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Kevin Dunion holding miniature orange filing cabinetFreedom of Information roadshow heads to Inverness

17 November 2010

 

On Monday 6 December voluntary organisations, campaign groups and members of the public from across the Highlands are being invited to attend a roadshow in Inverness to find out how freedom of information (FOI) could help to make a difference to their own activity. The free event, which is being organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and the Scottish Information Commissioner, will tell people how they can best use the FOI 'right to information', while also providing real-life examples where it has been successfully been used in the past - whether it be to help prevent the closure of a service, to campaign for a new service, or uncover the reasoning behind a funding decision.

The Inverness event comes in the wake of research which found that people from the Highlands and Islands were less likely to have used their FOI rights than others around Scotland, with only 4% of respondents to a 2009 survey reporting that they had previously made an FOI request, compared to 9% nationally. December's roadshow will ensure that local people have the skills they need to use FOI effectively, while also highlighting the positive use of FOI by local voluntary organisations and campaigners. Speakers at the event will include David Dignan of Roy Bridge Community Council, whose own use of FOI helped to prevent the closure of Roy Bridge School in Lochaber.

Announcing the event, Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion - who is responsible for enforcing FOI in Scotland - said:

"Over the last few years FOI has helped people like David campaign successfully on a whole range of issues, from services for the disabled to school closures to hospital cleanliness. The beauty of FOI is that it is so simple to use: anyone can make a request - all you have to do is write to the authority. This workshop will give voluntary organisations and campaigners in the Highlands the skills to get the most out of their FOI requests. FOI can be an extremely important resource for people and, as we'll hear at this event, can sometimes even make the difference between the success or failure of a campaign."

The free workshop will take place between 1pm and 3pm on Monday 6 December at the SCVO's offices in Fairways Business Park, Inverness.

The workshop will be followed by the opportunity to book a one-to-one advice session with the Commissioner's staff, to discuss any issue relating to FOI use. The Commissioner's staff will be available from 15:30 to 19:00 on Monday 6 December, and any interested person is invited to call to book a 20-minute session.

To book a place on the workshop, or to arrange a one-to-one session, contact the SCVO's training team on 0131 474 8019, or email training@scvo.org.uk.

 

 

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