FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1997

Publication of information about public bodies.

15

15. (1) A public body shall cause to be prepared and published and to be made available in accordance with subsection (7) a reference book containing—

( a) a general description of its structure and organisation, functions, powers and duties, any services it provides for the public and the procedures by which any such services may be availed of by the public,

( b) a general description of the classes of records held by it, giving such particulars as are reasonably necessary to facilitate the exercise of the right of access,

( c) a general description of the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 16 (1) ,

( d) the arrangements made by the body—

(i) to enable a person to obtain access to records held by the body,

(ii) to enable an individual to apply for the amendment of any such records that relate to personal information in respect of the individual, and

(iii) to enable a person to whom section 18 (1) applies to obtain the information specified therein,

( e) the names and designations of the members of the staff of the body responsible for carrying out the arrangements aforesaid (unless the head of the body reasonably believes that publication of that information could threaten the physical safety or well-being of the persons),

( f) the address or addresses at which requests under section 7 or applications under section 17 or 18 should be given,

( g) appropriate information concerning—

(i) any rights of review or appeal in respect of decisions made by the body (including rights of review and appeal under this Act), and

(ii) the procedure governing the exercise of those rights and any time limits governing such exercise,

( h) any other information that the head of the body considers relevant for the purpose of facilitating the exercise of the right of access, and

( i) information in relation to such other matters (if any) as may be prescribed.

(2) A reference book prepared under subsection (1) shall be made available in accordance with subsection (7)

( a) in case the body concerned is a body specified in paragraph 1 (other than subparagraph (3), (4) and (5)) of the First Schedule , upon the commencement of this Act,

( b) in case the body is a local authority, upon the commencement of the said subparagraph (3),

F19 [ ( c ) in the case of the Health Service Executive, 6 months after the establishment day, ]

F19 [ ( d ) in the case of the Child and Family Agency, 6 months after the establishment day of that body, and

F20 [ ( e ) in case the body is a body standing prescribed under section 3 for the purposes of subparagraph (5) of paragraph (1) of the First Schedule, upon such prescription. ] ]

and thereafter a version, appropriately revised, of the book shall be prepared and published and shall be made available as aforesaid by the body not less frequently than 3 years after the latest such book was so made available by the body and as soon as may be after any significant alterations or additions fall to be made in or to the latest such book so made available.

(3) In preparing a reference book under subsection (1), a public body shall have regard to the fact that the purpose of the book is to assist members of the public in ascertaining and exercising their rights under this Act.

(4) F21 [ ]

(5) The Minister shall ensure that appropriate measures are taken by public bodies, as respects training of staff, organisational arrangements and such other matters as the Minister considers appropriate, for the purpose of facilitating compliance by the bodies with this Act and, without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b) of section 3 (1) , may, by regulations made under that paragraph after consultation with the Commissioner and the Director of the National Archives (within the meaning of the National Archives Act, 1986), make provision for the management and maintenance of records held by public bodies.

(6) ( a) As soon as may be after the end of a period specified in paragraph (d), the Minister shall prepare a report in writing of the measures taken by public bodies pursuant to subsection (5) during that period.

( b) A report under this subsection shall include a report of any measures taken by a public body during the period to which the report relates consequent upon a report under section 36 (4) .

( c) The Minister shall cause a copy of a report under this subsection to be furnished as soon as may be to the committee (within the meaning of section 32 ).

( d) The periods referred to in paragraph (a) are:

(i) the period of 3 months beginning on the commencement of this Act, and

F22 [ (ii) the period of 12 months or of such other length as may be determined beginning on the expiration of the period aforesaid and each subsequent period of 12 months or of such other length as may be determined beginning on the expiration of the period of 12 months or of such other length as may be determined immediately preceding. ]

(7) A book referred to in F22 [ subsection (1) or (2) ] shall be made available for inspection free of charge, and for removal free of charge or, at the discretion of the head concerned or the Minister, as may be appropriate, for purchase, at such places as the head or, as may be appropriate, the Minister may determine and the head or the Minister, as may be appropriate, shall cause notice of those places to be published in such manner as he or she considers adequate for the purposes of this section and, if the book relates to a local authority or a health board, a copy of it shall be given to each member of the authority or board.

(8) Subsection (1) does not apply to any matter by reason of which a record in which it is included is an exempt record.

F23 [ (9) In this section published includes published by electronic means, and publication shall be construed accordingly. ]

Annotations:

Amendments:

F19

Substituted (1.01.2014) by Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013), s. 97 and sch. 2 pt. 9, S.I. No. 502 of 2013.

F20

Inserted (1.01.2014) by Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013), s. 97 and sch. 2 pt. 9, S.I. No. 502 of 2013.

F21

Deleted (11.4.2003) by Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 (9/2003), s. 10(a), commenced on enactment.

F22

Substituted (11.4.2003) by Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 (9/2003), s. 10(b) and (c), commenced on enactment.

F23

Inserted (11.4.2003) by Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 (9/2003), s. 10(d), commenced on enactment.

Modifications (not altering text):

C24

Provision for references to “health board” to be read as references to the Health Service Executive made (1.01.2005) by Health Act 2004 (42/2004), ss. 56 and 66, S.I. No. 887 of 2004.

Definitions (Part 10).

56.—In this Part “specified body” means—

(a) the health boards,

...

References to specified bodies.

66.—Subject to this Act, references (however expressed) to a specified body in any Act passed before the establishment day, or in any instrument made before that day under an Act, are to be read as references to the Executive, unless the context otherwise requires.