New Local Government Transparency Code Consultation


The Local Government Transparency Code is due to be updated once again to require local authorities to proactively publish even more information. The Department for Communities and Local Government is consulting on proposals to require councils to publish:

  • more information about land and property assets they hold on the Government’s electronic Property Information Management System
  • existing procurement publication in particular forms
  • the costs of “in-house” service contracts above £500k
  • greater detail about parking charges as well as statistics about the enforcement of parking restrictions
  • information about dealings with small and medium-sized enterprises
  • all information under the Code through a single website landing page

The Code is made under Section 3 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 which gives the Secretary of State the power to issue a code of practice about the publication of information by local authorities in England (as well as, amongst others, National Park Authorities, Fire and Waste Authorities and Integrated Transport Authorities) relating to the discharge of their functions.

In February 2015 the code was re issued to require local authorities to publish information about their social housing stock.  Smaller councils, including parish councils have to comply with the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities, which was published in December 2014.

The consultation began on 12th May 2016. All responses should be received by no later than 8th July 2016.

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New IRMS Certificate in Information Governance

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Today, the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) and Act Now Training launched the IRMS Foundation Certificate in Information Governance. This represents the first fully online certificated course covering data protection, freedom of information and records management.

In difficult economic times, traditional face-to-face learning is often the first activity to fall victim of budget cuts. However the area of Information Governance is currently the subject of rapid change. After four years of negotiation, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has now been formally adopted by the European Parliament and will come into force on 25th May 2018.  The FOI Commission’s report, published in March, will lead to additional obligations for public authorities under the Freedom of Information Act. And the list goes on…

Employees and managers, both in the public and private sector, need timely and cost effective IG training.  The IRMS Foundation Certificate in Information Governance is the solution. This is an online certificated course designed for information management professionals who need to know about the basics of information rights and information management in their job role. It is an ideal starter qualification for those who wish to then progress to more advanced qualifications such as the as our Practitioner Certificate In Data Protection and the BCS FOI and DP Certificates.

Launched at the 2016 IRMS conference in Brighton, the IRMS Foundation Certificate in Information Governance is a fully online yet interactive course. There are four learning modules (Records Management, Security and Information Assurance, Data Protection and Freedom of Information). Using the latest web based technology, delegates will be able to learn from the comfort of their own desk by attending four live online webinars. In addition they will be able to tailor their learning through doing four recorded modules from a choice of six. Finally they will do a short online assessment to achieve the certificate endorsed by the excellent reputation of the IRMS.

Ibrahim Hasan, Director of Act Now Training, has developed the course with IRMS colleagues. He said:

“I am really pleased to have been involved with the development of this ground breaking new online qualification. I have used my experience in delivering Information Governance training for many years to help create a product which will hopefully meet a previously unmet demand amongst Information Management professionals.”

Meic Pierce Owen, the Chair of the IRMS said:

“I am genuinely proud to have overseen the development of this important qualification that offers all information professionals the opportunity to gain a solid grounding in contemporary Information Governance (IG). This qualification has relevance across all sectors and is equally valid for those looking to master the basics of contemporary IG as it is for those looking to progress to practitioner level study.

As a generalist practitioner who qualified from University just ahead of Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Information Security being covered in any detail on the courses, I am also delighted to put my money where my mouth is and be the first to sign up to study for this qualification- which I believe to be relevant to my CPD as well as being excellent value for money. I shall let you know how I get on…”

If you would like to know more about this exciting new course please visit us at the IRMS stand at the Brighton conference. See also our dedicated IRMS Certificate webpages or get in touch.

Be an Information Superhero and gain a Superhero Qualification!



25th May 2018: D-day For Data Protection (GDPR)


Following its formal adoption by the European Parliament in April, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was published on 4th May 2016 in the Official Journal. This means that it will be directly applicable throughout the EU (without the need for implementing legislation) from 25th May 2018.

Data Controllers now have two years to prepare for the biggest change to the EU data protection regime in 20 years.  With some breaches of the Regulation carrying fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover or 20 million Euros, everyone has to take Data Protection seriously.

 All Data Protection practitioners and lawyers need to read the Regulation and consider its impact on their organisation and clients. Act Now has a series of blog posts as well as a dedicated GDPR section on its website with articles on the different aspects of the Regulation.

Training and awareness at all levels needs to start now. We are running a series of GDPR webinars and workshops. Five out of eight of the next GDPR workshops are fully booked. We have also started running workshops on specific aspects of the Regulation e.g. Information Risk and Security.

