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Manchester to host international freedom of information event

Manchester is to host an international conference exploring the future of transparency and access to information in the UK and worldwide

The theme of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) 2017 is trust, transparency and progressive rights.

The event is to take place at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on 20 September and will be co-hosted by UK information commissioner Elizabeth Denham, and acting Scottish information commissioner Margaret Keyse.

The ICIC is expected to attract more than 50 experts from 30 countries to look at innovation in information access, the future of transparency, freedom of information (FOI) and the media, and open data.

The keynote speakers for the event are Alasdair Roberts, director of the School of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and European ombudsman Emily O’Reilly.

Other speakers include representatives of governmental, non-governmental, information rights groups, and media organisations from Germany, Serbia, Canada, Ireland and the UK.

Denham said the digital world creates both opportunities and challenges for transparency and freedom of information. “I look forward to meeting with delegates – practitioners, journalists and academics – to discuss some of the key issues facing access to information in our changing world,” she said.

Keyse said ICIC 2017 will give anyone with an interest in FOI the opportunity to share their experience with colleagues from across the UK and beyond. 

“In more than 12 years of [Scotland’s] FOI Act, this is the first time that our two commissioners have jointly hosted a conference. It will undoubtedly be a unique event,” she said.

The Freedom of Information Act provides individuals or organisations with the right to request official information held by a public authority.

The UK FOI Act 2000 covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

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