Paul Gibbons is the author of The Freedom of Information Officer’s Handbook, published by Facet Publishing in January 2019. Readers of this blog can order copies direct from the publisher with a 30% discount (so it will only cost you £45.45) by emailing info(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)facetpublishing.co.uk and quoting the code FOIBLOG30 (do not supply payment card or bank account details by email). The publisher’s distributor will then contact you to arrange payment and discuss despatch instructions.

The Freedom of Information Officer's Handbook, Facet PublishingFreedom of information (FOI) is now an international phenomenon with over 100 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe enacting the right to know for their citizens. Since 2005, the UK’s Freedom of Information Act has opened up thousands of public bodies to unparalleled scrutiny and prompted further moves to transparency.

Wherever the right to know is introduced, its success depends on the way it is implemented. In organisations worldwide, FOI only works because of those who oversee its operation on a day-to-day basis, promoting openness, processing requests and advising colleagues and the public. FOI is dependent on the FOI Officers.

  • The Freedom of Information Officer’s Handbook is a comprehensive guide to FOI and its management. It is designed to be an indispensable tool for FOI Officers and their colleagues. It includes:
  • a guide to the UK’s FOI Act, the right to know and the exemptions
  • clear analysis of the most important case law and its implications for the handling of FOI requests
  • pointers to the best resources to help FOI officers in their work
  • explanations of how FOI interacts with other legislation, including detailed explorations of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and how the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation impacts on FOI
  • a look at requirements to proactively publish information and the effect of copyright and re-use laws on FOI and open data
  • comparisons of the UK’s Act with FOI legislation in other jurisdictions from Scotland to South Africa
  • an exploration of the role of the FOI Officer: who they are, what they do, their career development and what makes them effective
  • suggestions on how to embed FOI within an organisation using effective procedures, technology and training
  • a stage-by-stage guide to processing requests for information.

The Freedom of Information Officers’ Handbook includes the latest developments in FOI including amendments made to the UK’s FOI Act by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the revised s.45 code of practice published by the Cabinet Office in July 2018.

Find out more about the book:

  • Facet Publishing: details of the book including reviews
  • Free Chapter: manuscript version of chapter 10 on The FOI Officer
  • FOIMan blogpost: announcing the publication of the book
  • Webinar from CILIP: recording of a webinar to promote the book
  • ODI Friday talk: YouTube video of a talk given as part of the ODI Fridays lecture series at the Open Data Institute on 27 September 2019 on the importance of FOI Officers for the success of FOI