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.

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Useful Course Information

Please note that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic all our courses will now be held virtually (or otherwise agreed). All of our courses are tutor-led by experienced data protection professionals.

You will need access to Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) 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 will be sent (via email) a link to the Microsoft Team 2 – 3 weeks prior to the course. Please ensure that you are able to access this before the course commences.

All of our courses have a maximum of 12 delegates. 

This BCS Course Includes:

  • 12-month BCS Professional membership.
  • Sample papers to help you revise.
  • BCS exam (to be taken when convenient to you). 
  • Support for 1-month post-course on data protection related matters. 
  • Opportunity to network with other data protection professionals.
Check out our BCS course schedule to see the other courses we have lined up. We also have other courses in Freedom of Information, if this is something you’d like to know more about.

Why should I attend?

Read our article for more of the benefits from attending our course.

BCS Exam Information

The DPAS Training Manager will set you up on the dedicated BCS portal which is where you will book your exam. To access this you will be sent a one time link to the portal to book your exam.

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%). 

If you have a disability or English is not your foreign language you may be entitled to extra time, further information can be found here. 

Learning Outcomes

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 the 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.

Who Is The Course 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.

  • Information Managers
  • FOI Practitioners
  • Information Governance leads
  • Data Protection Officers
  • Solicitors advising on information law issues
  • Press Officers
  • Those who have responsibility for managing and responding to requests for information from the public.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are there any entry requirements to the course?
    • There are no mandatory requirements for candidates to be able to undertake this certificate qualification, although candidates will need a good standard of written English. It will be advantageous for candidates to have some prior understanding of freedom of information law, legal training, or experience of, or an aptitude for, applying the law.
  • What comes next after the Practitioner Course in Data Protection?
    • If you are acting as a Data Protection Officer, we would also recommend you do our 2-day CPD accredited ‘The Effective DPO’ course.
  • How long does the course take?
    • Our course runs for 5 days (9 am-4.30 pm)
  • Can I just sit the exam rather than do the course?
    • We can certainly do this for you, just get in touch with us at info@dataprivacyadvisory.com
Dave Cousens
Rutland County Council
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I have been on other courses when there has been far too much emphasis spent on teaching the DPA Act, GDPR and legislation etc, which I fully understand the importance of. Today the correct amount of time was spent on covering this without losing the interest of the trainee in the 1st hour! When I come on these courses I want to learn the practical aspects so I can put them into practice when back in the office. Nat presented these elements with an obvious expert authority and a relaxed good humoured style allowing me to benefit in her knowledge.
Stacy Carter
South Kesteven District Council
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I enjoyed the freedom to discuss specific cases and areas of difficulty and to be able to learn from the other delegates experiences. The trainer was knowledgeable, confident and clear in the delivery of the course, it was clear she knows the subject matter and it felt very authentic. This is the first virtual training I have attended and I was unsure how I would find it, but it worked very well, the group size was very good and I was able to stay engaged.
Carla Jones
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The content and pace of the course was great and also allowed for side group discussions, going down the rabbit hole so to speak. The trainer was knowledgeable and personable. I would be confident that a course delivered by him would meet it's objectives. The inclusion of the slide pack was a welcome addition to most course as it allows to write freehand notes that can then be linked back to the discussion slide. I have found the inclusion of the slide pack with all the DPAS courses I have attended an excellent addition as I am an avid note taker and can often miss the slide content when writing. This was really helpful when I attended the Data Protection Practitioner course in November.

Free Templates

If you have completed the course and would like access to the free templates you can request them from us directly.

If you have forgotten the password, get in touch with us via the contact form below.

Request your Free Templates