Information Law Webinar Series: What you need to know about Freedom of Information throughout the UK

The first returning session of our latest Information Law Webinar series will discuss Freedom of information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations and its implications on the public sector and private companies.

With a renewed focus and public interest in transparency for decision-making and public spending, Freedom of information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests are a frequently used route to gain access to information held by public authorities. Pubic bodies have been subject to these information access regimes for a number of years, but with an increase in outsourcing and public-private partnerships it is important that organisations interacting with public bodies are aware of FOI, understand how it may impact on them and be prepared to give evidence based responses, if consulted by public authorities.

For companies that operate between Scotland and the rest of the UK, differences in the legislation, and the approach of the regulators is important. Some private sector companies are subject to the EIR. The Information Commissioner’s Office has recently indicated that the law should be changed to broaden the scope of organisations subject to information transparency; and recent ICO decisions demonstrate its interpretation of the current legislation, which may bring other companies within its remit. In addition, GDPR presents greater risks for public authorities responding to requests when personal data is included, and the COVID-19 pandemic has also put pressure on response times. Previously sympathetic regulators have begun to expect more rigid adherence to timescales now we are in the ‘new normal’.

With this in mind, we are delighted to invite you to the first returning session of our latest Information Law Webinar series on Freedom of Information, where Michele Voznick and Anna Flanagan will discuss the following:

  • The approach of FOI/ EIR regulation throughout the UK.
  • The definition of "public authority" under FOI and EIR.
  • How information may be ‘held’ by public authority and private companies.
  • Applying the exemptions to withhold commercial information and personal data.

Event date

13:00 GMT-14:00 GMT



Anna Flanagan

Senior Associate at Pinsent Masons