Grade: Band C
Salary: £20,115 to £27,339. The successful candidate will start on the first incremental point
Closing Date: 28th June 2019
About the Role:
West Midlands Police is committed to openness and transparency and the Corporate Communications Department is looking for an enthusiastic Information Officer to join its Freedom of Information Unit.
Applications are invited from highly motivated individuals for the role of Freedom of Information Disclosure Officer in the Corporate Communications Department.
Reporting to the Freedom of Information Manager, applicants will need excellent verbal, written and communication skills and experience of dealing with information requests, providing data and advice for members of the public and organisations in a legislative environment.
Duties will include managing Freedom of Information requests throughout their lifecycle, interrogating Force systems to obtain information or liaising with relevant departments as necessary, ensuring the accuracy and relevancy of data retrieved before making disclosure. The ability to negotiate with requesters and internal data suppliers to satisfy the request in as efficient manner as possible is a key component of the job.
The successful candidate should have experience of managing and manipulating data using relevant software, recognising and redacting potentially harmful information, undertaking public interest tests and have proven written and communication skills. Experience of managing a publication scheme would be preferable.
The role is permanent full time (Monday to Friday)
To receive and process requests for information from external customers relating to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
To ensure that all replies are relevant and comply with the FOI Act, legislative time frames, and The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) guidelines.
To proactively publish information on the West Midlands Police website, ensuring that the publication scheme complies with the relevant legislation and guidelines.
To act as a contact point and to provide legislative advice for members of the public, outside organisations, police officers and police staff on the work of the Freedom of Information Unit.
To manage FOI requests throughout their lifecycle. To research, retrieve and prepare information for disclosure and to ensure any response is in accordance with the Act, and made within the statutory deadlines imposed by the legislation.
To interrogate Force systems to obtain information or liaise with relevant departments accordingly, ensuring the accuracy and relevancy of the data located before compiling a response.
To negotiate with requesters and internal data suppliers to satisfy the request in as efficient manner as possible, ensuring as full a disclosure as possible within legal constraints.
To identify any harm in the release of data, applying legal exemptions, making clear, justifiable decisions and maintaining appropriate documentation.
To identify, edit and upload FOI responses onto the Force website and to ensure the Force Publication Scheme is maintained in line with legislation.
To evaluate and progress complex requests to the Freedom of Information Manager for advice or escalation where appropriate.
To assist with the training of new staff as required and to undertake any training required to fulfil their own role and to ensure that they keep updated with any changes in legislation, policies and procedures as they relate to the unit. To share such training and information as required.
To assist with provision of management information and any administrative and personnel tasks as required.
To ensure work is carried out to agreed standards and timeframes and is recorded on the appropriate systems for audit purposes and in accordance with the requirements of MOPI directions.
To carry out other duties commensurate with the purpose and grading of the post.
Qualifications and Experience:
A level/equivalent qualification or prove-able relevant experience
Must be able to demonstrate the ability to understand, interpret, apply and advise on relevant legislation accordingly.
High standard of written and verbal English to enable effective communication.
Proven experience of ability to research and analyse information in order to make decisions concerning information access and disclosure.
Be able to provide concise and accurate written reports, present data and make decisions based on the information found.
Must be able to work independently and as part of a team.
Good interpersonal skills, including negotiating skills.
Able to learn and use multiple computer systems.
Good organisational skills and ability to prioritise work.
Experience of working in a confidential environment demonstrating a high level of personal integrity and discretion when dealing with confidential matters.
Experience of working and engaging with a variety of staff.
Ability to work to tight deadlines and changing priorities.
Good working knowledge of Freedom of Information legislation
Proven experience of working in an office environment and commitment to Respect and Diversity in all dealings with internal and external contacts and members of the public
After the appropriate training given, must be able to use all the systems required within the department.
Be able to produce written replies to enquiries in comprehensive English in both letter and report format.
Be able to communicate to verbal enquiries by telephone or other appropriate system
Be able to understand complex information and evaluate any risk related to the release of that information into the public domain.
To give advice, guidance or training to other disclosure officers as required.
The post holder is directly responsible to the Freedom of Information Manager, but will also be expected to work without supervision.
Contacts outside own section:
Contacts with members of the public, Police employees of various ranks and from other forces, The NPCC FOI Central Referral Unit, The Office of the Information Commissioner, West Midlands Office of the PCC, Government Departments including the Home Office, Authorised Agencies, Professional Bodies and organisations, Solicitors, Insurance companies and their agents.
To meet operational needs the post holder may be required to vary their normal working hours i.e working over the weekends and during Bank, Public or other holiday. If such working is necessary, compensation will be made under the appropriate local or national agreement.