Archive for News

News Flash: new Information Commissioner announced

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that their nomination to take over from Christopher Graham is Elizabeth Denham.

NEWS1Ms. Denham is currently the Information and Privacy Commissioner in British Columbia, Canada. This would be the first time that a UK Commissioner would be appointed from overseas. It won’t be the first time that we will have a female Information Commissioner – Elizabeth France was the Commissioner at the time that both the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts received Royal Assent.

The current Commissioner has welcomed the nomination:

“Elizabeth Denham is an inspired choice for Information Commissioner. As commissioner for both privacy and access to information in a similar jurisdiction, Elizabeth has shown independence of judgement and toughness of character. She will be a great leader for the ICO as it adapts to the demands of the new data protection framework – and she’ll be an effective upholder of information rights both in the UK and internationally.”

Ms. Denham will have to go through a pre-scrutiny hearing from the DCMS Select Committee, but if all goes well, the Queen will appoint the new Commissioner by Letters Patent later this year. Once this process is complete, the new Commissioner will take office in June this year. Following changes made by the Protection of Freedoms Act in 2012, Elizabeth Denham can serve a single 7 year term as Information Commissioner.

 

1 February launch for Isle of Man FOI

FOIMan highlights the arrival of freedom of information to the Isle of Man.

Tynwald Hill

Tynwald Hill, where the Isle of Man’s laws are annually proclaimed to the people in an open government tradition dating back a millennium

Monday, 1 February, is a big day for a small country in the British Isles. The Isle of Man’s Freedom of Information Act received Royal Assent last year and the first requests under it will be made on Monday. At first only the Cabinet Office and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) will have a duty to respond to them, but by January 2018 all public bodies on the Island will have to do so.

Unless you are one of the 85,000 or so who live on the Island you won’t be able to make requests – one of the mechanisms designed to prevent FOI disrupting the provision of services by a relatively small public service. But Islanders will for the first time have a statutory right to information, and existing openness provisions, including the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which was introduced in 1996, will remain in place.

Despite the fact that most of us won’t directly benefit from this new right of access, any new piece of FOI legislation is a cause for celebration, and the Isle of Man’s law contains some interesting innovations which I’ll be examining in a forthcoming article. Whilst the FOI Commission continues to scrutinise the UK Act, it is interesting to look at how other jurisdictions tackle the concerns (however reasonable or otherwise we may consider them) that the Government here has raised. The very existence of the FOI Commission has influenced debate in the Isle of Man and no doubt elsewhere.

I’ve provided some assistance to the Isle of Man Government culminating most recently in the delivery of training to Cabinet Office and DEFA staff. Earlier this week I was asked to take part in briefings to the Island’s media and you can hear Manx Radio and 3FM‘s reports, and watch an interview with me for Manx.net to get a sense of what FOI might mean for the Isle of Man.

Merry Christmas

FOIMan wishes all his readers and clients a very happy Christmas.

foiman-santaThe last few months have been a bit quiet here on the blog – basically because I’ve been busy delivering training! Good news in many ways, but I do miss blogging so I will try to bring you more blogs and content in 2016. In the meantime, I’ve added the latest issue of FOIMan News to the Resources section of the site if you don’t already subscribe.

2016 looks like being a fascinating year in the world of information rights, what with the new Data Protection Regulation becoming law and the FOI Commission due to report. Keep visiting the FOIMan site and subscribe to FOIMan News to be kept up-to-date throughout 2016.

For now, have a fabulous Christmas and all the very best wishes from me for the new year ahead.

FOIMan News: October edition out now

NEWSsidebarThe latest issue of FOIMan News is out.

The October 2015 issue of FOIMan News went out to subscribers earlier today. What a month it’s been – with the effective demise of safe harbor and the latest developments from the FOI Commission.

You can also read this month’s issue by following the link on the FOIMan News page. If you’d like to receive the next issue direct to your inbox, just follow the instructions there to subscribe.

FOIMan News! Issue 3

NEWS1The latest issue of FOIMan News is out now.

Covering the latest news on the FOI Commission, changes in government affecting FOI, records management and data protection and more. You can access the latest issue here, and if you want to read previous issues or subscribe to receive FOIMan News in your inbox next month, visit the FOIMan News page.