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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (the “2014 Act”) as passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas was signed into law on Tuesday 14th October, 2014. The Act has effect on and from this date.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 establishes three key rights:

Right of any member of the public to access to records
Right of any member of the public to amend records containing personal information
Right of interested parties to reasons for decisions

In general, members of the public are entitled to obtain official information from the Institute provided it does not conflict with the public interest and the right of privacy of individuals.

Requests for information must be submitted in writing to the Freedom of Information Office. 

Waterford Institute of Technology has prepared a Freedom of Information Publication Scheme under the guidelines of Section 8 (7) of the Freedom of Information Act 2014. The Publication Scheme must be adopted by all FOI bodies and shall set out the required information.

Under the Publication Scheme, each FOI body shall:

  • Set out information to assist members of the public in their understanding of the body and its functions;

  • Publish the information it holds grouped under the information headings below

  • Explain the procedures to get access to information or to establish what informaiton the body holds

Please click on each section below for information relating to that area. A written copy of the information can als be obtained by request from the FOI & Data Protection Co-ordinator, TL2.54 Tourism & Leisure Building, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road Waterford.

 

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pdf Freedom of Information Act 2014

internet logo Office of the Information Commissioner

internet logoDepartment of Public Expenditure & Reform Central Policy Unit

Q. How do I submit an FOI request?

A. - An FOI request must be in writing (either by letter or in the case of personal requests, e-mail). It should state that the information is being requested under the FOI Act be addressed to the Freedom of Information Officer, address details below. 

- According to the FOI Act 2014 a requestor should state that the information requested is sought under the Freedom of Information Acts 2014.

- It shoul contain sufficient particulars in relation to the information concerned to enable the record to be identified. Please ensure to detail your particulars (i.e. Name, Address, Contact Details (e.g. telephone number and/or e-mail address) as this information is required for subsequent correspondence.  

- Specify the manner or form in which you wish to gain access.

If you are making a request to amend personal details held by WIT, you should submit the Access to records under Section 9 of the FOI Act application form

If you are making a request for details of an act or decision of WIT affecting you, you should submit the Access to records under Section 10 of the FOI Act application form

If you are making a request for details of a personal or non personal nature, you should submit the Access to records under Section 12 of the FOI Act application form.

These forms are also available from the CPD & FOI/Data Protection Co-ordinator. If you require assistance or guidance in writing a request you can contact:

Corina Power,
CPD & FOI/Data Protection Co-ordinator, 
Tourism & Leisure Building,
Waterford Institute of Technology,
Cork Road,
Waterford.
Tel: 051 302608 Email: [email protected]
 
Q. What information is available?

A.  Any official information or personal information held by public bodies can be sought under the Act.

Q. Can anyone get access to my personal records?

A.  No, you are the only person who can access your personal records.

Q. Can anyone ask for reasons for acts taken by WIT?

A. A person who is affected by an act of WIT and has a material interest in a matter affected by the act may request reasons for that act. This is a different type of request than the regular request for records. It is a Section 10 request.

Assistance to Persons with a Disability

The FOI Officer is available to provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act 2014 (e.g. accepting or a request from requesters who are unavailable to read, print and/or write due to their disability, enabling requester to inspect or have records explain to him or her).

Q. What is the process for an FOI request?

A. FOI Officer

Your request should be addressed to the FOI Officer (contact details above). The FOI Officer must acknowledge your request in writing within 2 weeks of receiving it.

2.  Decision Maker

The request is passed on from the FOI Officer to the Decision Maker. The Decision Maker's role is to assess the documents requested and a decision must be returned to the FOI Officer. The FOI Officer in turn must reply to the requester within 4 weeks of the receipt of the request with a decision and the information required if granted. [Section 9(3) (personal data); Section 10(1) (right to information regarding acts of WIT affecting the person); or Section 13(1) (FOI request)].

3.  Internal Review

A requester is entitled to seek an Internal Review under Section 21(2) of the Act, if she/he is not satisfied with the outcome of their initial request. She/he must submit their request for an internal review within 4 weeks of the date of the reply. This request must be sent to the FOI Officer and the FOI Officer will refer it on to the Internal Reviewer.

The Internal Reviewer must be of a ranking grade higher than that of the Decision Maker [Section 21(3)].

They will assess the documents requested themselves and consult with the Decision Maker as to the decision taken in the first instance and must issue a reply letter to the requester within 3 weeks of receipt of the request or otherwise the request will be deemed refused.

4.  Information Commissioner

If a requester is still not satisfied with the outcome of their request after the Internal Review stage, they are entitled to appeal to the Information Commissioner. The Office of the Information Commissioner can be contacted on:

Tel: +353 1 6395689
Fax: +353 1 6395674
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.oic.gov.ie.

5.  High Court

If a requester is not satisfied with the decision of the Information Commissioner, they can appeal to the High Court on a point of law (Section 24).

6.  Supreme Court

There is right of appeal to the Supreme Court from a decision of the High Court (Section 24(8)).

Q. What fees are charged when making a request?

A. No fee is payable in respect of the initial FOI request. However, fee/charges may apply in other instances which are detailed below:

Type of request of application Standard fee Reduced fee*
Internal review €30.00 €10.00
Reviewed by Information Commissioner €50.00 €15.00
Application for reasons for a decision affecting individual Free Free
Application for amendment concerning incorrect information  Free Free
Appeal decision to charge a fee or deposit or a fee or deposit of a specific amount Free Free
Access to personal records Free Free

*Reduced fees will apply in respect of (a) medical card holders; (b) dependants of medical card holders; and (c) third parties who appeal a decision to release their information on public interest grounds. If you are claiming a reduced application fee on the basis of (a) and (b) above, the request must be accompanied by the medical card registration number, issuing Health Board name and your consent to the verification of these details with that Health Board and/or the Health Service Executive.

Fees for Search and Retrieval and/or copying of records (Section 27)

The amount of these fees that may be charged in respect of Freedom of Information requests are currently equal to the estimated cost of the search for and retrieval of the record concerned, and the estimated cost of any copy of the record made by the public body concerned. There is no charge if the records contain personal information only, unless there are a significant number of records (Section 27 (4)).

If the cost of a search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, no charge is applied. If the charge exceeds €100, full fees apply. You cannot be charged more than €500.

If the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €700, we will let you know and assist you in amending or limiting request in order to reduce the charges but if you do not amend or limit your request, we may refuse it. However, if WIT decides to process the request, you shall be required to pay the full cost of the searches and a deposit (not less than 20% of the costs) shall be charged.

A list of relevant charges is set out below:

Type of charge Standard fee
Search and retrieval €20.00 per hour
Photocopying €0.04 cent per sheet
CD ROM containing copy of documents €10.00
X-ray containing copy of documents €6.00

Any payment should be made by way of postal order, cheque or bank draft, made payable to WIT.