The Examination Board for the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information ("PC.foi") is comprised of the following FOI experts:



PDP Training | Damien Welfare - Barrister - Cornerstone Barristers

Damien Welfare
Cornerstone Barristers


Damien Welfare came to the Bar in 2001 after a career in Local Government. He specialises in freedom of information, data protection and the Environmental Information Regulations.

He appears in the Information Tribunal, advises on all aspects of information law, and speaks and writes regularly on information law matters.

He is a member of the Editorial Board of Freedom of Information Journal.


Paul Gibbons

Paul Gibbons
FOIMan (Blogger)



Paul Gibbons is best known for his FOIMan blog, and is also a consultant and trainer specialising in information rights. Paul is the author of The Freedom of Information Officer’s Handbook.

Paul started his career as an archivist and records manager, holding the post of Parliamentary Records Manager at one stage. In 2003 he moved to the Greater London Authority to set up its FOI procedures and provide advice on the new law to the Mayor of London and colleagues. Since then he has worked in a hospital trust and in higher education in information governance roles. He has also provided advice to the government of the Isle of Man on the implementation of their new FOI law.

Paul has a Masters in Law (with distinction) in Information Rights, Law and Practice along with a Masters in Archives Administration. He is special contributor to Freedom of Information Journal


Jonathan Baines Buckinghamshire County Council

Jonathan Baines
FOI Compliance &
Appeals Manager
Network Rail


Jonathan Baines is FOI Compliance & Appeals Manager at Network Rail.  He advises on data protection, freedom of information and privacy and surveillance matters. Jonathan holds a Master of Laws qualification in Information Rights Law and Practice from Northumbria University and gives talks and training on the subject to both internal and external clients.

Jonathan was recently elected as Chairman of NADPO (National Association of Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officers).

He is also a Special Advisor for Freedom of Information Journal.



Patricia Barratt Lawyer Clifford Chance

Patricia Barratt
Clifford Chance


Patricia Barratt has been a lawyer with Clifford Chance since 1991. She has extensive experience of advising on all aspects of parliamentary and public policy related work with particular expertise in parliamentary procedure, freedom of information and standards of conduct in public life, including advice on corruption and political donations.

She travels regularly to Brussels for meetings of the European Services Forum Policy Committee, a pan-European organisation representing the interests of the services industry. She speaks frequently on freedom of information, and is a contributing author of the Law Society’s Freedom of Information Handbook, as well as co-author of the Clifford Chance guide to the Freedom of Information Act.

Patricia is a Member of the Editorial Board for Freedom of Information Journal.



Estelle Dehon, Cornerstone Barristers

Estelle Dehon
Cornerstone Barristers



Estelle Dehonis a public law barrister practising at Cornerstone Barristers. She works across a wide range of areas, including information law and environmental law. She is a member of the European Commission’s Multistakeholder Expert Group on the GDPR, which assists the Commission in dealing with potential challenges in implementing the GDPR across Europe. Estelle’s information law practice entails providing advice and advocacy in matters concerning data protection and the GDPR, freedom of information and environmental information. She has experience of appearing before the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) and of pursuing and resisting damages claims in the High Court alleging breaches of the Data Protection Act.

Estelle is a contributor to Coppel’s “Information Rights” (4th edn), having co-authored the chapter on “The Influence of the European Convention on Human Rights".




Liz Fitzsimons, Eversheds Sutherland

Liz Fitzsimons
Senior Associate
Eversheds Sutherland


Liz Fitzsimons is a Partner at Eversheds Sutherland specialising in data protection and freedom of information. She works for a wide range of clients, both public and private sector, including in the education, health, transport, energy and government arenas. Liz has experience in helping clients with complex and sensitive information requests, internal appeals, defending complaints to the ICO and working with the Information Tribunal. She has advised on publication schemes, FOI planning and strategy, contractual provisions and negotiations, confidentiality arrangements and related data rooms, policies and procedures. Liz also advises on EIR issues.




