12th Annual Freedom of Information Conference, May 2016


12th & 13th May 2016 - Central London, UK


Speakers' Presentations  (Day 1 - Thursday, 12th May 2016)


On the first day, Delegates hear from the leading experts on data freedom of information. Each talk will be approximately 30 minutes, and there will be plenty of opportunity for networking during the day.


Timings for the Speakers' Presentations Day

Registration: 9.00am
Conference starts: 9.30am
Conference ends: 5.00pm
Wine & Canapés Reception: 5.00pm


Christopher Knight, 11KBW




Conference Chair

Christopher Knight - 11KBW


Keynote Session


Steve Wood - Information Commissioner's Office




Jackie Gray, Bond DickinsonThe FOI Commission: the Next Chapter for FOI

Jackie Gray, Managing Associate at Bond Dickinson

Following ten years of FOI and little legislative change, the review by the Independent FOI Commission was expected to define the next chapter in the development of freedom of information law. Following the publication of the Commission's report in March 2016, the conclusion is that FOI is generally working well and the Government's initial response appears to rule out legislative change.  This session provides an overview of the key recommendations made by the Commission and looks at the practical implications for FOI practitioners on how those may be implemented in the future.

Matt Burgess Journalist Lazy Journalism?

Matt Burgess, Journalist and Author

Evidence submitted to the Independent Commission on FOI suggested that journalists were lazy for using the Act to lever information from public authorities. This talk looks at the submissions to the Commission that attacked journalists and clarifies some of the myths about how journalists use the legislation. Matt also discusses suggestions that were made by journalists, whether they are realistic, and what could be done without further legislation to bring about effective change.

Damien Welfare, Cornerstone Barristers Personal Data and Information Requests

Damien Welfare, Barrister at Cornerstone Barristers

Information Officers must frequently deal with the definition of 'personal data' when responding to FOI/EIR requests. Following the decision in Edem, the scope has grown beyond the narrow interpretation in Durant, as the ICO has long advised. At the same time, the tensions between demands for transparency, and the increasing concern to protect individuals' privacy, only increase. This session considers the exemption in the context of the latest cases and guidance, as well as the changes that the new Data Protection Regulation will bring.

Jon Baines, Natwork Rail Unjustified, Inappropriate or Improper – When is an Information Request Vexatious or Manifestly Unreasonable?

Jon Baines, FOI Manager at Network Rail

There have been several significant developments in the case law and ICO approach regarding section 14 of FOIA and regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIRs. This session considers those changes as well as how the proper use of the provisions helps both to protect the public purse and counter criticism of the FOI regime.


Estelle Dehon, Cornerstone BarristersDivining the Public Interest

Estelle Dehon, Barrister, Cornerstone Barristers

Practitioners are often confronted with difficult questions about identifying the public interest in favour of disclosure, including how the public interest can be aggregated, when and whether new elements can be taken into account as a request progresses through the appeal stages, and at what point in time the public interest is to be ascertained. This session considers these issues and provides practical guidance on the relevant case law.


zoe-gannonThe Request and the Response: What’s New?

Zoe Gannon, Barrister at 11KBW

Recent judgments in Innes v Information Commissioner, IPSA v ICO and Ghafoor v Information Commissioner cast new light on the technical and often challenging question of what amounts to a valid request and how a public authority should respond. This talk looks at the key aspects of a valid request (including whether a request on Twitter will ever be valid), what amounts to “information” (including when a copy will be sufficient), and
how to respond to a request for communication by a particular means.


Liz Fitzsimons, EvershedsFOI and EIR in a New European Landscape

Liz Fitzsimons, Legal Director at Eversheds LLP

The UK’s relationship with the EU is under scrutiny at the same time as changes driven by European legislation and cases continue to impact our approach to information rights in the UK. With the impending 2016 referendum on ‘Brexit’, this session explores the potential impact of a vote to leave the EU on the UK’s FOI and EIR legislation and practices.


eCase software sponsors the FOI Conference



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Conference Brochure


12th Annual Freedom of Information Conference Brochure


View PDF brochure here >



This event is sponsored by


eCase Software

Trinogy Systems




With thanks to



Bond Dickinson sponsors this year's FOI Conference














Karen Tolson
Bank of England

“I enjoyed the diversity of the presentations. Well balanced and managed.”
Roger Petty
Land Registry

“All of the presentations were excellent and considered fascinating areas”
Sam Potter
University of Nottingham

“A must for all working in FOI”
Gloria Akinyemi
King’s College Hospital

“Very useful and informative as usual”
Mark Stevens
Civil Aviation Authority

“Excellent mix of subjects and presentations.”
Kellene Green

"A very interesting and varied day with a good range of speakers. As a first time attendee it has certainly whet my appetite for future conferences."
Karen Harris
Information Commissioners Office

"Another extremely well put together and varied content event"
Nicky Ross

"Good mix of sessions. Today has been very useful and informative"
Anna Canning

"A must for all FOI practitioners to support their professional learning."
Mark Scallan
Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust

“Very good”
Jenesha Simpson
Attorney General’s Chambers (Cayman Islands)

“Thank you for a very worthwhile conference”
Mark Fletcher
Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform

"Good to have a broad subject range. Very useful"
Dominic Mallinder
Northwest London CSU

“The breadth and knowledge of the speakers was impressive”
Audrey Turnbull

“A very useful insight into current thinking with helpful examples.”
Judith Downing
Hampshire County Council


“Very informative and enlightening”
Louise Smith
Financial Ombudsman Service

“I liked the contributions from the practitioners.”
Virginia Hawkins
National Assembly for Wales

“An extremely well organised and informative event!”
James Newman
Transport for London

“An excellent, well-balanced, thought-provoking conference, which really helps to keep up to date”
Denise Francis
Science & Technologies Facilities Council

"All speakers provided helpful insights into FOIA pitfalls"
Simon Cosgrove
Maclay Murray & Spens

“The topics were useful and the speakers were good. This conference could not be improved.”
Kayi Emadi


“Very useful and informative day”
Caroline Lynch
Royal Berkshire NHS FT


“Very enjoyable and helpful. The speakers were obviously experts in the subjects.”
Emma Gedge
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service


"Very useful practical tips"
Amy Ogborne
Bath & NE Somerset Council


“I liked the range of issues covered and the use of examples”
Leigh Hopkins
Health Protection Agency


“Excellent speakers – really useful”
Wendy Raymond
Medical Research Council