Re-use and FOI

Keen-eyed observers of this Group may have noticed changes to the event description of the 10th Annual FOI Conference organised by PDP in London, May 15-16. Previously described as an event where TNA is not speaking, it is now described as one where we are speaking! I am stepping in to join Jackie Gray in presenting a workshop on the amendments to the Re-use Directive on the second afternoon of the conference. I hope to be around for most of the day on the 16th, so would be happy to link up with any Group members who are attending and wish to discuss the Directive there.

For FOI practitioners in any public sector bodies that are covered by the amended Directive, the area of re-use is one they will need to become familiar with. Of course, TNA will be issuing guidance as we approach the implementation date next year, but here are some headlines to think about...

  • With re-use becoming mandatory for accessible records, it will need to become a part of the FOI handling process - if you are releasing information in response to a FOIA request, what licensing terms are you going to apply to it? (HINT the Open Government Licence - http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/uk-gov-licensing-framework.htm - will nearly always be the best answer, unless you really, really, really need to apply conditions on re-use or recover costs - and even then you should maybe think again);
  • The amended Directive only applies to information which is held and supplied as part of your organisation's public task. Do you know what your public task is? Does anyone in your organisation really, really know? (HINT - there is guidance available on defining your public task http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/ifts/public-task.htm);
  • The amended Directive does not apply to information where a 3rd party owns relevant IP rights in the document being provided. Do you know who owns the IP in the information you are about to provide in response to a FOIA request? (Sorry, no hints here, you'll need to tackle this yourself!).

 

Hope to see some of you at the Conference, where these and other areas of the amended Re-use Directive will be explored and, hopefully, explained!

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