Our team of experts is available to come to your organisation to deliver customised data protection/GDPR workshops as well as to carry out health checks and audits.

If you are looking for an up to date DP qualification with a focus on GDPR, have a look at our Data Protection Practitioner Certificate.

The next two years need to be spent wisely. Act Now can help you prepare for the Regulation in the most cost effective manner whilst also ensuring you and your organisation are fully prepared.

Last week my Dad died…


 I have spent four years at university, have gained two degrees and many years of experience of practicing and teaching law; yet the principles upon which I base my life were taught to me by a former taxi driver and mill worker from a poor farming village in India. He died last Tuesday.

My dad, Ismail Muhammad Hasan, was born in Gujarat in India in 1949. Like many a young man of his generation, he came to the UK in the 60’s having been encouraged by the UK government to come and fill positions in the transport and textile industries. Dad arrived in 1969, at the age of twenty, and went straight to work in the factories of West Yorkshire. His aim was not just to make a new life for himself but also to support his elderly parents who were struggling to make ends meet by farming and running a small village shop.

Dad failed Norman Tebbit’s Cricket Test and would not have been able to spell “British Values” let alone name one of them. Yet his personal values and character reflected everything we are proud of in this country; hard work, kindness, honesty, decency and a sense of humour.

Dad chose a life of hard work and sacrifice and encouraged us to do the same. I remember asking him why I did not receive free school meals. His answer was:

“It’s better to eat what you buy with hard earned money.”

Through out his working life Dad often held two jobs. By day he worked in a factory and by night and weekends as a taxi driver. As one of the most experienced taxi drivers in Dewsbury, he was known and loved by many drivers as witnessed by their attendance at his funeral. Even after his retirement he continued to keep in touch with colleagues and offer his advice and support (whether they requested it or not!).

It was not easy being a taxi driver in the 70’s and 80’s. So often Dad would come home with a black eye, a bruised arm or a sad face, having been deprived of his night’s earnings by those who saw taxi drivers as easy targets. Racist abuse and attacks on taxi drivers were very common in those days.

Despite these difficult conditions, Dad went about his business with a smile and concern for all. He would always greet his English customers and factory colleagues by raising his hand and addressing them as “my friend.” He was always willing to lend his emotional and practical support to anyone in need regardless of race and religion. So often he would waive the taxi fare for customers who were old or infirm.

Dad came from a family of farmers and had little formal education. Yet he was really determined to ensure that his five children educated themselves to the highest level. In my youth he would discourage me from taking a part time job, even during the holidays, saying:

“Concentrate on your studies now; you have your whole life to work.”

He borrowed money from friends and family to ensure that I completed my professional exams (the Legal Practice Course) and qualified as a solicitor.

Despite suffering straitened financial circumstances for much of his early family life, Dad was an exemplary father. He was a “modern dad” before the term had been coined. He understood the importance of quality family time. For us this meant regular trips to the Blackpool Illuminations, Scarborough, Knowsley Safari Park and even the odd impromptu picnic at Dewsbury Park complete with chapattis and cold chicken curry. Much to the envy of my friends, we were regular visitors to the curry houses of Bradford. Christmas was always a high point in the year as we looked forward to his factory Christmas party when, courtesy of generous factory bosses, the old toy dumper track would be replaced with a shiny new one.

Dad understood well that Islam is all about love, kindness and generosity to all; Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He believed in the importance of integration but at the same time holding on to his Islamic practices and beliefs. We were the first family to move away from our mainly Muslim neighborhood to one which was predominantly white and middle class. We have happily lived there for the past 30 years. Until his latest bout of ill health, the few remaining elderly English neighbours would often get a visit from Dad enquiring about their health and well being. When some of them entered residential homes or hospital he would regularly visit them. Dad lived the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

“The best amongst you is the one who is most beneficial to others.”

Dad is survived by three sons and two daughters (as well as thirteen grandchildren) all of whom are successful in their own right. All owe everything to a man who came to this country over 45 years ago with nothing. Over 500 people attended Dad’s funeral with many more visiting the family home to pay their respects. Messages of support and sympathy have been received from all over the world.

As a family, we are grateful to friends, relatives, neighbours and well-wishers for their prayers and support during a difficult few days. We would also like to thank the brilliant staff at Pindersfields Hospital Stroke Unit for the wonderful care and support Dad received during his final days.

Despite my great loss, I am happy that I shared 44 years with such a wonderful human being and that his departure from this temporary abode was exactly the way he wanted; surrounded by his family, the Muslim attestation of faith (Kalimah) on his lips and a big smile on his face!

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