BCS Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information

The industry's essential Freedom of Information training course. Understand the FOI act and its implications - and apply it to your everyday work.

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Description

The BCS Certificate in Freedom of Information provides a qualification that demonstrates a level of application and knowledge obtained by those responsible for dealing with freedom of information within an organisation. The BCS Certificate in Freedom of Information is aligned to SFIA plus as its framework.

Those experienced in freedom of information issues, as well as those new to the subject, require adequate training in order that their organisations are confident legal compliance is continually addressed.

It is necessary to identify issues requiring expert freedom of information advice in good time in order that organisational reputation and credibility is enhanced through relevant information management policies and procedures.

Course Content

Part 1: Legislation, codes of practice, and ethics, including:

  • Public authorities covered by Freedom of Information, and those not
  • Governance structure and the importance of the roles
  • FOIA Codes of practice
  • The difference between ethics and legislation

Part 2: The Scope and Principles of the Freedom of Information Act

  • The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Principles of FOIA legislation
  • Schedule 1, amendments, and applications
  • FOIA and the Private Sector

Part 3: Obligations and Responsibilities

  • Good practice for record management
  • Access rights and codes of practice
  • Fees, regulations, and other costs associated with a request

Part 4: Disclosure, Non-disclosure, and exemptions

  • Types of exemptions
  • Prejudice, public interest, and legitimate tests
  • Applying exemptions

Part 5: Environmental Information and Personal Data

  • Environmental Information Regulations, relevancy, and difference from FOIA
  • Principles and lawful decisions with regard to the Data Protection Act

Part 6: Enforcement and Appeals

  • Enforcement powers
  • Offences related to information disclosure
  • The appeals process

You can download the syllabus on the BCS website by clicking here: infosec-freedom-information-syllabus.pdf (bcs.org)

What's Included:

  • 12-month BCS Professional membership.
  • Printed course materials including sample papers.
  • BCS exam (to be taken when convenient to you). 
  • Support for 1-month post-course on data protection related matters.
  • Over 40 useful tools, templates, audits, policies and more for you to use within your organisation. 
  • Sample papers to help you revise.
  • An innovative risk model designed for you to assess data protection risks in your organisation.
  • Opportunity to network with other data protection professionals.

Course Format

The course takes 5 days to complete and will be held virtually.  

You will need access to Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) and OneDrive throughout the course. All courses will commence at 9 am and will finish at 4.30 pm. Breaks will be scheduled throughout the day. If you need to attend a meeting during the day, please discuss this with the trainer so they can tie this into allocated breaks. 

You can take your exam at any time that suits you, there is no time limit on when you sit the exam. However, you will need to ensure that you are following the updated syllabus if you take it 6 months after the course.

The exam itself is held via remote proctor (essentially, someone watches you complete the exam). You can do this at any location convenient to you. You will use your own device for the exam. The exam is a 90 minute closed book exam. The pass rate is 26/40 (65%). 

Our course is great for

This qualification is primarily aimed at those who are managing or responding to requests for information from the public or working in this subject area, for instance Information Managers.

This qualification is likely to be of particular benefit to those working in the following areas:

  • Solicitors advising on Information Law issues
  • Data Protection Officers
  • FOI Practitioners
  • Information Governance Leads
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Information Governance, risk and compliance
  • Data Management
  • Project Management
  • Directors/Senior Managers with Data Protection responsibilities
  • Legal and procurement

It is also relevant to private sector organisations that are either affected directly by freedom of information and environmental information legislation or indirectly by their contractual relationship with a public authority.

Purpose of the Training

The syllabus places compliance with the Act in the context of good information practices within the organisation. On attaining the Certificate, award holders will: 

  • Know how specific exemptions might apply to requests for information including the application of the public interest test 
  • Have a clear and balanced approach to applying legal judgements in accordance with the law and relevant case law.  
  • Understand implementation of internal management procedures to support freedom of information and environmental information legislation.  
  • Hold knowledge of the definition of the Act and how it interacts with related legislation, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, UK-GDPR, EU-GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. 
  • Know how to develop internal procedures to support your authority’s compliance with the FOI Act, including those relating to internal reviews. 
  • How to apply the legislation in a practical setting relevant to your work.  
  • How to prepare clear advice to colleagues as well as the public.