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FOI

Freedom of Information

Welcome to the Freedom of Information Office at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown.

The Freedom of Information Act was set up to allow access to information held by public bodies, which is not routinely available through other sources.

The object of the Act is to provide as much information and be as open and transparent as possible.

Information is routinely available in the below publications or on www.itb.ie :

  • Full Time Prospectus
  • Part Time Prospectus
  • Student Information Handbook
  • Annual Reports

Regulations were signed into law on Monday 22nd October, 2001 by the Minister of Finance providing for the extension of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997, to the Institutes of Technology. The regulations are effective from 1st October, 2001.

What is Freedom of Information?

The FOI Act was set up to allow access to information held by public bodies, which is not routinely available through other sources.

The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest possible extent consistent with the public interest and the right of privacy of individuals.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 1997 Amendment Bill 2003 establishes three statutory rights:

  • A legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies
  • A legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading
  • A legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself
What information are you entitled to access?

The Institute currently makes some information routinely available to the public. Such information will continue to be available informally without the need to use the FOI Act.

The most important sources of information are :
Prospectus - Full Time
Prospectus - Part-time Education
Student Information Handbook
Annual Report

The Institute is disposed to conduct its business in as open and transparent a manner as possible. It will therefore, attempt to make information available outside the formal procedures of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 1997, Amendment Bill 2003 subject to the general scope of exemptions in the Act, if this is the preferred option of the person seeking information.

Under the FOI Act, anyone is entitled to seek access to information not otherwise publicly available. Each person has a right to:

  • access to records held by the Institute
  • correction of personal information relating to oneself held by the Institute where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading
  • access to reasons for decisions made by the Management of the Institute directly affecting oneself.

The following records come within the scope of the Act:

  • all records relating to personal information held by the Institute irrespective of when created
  • all other records created from 21st April 1998
  • any other records necessary to the understanding of a current record.

You should be aware that the following information is not covered by the Act:

  • information that has already been published and is available from the Institute
  • non-personal information created before 21st April 1998
  • personal information relating to anyone other than the person requesting the information (there are some exceptions)
  • sensitive information excluded by the Minister for Finance under the terms of the Act.
What help is available to assist people with special needs?

ITB's FOI Unit is available to provide assistance to persons with a special needs to exercise their rights under the, FOI Act (e.g. accepting oral request from people unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability, enabling the person to inspect, or have records explained to him/her).

How can you make an FOI application?

All applications:

  • must be in writing
  • must state that the information is sought under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • should include as much detail as possible to assist the staff of the Institute to identify the record
  • should indicate the time period for which you wish to access records e.g. records created between May 1998 and December 1998. Specify the areas of the Institute which would be most relevant to your request. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise records which you require the staff of the FOI unit will be happy to assist you in preparing your request
  • indicate if the information is required in a particular format i.e. photocopy, computer disc, etc
  • Alternatively, request for information can be made by fax, e-mail or by writing to the office address.

You may be required to prove your identity especially when requesting personal information so you may, therefore, be asked to produce your passport, driving license or birth certificate

On receipt of a request the FOI office will:

  • log the request
  • check that the request comes within the scope of the FOI Act
  • ensure that the request receives consideration by the appropriate member of staff
  • notify the requester of the outcome/decision
What if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your request?

The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties. Where the Institute invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be subject to appeal. Details of the appeal mechanisms are as follows.

Internal review
You may seek internal review of the initial decision, which will be carried out by an official at a higher level if:

  • you are dissatisfied with the initial response received (refusal of information, form of access, fees, etc.)
  • you have not received a reply within 4 weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to internal review.

Requests for internal review should be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Unit,
Institute of Technology Blanchardstown
Blanchardstown Road North ,
Dublin 15.

Tel:- Ireland 01/ 8851000 or 01/8851028
Fax:- Ireland 01/ 8851001
E-mail: foi@itb.ie

External review
If you are dissatisfied following completion of the internal review, you may seek an independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner.
If you have not received a reply to your application for internal review within 3 weeks this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matters to the Information Commissioner.

Appeals in writing may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:-

Office of the Information Commissioner,
18 Lower Leeson Street ,
Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 - 6785222
Fax: 01 - 6610570
e-mail: foi@ombudsma.irlgov.ie

What are the costs to make an FOI request?

Fees may be charged as follows:

A standard application fee of €15 must accompany an FOI request under section 7 for a record or records containing non-personal information.

A reduced fee of €10 applies if the person making such a request is covered by a medical cards. (See Section 15 for full details)

  • In respect of personal records, fees will not apply, except where a large number of records are involved
  • In respect of non-personal/official records, fees may be charged in respect of the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records, based on a standard hourly rate, to be prescribed by the Minister for Finance. No charges may apply in respect of the time spent by the Institute in considering requests.
  • A deposit of 20% of the estimated costs may be payable where the total fee is likely to exceed €50.80 In these circumstances, the Institute must, if requested, assist the member of the public to amend the request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.

Fees may be waived:

  • where the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee would exceed the amount of the fee.
  • where the information would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance.
  • in the case of personal information, where such charges would not be reasonable having regard to the means of the requester.

Fees:

Fees are currently set at the following rates in respect of time spent in efficiently locating copying non-personal records:

€  20.95 per hour - search and retrieval
€  0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
€  0.51 per computer disk
€ 10.16 for a CD-ROM
€ 6.35 for a radiograph (X-ray)

What about Confidentiality?

The Institute undertakes to use its best endeavours to treat as confidential any information provided to it in confidence by individuals or others subject to the Institute's obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Act. If for any reason, it is wished that information provided to the Institute should not be disclosed because of its sensitive nature, then it is incumbent upon the person or body when supplying the information to make clear this wish and to specify the reasons for the information's sensitivity.

Note :

For more details on the Freedom of Information at ITB refer Section 15 and Section 16.

If the information you require is not available from the above links please feel free to contact the Institute where we will be happy to help you in any way possible.

Freedom of Information Request
Institute of Technology Blanchardstown
Blanchardstown Road North
Dublin 15.
Telephone: +353-1-8851333
Fax +353-1-8851001
e-mail: margaret.davis@itb.ie