Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (FOI Act) provides that every person has the following legal rights: the right to access records held by FOI bodies (as defined in the FOI Act); the right to have personal information held on them by an FOI body corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by FOI bodies that affect them. Members of the public can seek access to: records relating to personal information held on them no matter when the record was created; and other records created on or after 21 April 1998.
How does FOI work?
A member of the public can request access to records under the FOI Act by making a request to an FOI body and stating that he/she is seeking the records pursuant to the FOI Act. The FOI Act requires FOI bodies to respond to such requests from the public. In most cases, FOI bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it.
How can I make an FOI request?
You should send a request in writing (by post, hand delivery or email) to: Freedom of Information Officer, Aurora, Kells Road, Kilkenny. Phone: 056 7722170 E-mail: email@example.com
Your request should include the following:
• A statement that the request is being made pursuant to the FOI Act • As much information as possible about the records being sought • Details of the format in which you wish to receive any records released (eg photocopies).
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Records that you can seek from Aurora, include: (a) all records relating to your personal information; (b) all other records created on or after 21 April 1998; and (c) any records necessary to the understanding of a record referred to in (b) above even if created prior to 21 April 1998. However, in order to allow FOI bodies to properly conduct their business, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These exemptions are set out in the FOI Act and apply to all FOI bodies.
Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
• law enforcement and security • confidential and commercially sensitive information • personal information of a third party (ie someone other than the person making the request). Requests for access to records may also be refused if they are deemed to be unclear or of such a volume as to substantially or unreasonably interfere with or disrupt Aurora work.
Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?
There is no charge for submitting a request. However, in respect of non-personal requests, section 27 of the FOI Act provides that fees shall be charged for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs incurred by Aurora in providing you with the material requested (search, retrieval and copying fees). The legislation specifies the search, retrieval and copying fees that may be charged. There are also some rules that apply in relation to the charging of fees:
• Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is less than €101, there will be no charge • Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €500 but less than €700, the total charge will not exceed €500 • Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700, an FOI body can refuse to process the request.
Where fees apply, a deposit must be paid before the search and retrieval process is begun. An estimate of the search, retrieval and photocopying charges relating to your request and the required deposit will be notified to you in writing. Payment should be made by way of cheque. A list of relevant fees is set out below:
List of Fees
There is no charge for submitting a request • Search and Retrieval €20 per hour • €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy • Internal review fee €30 (reduced fee of €10 for medical card holders or dependents of medical card holders) Notes: 1. There is no charge if your request relates to records containing only personal information relating to you, unless there is a significant number of records. 2. If you are claiming a reduced fee, the request must be accompanied by the medical card registration number, issuing HSE name and your consent to the verification of these details with that HSE.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?
If you are not happy with the decision that you receive you may ask for the decision to be reviewed. This will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by the Operations Manager of Aurora and a decision will be communicated to you within 3 weeks. You may seek a review of any decision issued by Aurora, by making a request in writing (by post, hand delivery or email) to the Freedom of Information Officer, Aurora, Kells Road, Kilkenny. Áine.firstname.lastname@example.org. You should state that you are seeking an Internal Review of the matter. A fee of €30 (reduced fee of €10 for medical card holders or dependents of medical card holders) may apply for such an appeal. There is no fee for internal review applications concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit. You should make your request for an Internal Review within 4 weeks from the date of our response to you setting out our decision in relation to your initial request for records (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances). When seeking an Internal Review you need to ensure that you refer to your initial request and decision and that you quote the reference number. You also need to include the grounds on which you are seeking this review and any additional information which you feel is relevant.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?
If you are not happy with the outcome of the Internal Review, you may make an appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC). If you wish to make an appeal to the OIC, you must do so within six months of the date of our Internal Review decision. If you make an appeal to the OIC, they will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision. All appeals should be addressed to:
The Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (1) 639 5689 Local: 1890 22 30 30 Fax: +353 (1) 639 5674 E-mail: email@example.com A fee of €50 (reduced fee of €15 for medical card holders or dependents of medical card holders) may apply for such an application. There is no fee for appeals to the Office of the Information Commissioner concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.
Can I get help in making a request?
Yes. If you require help in formulating your request, the Freedom of Information Officer will be happy to assist you.
Do I need to make an FOI request to get information from Aurora?
Aurora provides a great deal of information on the various pages of its website. This will continue. FOI provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records not made routinely available.
Where can I get more information on FOI?
Further information on FOI is available from: The Freedom of Information Unit, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (1) 604 5388 Fax: +353 (1) 639 6281 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 Tel: +353 (1) 639 5689 Local: 1890 253 238 Fax: +353 (1) 639 5674 E-mail: email@example.com More comprehensive information on Freedom of Information, including the text of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 is available at www.foi.gov.ie and www.oic.ie