PDP Training | Hazel Grant - Partner - Bristows

Hazel Grant


Hazel Grant is a Partner at Bristows, specialising in public procurements, complex information technology projects and information law. Hazel advises on data protection compliance, government data sharing projects, responses to FOI requests and handling appeals to decision notices. Hazel is an editor of the Encyclopedia of Data Protection and Privacy, and a contributing editor for the Encyclopedia of Information Technology Law. She has worked with central government departments and other public bodies such as the DCA, DWP, Ofwat, Defra, VOSA and special health authorities. Hazel is a member of the Editorial Board of Freedom of Information Journal.




Robin Hopkins




Robin Hopkins is a Barrister at 11KBW in London. A major part of Robin’s practice involves advisory and litigation work on freedom of information, data protection and environmental information matters. He regularly appears in the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals on issues ranging from national security to commercial confidentiality, often against or alongside silks or senior juniors.

Robin’s notable recent cases include Bruton v IC and Duchy of Cornwall (Duchy of Cornwall a public authority for EIR purposes), Marriott v IC and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (police information on the “Jack the Ripper” case), All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition v IC and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK’s role in rendition to Guantanamo Bay) and Chichester District Council v IC and Friel (local authority planning decisions and commercial confidentiality).

Together with Tim Pitt-Payne QC and Anya Proops, Robin edits the Information Law Reports. He also regularly advises public and private sector parties on data protection duties and on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Robin is a Member of the Editorial Board of Freedom of Information Journal.


PDP Training | James Leaton Gray - BBC

James Leaton Gray
Head of Policy
& Compliance

James Leaton Gray heads the BBC’s Information Policy and Compliance Department. He oversees the operation of the Corporation’s systems for compliance with the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts. His team are involved in many high profile cases in this rapidly evolving area of the law.

James has been working in broadcasting, mainly for the BBC, for over 30 years. Before joining the Strategy Division he was a programme maker and spent much of his time in political journalism. He edited many of the BBC’s Political and Parliamentary programmes including Today/Yesterday in Parliament, The Week in Westminster, Westminster Live, and the documentary series Scrutiny. James is a member of the Royal Television Society and the Radio Academy.


PDP Training | Jackie Gray - Director - Dickinson Dees

Jackie Gray
Dickinson Dees

Jackie Gray  is a Director in the Public Services Team at Dickinson Dees. She has acted on a variety of PPP/PFI Projects and advised on a wide range of public sector commercial work, with particular expertise in BSF, IT and outsourcing.

Jackie specialises in Freedom of Information and Data Protection for Public Sector clients but advises on all aspects of information governance in the Public Sector.

Jackie has worked with public authorities on the implementation of FOI and advises on the application of exemptions in relation to specific requests, handling reviews and appeals and dealing with information requests and confidentiality issues in public procurements. She also advises on a wide range of data protection issues including data sharing arrangements, subject access requests, dealing with data security issues and advising on compliance programmes.

She regularly provides client training on FOI and DPA and speaks at conferences and presents seminars on information law issues. Jackie has had a number of articles published and is an Editorial Board member of the Freedom of Information Journal.


PDP Training | Hazel Moffat - Partner - DLA Piper

Hazel Moffat
DLA Piper

Hazel Moffat is a Partner at DLA Piper and is a key member of the firm’s Information Law Group. She specialises particularly in freedom of information, data protection, data sharing and privacy. Hazel has worked with both public and private sector clients on all aspects of information law including central government departments on major data sharing projects, global financial institutions, parliamentary authorities and the UK Information Commissioner.

Hazel is a Member of the Examination Board for the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information and is a Member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Accreditation Panel for FOI and data protection.

