exposure to ensure successful and seamless implementation of freedom of information
- the overall skill and capabilities to undertake higher roles and responsibilities in the organisation, with additional knowledge gained about freedom of information
Training courses at Zoe Talent Solutions is customisable as per the audience nature and preference. If needed, there are changes made to the course content, duration, batch size, etc. The training method includes audio-visual presentations, group discussions and debates, role-plays, case studies and all other effective methods that foster two-way participation in the training course. Experiential learning is encouraged by each member of the training batch sharing his/her experience with regard to the topic being discussed.
Overall, like other Zoe Talent Solutions’ courses, this too follows the Do–Review–Learn–Apply Model.
Organisations whose employees attend this Freedom of Information training course will benefit in the following ways:
- Successful implementation of freedom of information
- Increased security and confidentiality of information stored
- Modern techniques and tools to store information in a handy-yet-safe format
- Increased transparency and accountability because of the mandatory implementation of freedom of information
- Increased trust in public sector organisations as a result of greater transparency and reduced corruption
- Regular checks and audits to ensure adherence to international standards
- Quicker processing of information sharing requests
Through this Freedom of Information training course, public sector professionals will derive the following benefits:
- Complete knowledge of information sharing, including related practices and legislations, to be able to do complete justice to this responsibility
- Enhanced skill, capability and knowledge to use modern means and techniques for information management
- Increased ability to manage information and efficiently process these on receipt of a request
- Adequate awareness to distinguish between valid/invalid and ethical/unethical requests for information
- Better strategic thinking and decision making with regard to information sharing requests
- Increased transparency and accountability, thus leading to an increase in trust of citizens in public sector organisations
- Enhanced skill-set and confidence to undertake higher and more critical roles and responsibilities, resulting in career growth and development
Who Should Attend
- Senior management members of public sector organisations for understanding freedom of information and successfully implementing the same in the organisation
- Auditors and compliance officers responsible for ensuring integrity of information as well as transparency within operations
- Legal officers and advisors to provide trusted and accurate advice on some confusing and critical legal issues relating to information sharing
- Human resource professionals responsible for inculcating a value-driven, ethical work culture to be able to make optimal use of freedom of information without the fear of anything getting leaked
- Financial advisors and others handling sensitive data and information within the organisation
- Any other non-public sector employee interested in understanding freedom of information and correctly exercising it
The Freedom of Information training course will cover the following areas related to the implementation of freedom of information:
Module 1 – Principles for Freedom of Information
- Right to public data and information
- Equality/no bias
- Requests for data in recorded form only (no creation)
Module 2 – Setting Up Effective Systems
- Guidance resources for officials
- Systems promoting compliance
- Better record management
Module 3 – Measures to Monitor Implementation
- Annual/ad hoc reporting to parliament
- Recommendations for reform
- Periodic parliamentary review of the law
Module 4 – Advantages of Freedom of Information
- Less corruption
- Respect for fundamental rights
- More transparency
- Additional security
- Efficient governance
- Better decision making
- Better growing economy
- More effective democracy
Module 5 – Challenges in Information Sharing
- Validity of requests
- Maintenance of information
- Balancing accountability and data protection
- Lack of maturity of personnel handling sensitive information
Module 6 – Features of a Valid Request
- In written
- Includes requester’s real name
- Includes a correspondence address
- Describes the information requested
Module 7 – Success Factors for Good Request Management
- Proactive data posts
- Modern IT tools
- Disciplined communication
- Disclosure standards
- Clear fee structure
Module 8 – Principles of Freedom of Information Legislation
- Guided by the principle of maximum disclosure
- Obligation to publish key information
- Promotion of open governance
- Clearly drawn exceptions
- Fair and quick request processing
- Controlled costs
- Protection of whistleblowers
- All our courses can be facilitated as Customized In-House Training course.
- Course duration is flexible and the contents can be modified to fit any number of days.
- As for Open Enrolment Courses, we offer our clients the flexibility to choose the location, date, and time and our team of experts who are spread around the globe will assist in facilitating the course.
- The course fee includes facilitation, training materials, 2 coffee breaks, buffet lunch and a Certificate of successful completion of Training.
- FREE Consultation and Coaching provided during and after the course.