There is a wealth of examples of good practice out there that you can learn from, and you may have your own ideas to share with others.
Some sectors have discussion fora where ideas are discussed and questions shared. Some are online e.g. the JISCMail Freedom of Information list for the further and higher education sector. Others meet face to face e.g. the NHS FOI Practitioners forum meets quarterly. Does your sector have a forum you can tap into? If you use social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn, look for opportunities to link up with other practitioners and share.
Copies of reports from past assessment visits contain examples of good practice which assessors want to draw attention to - see Practice assessment - reporting and action. If you see something you think might work for you, why not contact that authority or call the Assessment Team to discuss?
The Commissioner's Practice Assessment Team has spent several years gathering evidence of practice issues across Scotland. They have started to identify themes of good practice, based on their experience. The team would be happy to discuss your practice issues, suggest ideas for solutions, and point you in the direction of other authorities who perform well in your area of concern. Contact Alistair Rennie or Elaine Moffat on 01334 464610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Areas of best practice which the Assessment Team identified so far include:
Under section 44(1) of the FOI Act, the Commissioner can issue a Practice Recommendation where a public authority does not conform to the various codes of practice issued under the FOI legislation. (See Practice Recommendations for more.)
On 6 July 2010 the Commissioner issued his first Practice Recommendation to Scottish Borders Council, following an assessment visit to the Council which found that it was failing to conform to the codes on matters of training, meeting deadlines, monitoring requests and in the content of refusal notices.
As a result of the actions set out in the Practice Recommendation, however, the Council went on to dramatically improve its performance in complying with FOI requests. Following assessment, for example, the rate of compliance with the FOI Act's 20 working day response timescale increased to 99.7%, from 71% in 2009.