Hazel is a member of the Editorial Board of Freedom of Information Journal


Lynn Wyeth

Lynn Wyeth
Head of Information
Leicester City Council

Lynn Wyeth is the Head of Information Governance and Risk at Leicester City Council. Having previously worked as an MP and MEP’s political assistant, Lynn moved to her local council where she now oversees the Council’s Information Governance agenda including data protection, Freedom of Information, information sharing, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, transparency and CCTV. Lynn is the author of two books, ‘A Practical Guide to Handling Freedom of Information Requests’ and ‘Data Protection: Compliance in Practice’. She also contributed a chapter to the book 'Freedom Fighters or Lazy Journalism: Critical reflections on freedom of information' edited by John Mair and Tom Felle. She previously advised the Government of Jersey on the implementation of Freedom of Information legislation prior to its launch on the island. She is an Editorial Board Member and Contributor to Freedom of Information Journal, and currently undertaking a PhD on Freedom of Information and the media/pressure groups in local government, and any unintended consequences



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"The course content was informative and well presented, with very knowledgeable trainers. The exam was challenging, so I feel a real sense of achievement in having gained this qualification."
Caroline Chalk
Head External Information Services
Civil Aviation Authority


"I found the course to be thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening in a number of areas. I have managed to apply the knowledge gained through the course already in my day to day role."
Brendan Byrne
Senior Managing Consultant Security & Privacy


"The qualification strikes the right balance of interpreting important and complicated legislation and imparting this to students with a well structured course, underpinned with simple to understand information and then a vigorous examination. Organisations should feel assured by any of its staff undertaking and passing this qualification that their information is being managed and shared securely."
Kim Bellis
Records Service Manager
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust


“I am very pleased to have followed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection course and passed the examination. This will be of great benefit to my employer, as it demonstrates the value we place on this complex area of ethics and compliance.”
Alan White
Data Protection Manager
Pitney Bowes


"The course which was delivered by experts in the field of Privacy and Data Protection Law was very enjoyable and engaging. The examination was based on applying legislation and knowledge to practical cases rather than a test of how much information you could remember. I am delighted that I passed the exam and to have a qualification that is very much respected, as well as letters after my name! I recommend both the course and the examination for anyone wanting to increase their knowledge of Data Protection Law."
Bleneta Carr
Pearson Education


"I am delighted to have achieved this qualification. The Certificate sets a recognised standard for data protection professionals and it has provided me with the knowledge and confidence of data protection requirements, especially in light of the impending new Regulation."
Joanne Maurizi
Assistant Manager


"Attaining the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection evidences that I have the in-depth knowledge and understanding of data protection issues required to ensure our firm remains compliant with the requirements of the legislation. The intensive 5 day course delivered by data protection experts was extremely informative, and provided me with essential technical background and practical work based scenarios before undertaking the exam."
Helen Hassen
Quality & Investigations Manager
Brewin Dolphin


"Synectics Solutions recognises that compliance with data protection regulation is critical to all organisations that handle personal information. It has never had a greater focus than at the present time. Having looked at the training and professional qualifications available, we concluded that the PDP certification was the most appropriate for our business. The course was delivered by legal experts in the field. They were able to bring the events to life with real-life scenarios and case studies."
Steve Sands
Head of Security
Synectics Solutions


"This qualification is the foundation for supporting my colleagues across the diverse business areas."
Linda Downey
Information Risk and Privacy


"I am so delighted to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection exam. All of the courses attended together with the materials supplied were excellent and have proven to be valuable to me in my role."
Diane Gore
Legal Advisor
Supporter Relations at RSPB


"Hats off to PDP for this programme. It is comprehensive and well taught with good quality materials. The examination at the end, and the revision required to pass it, reinforced the syllabus well. A must have for anyone who is serious about expanding their knowledge base in this area. I would recommend it very highly."
Alexis Colfer
Group Legal Counsel
Grass Roots


"After passing the exam I feel a lot more confident about dealing with the complex area of data protection"
Catherine Allnutt
Head of Information Management
The Charity Commission


"The course was of high quality and challenging. It’s provided me with very useful relevant knowledge. I and the Society are absolutely delighted that I have passed."
Hilary Swift
Data Protection Analyst
Skipton Building Society


"I am delighted to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. The course provided by PDP was excellent; each tutor was extremely knowledgeable and brought each course to life with real life examples."
Amanda Gorry
Senior Risk Analyst
Royal Bank of Scotland


