It is important for the EDPS to have an effective Speaking Engagements Policy in order to promote his tasks and objectives. These include:
- promoting good practice in relation to the handling of personal data by the EU institutions and bodies;
- advising on policies and legislation that affect privacy and data protection; cooperating with similar supervisory authorities to promote and ensure consistent approaches to data protection mainly within the European Union; and
- communicating information and advice to targeted audiences to encourage good practice, raise awareness of rights and obligations, raise awareness of the EDPS and to influence European and global debate about privacy issues.
The EDPS receives significant numbers of invitations to speak in events both inside and outside of the EU. The Speaking Engagements policy is intended to make sure that we use our resources appropriately and effectively, and that the speaking engagements we undertake actively support our objectives.
What organisers should do
> What the EDPS will do
> Sponsoring or co-organising of an event
> On which level do we participate?
> Payment, travel and reimbursement
> Copyright and reuse of materials
What organisers should do
Event organisers should provide us with all appropriate information on the subject area, the proposed audience, the (proposed) other speakers, the scale and nature of the event, along with an indication of the length of time we are expected to speak. We also ask to be given sufficient time to decide on our participation and - should we decide to participate - to prepare (for example, to create materials, secure diary space or research material relevant to the audience). As a rule of thumb, the request should be made at least one month before the event, unless there is any specific urgency.
Event organisers are encouraged to send requests to the functional mailbox of the EDPS (email@example.com). If requests are sent to specific persons they should in all cases be copied to that mailbox.
We also ask organisers not to approach several persons within the EDPS in parallel.
What the EDPS will do
The EDPS has put in place an internal procedure for the assessment of invitations to speak, including on the level of participation of the EDPS, in the case of a positive decision. All requests will be assessed following this internal procedure.
The EDPS will inform the organisers whether or not we are able to attend, giving as much notice as possible.
The EDPS will try to meet the organiser’s deadlines for delivery of speeches and slides (if appropriate), but this will depend on operational factors and so cannot be guaranteed in all circumstances. As a rule, speeches or slides produced by us are on the standard EDPS template.
There may be circumstances when the EDPS cannot guarantee to provide a speaker as arranged. If a representative of the EDPS is unable to honour a commitment he or she will give as much notice as possible and will endeavour to find a replacement within the EDPS.
Following a presentation, the EDPS will provide feedback to the organisers if appropriate or requested. We are keen to make sure we meet the expectations of our stakeholders and welcome feedback from event delegates to help us improve future presentations.
The EDPS will take a selective approach. Our principal reason for undertaking speaking engagements is to achieve the objectives outlined above. Invitations to speak will be primarily considered on this basis.
More specifically, there are a number of factors we will take into account when considering whether to accept an invitation to speak at an event. The following, which should not necessarily be considered an exhaustive list, are however the most significant:
- As an EU institution, the EDPS will give preference to EU wide conferences over strictly national events, particularly those that are organised or sponsored by other EU institutions, bodies or agencies.
- We will give extra weight to events with a more direct impact on our activities, for example those that relate to the priorities and the inventory for consultations (available on the EDPS website ) or that relate to thematic guidance issued by the EDPS.
- We will also give extra weight to conferences that provide the EDPS with an appropriate platform for testing or explaining important policies.
- Similarly, we will give extra weight to events that take place on platforms with which the EDPS maintains or wishes to maintain a long term relationship.
- We will prefer to concentrate on events organised by academic institutions, public bodies or non-profit organisations.
- Our availability to speak at purely commercial events is based on considerations of good governance. As a public authority, the EDPS must consider carefully whether it wishes to contribute to events that are only open to participants that pay a high fee. There is also a need to minimise conflicts of interest (for instance with lobby groups).
- We will also take into account the nature, timing, and frequency of the event; the possibilities of interactions with other speakers; the size and make-up of the audience; and how far our participation effectively promotes awareness of good practice, data protection rights/obligations and important policy issues relating to privacy.
- We will consider the impact of an event on the efficient allocation of our resources (working time, costs). In general, we will give preference to events organised in Brussels over events organised elsewhere in the EU. Invitations to events outside the EU (or the EEA) will be accepted only if there is a specific, qualified interest for the EDPS.
- In specific cases, we may sometimes be prepared to accept invitations that we would otherwise turn down if they provide a suitable opportunity for our staff to gain experience or to maintain or further develop a professional network.
On which level do we participate?
Many requests for speakers specifically invite the Supervisor or Assistant Supervisor. Due to competing demands on their time they will only be able to attend speaking engagements where their attendance is justified. There is no hard and fast rule as to what justifies their attendance, but factors which will be taken into account include the importance of the issue being discussed, the nature of the audience, the status of other speakers and the size of the audience. For example, where the audience is made up of senior policy makers and policy informers, it is more likely that either the Supervisor or the Assistant Supervisor will attend.
Where we do think attendance on high level is justified but the Supervisor or Assistant Supervisor are unavailable, we may be able to provide another member of EDPS management, or a highly experienced and/or senior official as a speaker where appropriate.
In all cases, the EDPS will take the freedom to decide on which level participation should take place, by the Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor, the management of the EDPS secretariat or another member of the Staff. Decisions will be made in consultation with the organisers, in accordance with our internal procedure.
Speaking engagements will be allocated to the most appropriate person within the EDPS according to the internal division of tasks within the EDPS and taking into account availability, expertise, language competences and professional background. Where the subject and/or audience is a specialist one, organisers’ needs may be best met by a speaker with the relevant specialist knowledge.
Payment, travel and reimbursement
As said, our principal reason for undertaking speaking engagements is to achieve the objectives outlined above in the interests of the EDPS. Accordingly we do not accept a fee for speaking engagements, and we normally pay our own travel and accommodation costs.
However, to make the best use of public funds, we also aim to minimise the financial and resource costs of undertaking speaking engagements, without prejudicing stakeholders with limited resources. Thus, where we do agree to speak at a purely commercial event or at an event where the organisers are charging for attendance and/or other speakers are reimbursed, we would normally expect the organisers to provide travel costs and accommodation, and where appropriate a fee waiver for one or more EDPS staff to attend.
Copyright and reuse of materials
Event organisers frequently wish to display EDPS slides and taped presentations on websites and in literature. This will usually be acceptable, and we will inform organisers if there are any particular conditions attached to such uses, or if any materials cannot be reproduced (for example, if the copyright is owned by a third party).
We retain copyright on all our own materials but we do not object them being used on a website as long as we are contacted first to agree this, it is clearly indicated that it is EDPS material, and is removed after an appropriate period of time, particularly if it contains time-sensitive material.
Depending on the nature of the materials to reuse and the manner in which they are to be reproduced, it may be necessary to formalise arrangements by way of a copyright licence granted to the organiser by the EDPS. Any arrangements need to respect the requirements of data protection. We do not accept arrangements which limit the EDPS in publishing presentations of his members and staff on the EDPS website.