FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
to law-enforcement and Criminal Records (2 hours)
26, 2021 at 1:00 pm
to Public Records (1.5 hours)
October 27, 2021 at 10:00 am
to Public Meetings (1.5 hours)
27, 2021 at 1:00 pm
views its training duty as its most important mission and
welcomes every opportunity to provide FOIA training programs.
In fulfilling its statutory mission to conduct educational
programs about FOIA, the FOIA Council provides several different
types of training, all free of charge, as detailed below
would like a certificate of completion for the training, please
send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
after watching the video. Please include your first and last
name as well as your title/affiliation. We ask that you allow
us 7-10 business days to send out your certificate.
training by staff
staff provides training upon request to interested groups,
such as the staff of state and local agencies, members of
local governing bodies, media organizations, citizen organizations,
and any other group that wishes to learn more about FOIA.
Organizations requesting training are strongly encouraged,
but not required, to consolidate training by including other
like organizations within a single or neighboring jurisdiction(s)
wherever possible. This training usually is available from
April through November. Because the FOIA Council is a legislative
agency, training generally is not available while the General
Assembly is in session. Please note that training by Council
staff does satisfy the FOIA training requirements for FOIA
officers and local elected officials (see below). Additionally,
please note that the required annual FOIA training may also
be provided by legal counsel for the public body (i.e. your
local government or agency attorney) as well as the FOIA Council.
from the FOIA Council will travel to the location of the group
requesting training or will make arrangements to present the
live training using audio/video technology. The training can
be presented for credit, in which case it must follow the
stated agenda and time limits as agreed with the accrediting
organization (see below), or it can be tailored to meet the
needs of the particular group. Tailored presentations can
range from 30 minutes to several hours, and can present a
general overview of FOIA or focus specifically on particular
exemptions or portions of FOIA frequently used by that group
or organization. Accredited programs include "Access
to Public Records" and "Access to Public Meetings,"
each of which is preapproved by the Virginia State Bar for
1.5 hours of continuing legal education credit for licensed
attorneys, and "Criminal and other Law-Enforcement Records
and FOIA" which is preapproved for 2.0 hours of in-service
credit for law-enforcement from the Department of Criminal
Justice Services. Other organizations including the Virginia
Municipal Clerks Association and the Virginia School Board
Association have also given credit for attending training
by the FOIA Council, although such training is not separately
are interested in scheduling a live FOIA training presentation,
please call the FOIA Council at (804) 698-1810 [Richmond area]
or 1-866-448-4100 [toll free]. We suggest that you contact
us as soon as you have potential dates in mind for training
so as to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Council provides two different online training courses, one
designed for FOIA officers and the other designed for local
elected officials, as alternatives to live training in order
to satisfy the statutory training requirements (see below).
Officers - § 2.2-3704.2
for FOIA officers is hosted on the Commonwealth of Virginia
Learning Center (COVLC). If you have not done so already,
you will need to register with COVLC to take the course. For
more information about registering with COVLC, please click
If you are already registered, please clickhere
to go directly to the COVLC home page.
logging in to COVLC, choose "FOIA-Freedom of Information
Act" from the list of courses on the right-hand side
of the page title "Browse Categories." The course
consists of a tutorial that should take less than an hour,
followed by a 15 question quiz. You must answer 12 questions
correctly (80%) to pass the quiz. After completing the tutorial
and passing the quiz, you will have the option to print a
certificate showing that you completed the online training.
Please note that you do not need to send us copies of your
certificate, but you should keep it for your records to document
that you completed the required training.
officers are also required to provide their names and contact
information to the FOIA Council so that we can maintain a
list of FOIA officers available to the public. Such information
must be submitted by July 1 of the year the FOIA officer is
initially trained, and then updated if and when it changes.
(Note: The requirement used to be to submit the information
each year by July 1, but as of July 1, 2020, it has been amended
so the information only needs to be submitted once initially
and updated if there are changes.)
are two ways to submit your name and contact information:
to use the online version of the form. It requires a free
registration, but once done, it will automatically add your
information to the FOIA officers list.
hereto download a Microsoft Word version of the same
form that you may send to us by email (email@example.com)
or print and send by regular mail, if you prefer.
elected officials - § 2.2-3704.3
July 1, 2020, all local elected officials are required to
receive FOIA training " within two months after assuming
the local elected office and thereafter at least once during
each consecutive period of two calendar years commencing with
the date on which he last completed a training session."
To facilitate this training, we have developed a FOIA training
course specifically for local elected officials that should
take less than an hour to complete. Note that it covers a
broader range of material than the FOIA officers course by
including information on public records, public meetings,
remedies and penalties, and additional resources for further
questions. Additionally, there is no quiz, but at the end
of the course you will be able to generate your own certificate
of completion to keep for your records. The law requires that
the clerk of a governing body or school board keep such records
for five years. For elected officials that have no clerk,
we recommend you keep your FOIA training certificates with
your other administrative records. Note that there is no requirement
to send copies of your certificates to the FOIA Council, and
unlike FOIA officers, we do not maintain a list of elected
officials who have completed FOIA training. Click here
to take the FOIA training course for local elected officials.
issues update: Apparently some users have had
buffering issues with the local elected officials course,
while the training works for others without any problems.
Most users who have encountered issues have been able to complete
the training after clearing their browser cache and history,
so that is the recommend first step if you have any problems.
The training has worked on multiple browsers, but IT staff
has indicated that Google Chrome may work better than other
browsers, so trying different browsers is another option.
If clearing the cache and history does not work, one Chrome
user reported that she was able to take the course after she
temporarily disabled browser extensions. We are also looking
into other hosting options to give users an alternative way
to access the course.
experience technical issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include as much detail as you can regarding what problems
you experienced as well as any technical information you can
provide (browser(s), operating system, etc.) to help us try
to resolve this issue. If you cannot get the regular training
to work, please click here.
please note that a PowerPoint version of the same material
is available here
as a resource to use in conjunction with live training (the
PowerPoint version is not the same as the online training
- it does not contain an audio file and does not generate
a certificate of completion).