"I am delighted to have gained this qualification. It was an excellent course and the enthusiasm and experience of the speakers made it a valuable and interesting experience."
Alexandra Bain
Senior Legal Counsel
Cable & Wireless Communications


"The Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection is an excellent programme. Informative and enjoyable, it has increased my knowledge and understanding of data protection, improved my policy advice and will continue to bring benefits to my organisation, its customers and partners. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone working within data protection."
Lesley Gauld
Improvement Advisor
Fife Council


"I have worked in DP for a number of years in different roles and I was looking for a way to cement the knowledge that I had, I chose PDP as my training provider due to their links with the ICO. The day sessions were fabulous and the supporting materials were a really nice reference point for the further studying I carried out. I was thrilled to have passed the exam, but I am also really grateful for the opportunity to learn with like-minded individuals. I now have a qualification, along with a network of people who work with DP and my company have gained on a number of levels from the course."
Kerry Scholefield
Compliance Officer
Covéa Insurance


"The discipline of having to study the Data Protection Act in sufficient depth to pass a 3 hour exam combined with five days of face-to-face teaching has taken my knowledge and understanding of data protection to a much deeper level. I now feel much more confident about providing detailed advice to staff on how to comply with the Data Protection Act."
Allan Anderson
Head of Information Security
Scottish Prison Service


"The information provided during the individual training sessions has been invaluable in my role as an Information Governance Officer. I found the exam stretching and I am delighted that the hard work has paid off."
Teresa Evans
Information Governance Officer at Birmingham City Council


“I'm so pleased to have achieved this qualification. The course content was excellent and the speakers were always willing to share their experience and discuss detailed practical scenarios.”
Cindy Knott
Professional Support Lawyer
Slaughter & May


“I decided to take the Certificate in Data Protection as I felt that I needed to manage our data protection provisions backed up with a recognised qualification.”
Karen Dove
Head of Customer Support & Quality, DPA Officer


“I am delighted to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. I found the 5 day course very enjoyable, as well as being extremely informative.”
Amanda Fairclough
Assistant Solicitor
New Forest District Council


“As a Records Manager, it has helped me immensely to identify, prioritise and scope out my records management goals. As a Governance Manager it has allowed me to apply the legislation to a variety of scenarios, advise others with confidence and help protect the Institution against the consequences of non-compliance. Thank you PDP for such a worthwhile qualification.”
Jennifer Rochfort
Governance Manager
The University of Nottingham


“I was delighted to successfully pass the exam and become a Certified Data Protection Practitioner. On a personal level this gave reassurance and increased my confidence. On a professional level, it demonstrates that my employer takes data protection seriously.”
Michala Liavaag
Information Management Officer
Horsham District Council


“The course was given by those with practical experience in the field of data protection and as such having successfully completed the Data Protection Practitioner Course I feel I have a good grounding in the everyday practicalities of dealing with data protection issues. I am delighted to have passed the examination and I now feel much more qualified to work in this field.”
Judith Hills
Legal Associate
Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd


“Excellent course given by experts. The exam required thorough revision of all material provided. I am proud of having achieved this valuable qualification”
Sabine Duffy
Legal Counsel


"I am very pleased to have completed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection, a process which I found both challenging and enjoyable. As an in-house compliance professional, I want to ensure that our business is up to date with data protection law and best practice."
Paul Finnegan
Compliance Officer
Irwin Mitchell LLP


“I am really pleased to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. I feel more confident in my role as Data Protection Officer having undertaken this comprehensive study of data protection legislation.”
Claire Dumbleton
Knowledge Manager
The Society and College of Radiographers


"This is an excellent course which I would highly recommend. I am delighted to have gained the highly respected Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. Compliance with data protection requirements is of significant importance and gaining this qualification will give organisations great confidence in engaging qualified data protection professionals to assist them with compliance issues."
Thelma Stober
Director of Corporate Law and Governance
Equality and Human Rights Commission


“It is nice to have a data protection qualification with wide recognition. I think this will encourage more data protection professionals to take a formal qualification, which is likely to change the way that organisations and companies view their data protection officers.”
Sam Kirkland
Information Governance Manager
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust


