The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) today published a set of top tips on freedom of information for communications professionals working in public authorities.
The top tips, written by the ICO’s director of corporate affairs Susan Fox, a CIPR Chartered Practitioner, are designed to help communications professionals consider freedom of information as part of their communications strategy.
The tips address the need for communicators to keep on top of requests coming in to their organisation to see if it is worth making the most requested information readily available online. Offering help and advice to journalists making freedom of information requests is also covered.
Written for one of CIPR’s first charterships, Susan Fox’s tips were put together after speaking to communications professionals in a range of public authorities about how freedom of information has changed the way organisations approach PR.
The need for industry-focused top tips is also backed up by the ICO’s latest annual survey results which found that almost 80% of individuals surveyed agreed that being able to access information held by authorities increases public confidence in them. The figures also showed that 75% of individuals and 70% of public authorities surveyed agreed that the Freedom of Information Act increases trust in public authorities.
Susan Fox said:
“Communications professionals play a key role in an organisation’s reputation management and transparency so it is vital that they have a good grasp of how to manage freedom of information issues. The government’s emphasis on transparency and its recent proposals on extending the scope of bodies covered under the Freedom of Information Act mean that the need to get it right has never carried more weight. The tips we’ve published today should serve as a useful checklist to help communications professionals ensure that freedom of information contributes to a good corporate reputation.”