“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. Thank you for all of your help and assistance over the past year while I have been taking the courses and waiting to sit the exam. It was a great help having all of the information to hand in a clear and timely manner and certainly made life a lot easier.”
Tracy Linton
Head of IT
Rickerbys LLP


“I was delighted to hear that I was successful in passing the exam which I confess was exceedingly rigorous and tested the boundary of my practical knowledge. This success and experience of the course has empowered me with the self belief and the know how to face whatever Data Protection challenge lies ahead of me and my organisation.”
Mark Brincat
Freedom of Information Officer
Enfield Council


“I’m delighted to have achieved this qualification – the examination was by no means an easy one – and the course as a whole has been an invaluable underpinning to the data privacy advice I give our clients.”
Phil Gorski
Wiggin LLP


“The Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection was challenging, as it should be, but also surprisingly enjoyable. My employer is pleased that I was successful in passing as, personal achievements notwithstanding, it enables the service to demonstrate that its staff are working to the highest national standards.”
Anna Stephenson
Data Protection Officer
Suffolk County Council


“I am very pleased to have passed. The programme was both challenging and informative. I feel more confident in my role as a Data Protection Officer and the qualification gives my organisation confidence in my knowledge and skills.”
Pamela Forde
Archive Manager
Royal College of Physicians


“The 5 day programme dealt well with both the basics and the technical side of data protection and having an optional subject area to study was particularly useful. The programme was delivered in a very practical way and I am already using the knowledge I gained in my DPO role. The qualification represents a cultural shift for data protection professionals, helping DPOs to raise the profile of data protection within their organisations and helping organisations realise the many commercial benefits that data protection compliance can bring. Many thanks.”
Ben Moreland
Legal Counsel


“I am thrilled to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. I can now speak with authority and confidence on the subject of Data Protection within my organisation and with those working in the field. I have found the training courses and materials to be invaluable when responding to subject access requests and providing advice on compliance within my organisation.”
Sara Brodie
Policy, Performance and Research Officer
Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland


“I am delighted to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. The training sessions provided were enjoyable to attend and the content of the course overall was extremely thorough and relevant for my professional role. The end-of-course examination was also challenging and successfully obtaining this professional qualification has given me greater confidence and a more extensive knowledge base to go forward in my career.”
Matthew James
Privacy & Communications Advisor


“I am delighted to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. I have gained a thorough understanding of data protection law which will greatly assist me in my role. I found the course extremely useful, especially the case studies and group discussions.”
Lisa Smith
Corporate Information Manager
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service


"I thought the course might have been a little mind-numbing but it wasn’t the modules were really interesting and informative. Its enabled me to be much more confident when handling colleagues queries on data protection."
Corrine Pepperell
Assistant Company Secretary
EMTA Awards


“I am delighted that I now hold the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection. This accreditation will without doubt benefit both myself and the company I work for, the ongoing work I do in data protection and the future challenges that we face.”
Rosy Edwards
Fairpoint Group Plc


“The programme has provided me with a great understanding of the practical application of data protection law and I am very pleased to have passed the exam. The combination of five days of quality tuition followed by a rigorous examination really helps you to develop your knowledge and skills, and so I highly recommend it to those working in the field.”
Andrew Kniveton
Deputy DPO
Isle of Man Financial Services Authority


“I’m delighted to have passed the examination of the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection Programme with PDP. I found the course to be professionally managed and tutored by individuals who are clearly experts in their field.”
Donna Newton
Addleshaw Goddard


“I found the expertise of the trainers to be very high and the quality and thoroughness of the course modules to be excellent.”
Piers Leigh-Pollitt
Doyle Clayton


“I found the course to be challenging and packed full of detail which, together with the course notes that I still refer to frequently, gave me an excellent foundation in the GDPR. I feel like I was actually taught, and learned, the subject rather than just given sufficient information to pass an exam. I highly recommend this course.”
Sarah Ubiera Baez
Attorney General’s Chambers (Isle of Man)