Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/315216
Title:
Freedom of Information: the first decade
Authors:
Office of the Information Commissioner
Citation:
Ireland. Office of the Information Commissioner. Freedom of Information: the first decade. Dublin. Office of the Information Commissioner, 2008
Publisher:
Office of the Information Commissioner
Issue Date:
May-2008
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/315216
Item Type:
Report
Language:
en
Description:
This publication marks ten years of the operation of Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation in Ireland and ten years of the operation of the Office of the Information Commissioner. Over the past 10 years Irish public bodies have processed 130,000 FOI requests from members of the public, from media people and from business and political interests. On average, 70 per cent of these requests have been granted either in full or in part. My Office has received 5,300 appeals, slightly more than 3 per cent of all FOI requests made, over the past ten years; of these, 4,058 were valid appeals. Of the valid appeals received, approximately 25 per cent (1,015 cases) have been decided or settled in favour of the appellant, either in full or in part; in approximately 41 per cent (1,584) of cases, the public body decision has been affirmed; in the remaining cases, the appeal was either discontinued or withdrawn. Freedom of information has let the light shine in on many areas of public life over the past decade. In the case of personal information, FOI has been used extensively by individuals to acquire health records, child care records, industrial school records and personnel and job selection records. In terms of knowing what public bodies are doing on our behalf, FOI has been used extensively both by private individuals and by the media to see how public inspectorates or regulatory bodies are performing - for example, in relation to private nursing homes, child care facilities and schools - or how our key public services are performing - for example, in relation to hospital waiting lists or the prevalence of hospital acquired infections or in the conduct of public procurement procedures. And in relation to developing public policy, FOI has helped shed light on virtually every aspect of public policy making - from taxation policy to regulation of the legal professions, and from pension planning to fisheries policy. One of the most recent FOI-based media stories, at the time of writing, deals with discussions between the Catholic Church and the Department of Education & Science on the issue of governance arrangements in a new model of primary school; it is a mark of how imbedded FOI has become that such records were released, as a matter of course, without resort to external appeal. Another recent FOI release to the media has shed considerable light on the decision of the Minister for Finance not to increase taxes on alcohol where the Health Service Executive had sought such an increase as part of a wider public health strategy. It is absolutely the case that FOI has drawn public attention to, and has prompted debate on, many issues which prior to 21 April 1998 might have remained largely unknown and un-discussed. One of the most interesting features of our FOI Act is the potential to access Cabinet records. However, this qualified right is confined to Cabinet records created more than ten years (five years in the original Act) after the commencement of the FOI Act on 21 April 1998. The impact of this provision will become apparent over coming months now that the Act has been in operation for more than ten years.
Keywords:
PUBLIC SECTOR; COMMUNITY INFORMATION AND ADVICE SERVICE
Local subject classification:
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorOffice of the Information Commissioneren_GB
dc.date.accessioned2014-04-03T11:41:09Z-
dc.date.available2014-04-03T11:41:09Z-
dc.date.issued2008-05-
dc.identifier.citationIreland. Office of the Information Commissioner. Freedom of Information: the first decade. Dublin. Office of the Information Commissioner, 2008en_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/315216-
dc.descriptionThis publication marks ten years of the operation of Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation in Ireland and ten years of the operation of the Office of the Information Commissioner. Over the past 10 years Irish public bodies have processed 130,000 FOI requests from members of the public, from media people and from business and political interests. On average, 70 per cent of these requests have been granted either in full or in part. My Office has received 5,300 appeals, slightly more than 3 per cent of all FOI requests made, over the past ten years; of these, 4,058 were valid appeals. Of the valid appeals received, approximately 25 per cent (1,015 cases) have been decided or settled in favour of the appellant, either in full or in part; in approximately 41 per cent (1,584) of cases, the public body decision has been affirmed; in the remaining cases, the appeal was either discontinued or withdrawn. Freedom of information has let the light shine in on many areas of public life over the past decade. In the case of personal information, FOI has been used extensively by individuals to acquire health records, child care records, industrial school records and personnel and job selection records. In terms of knowing what public bodies are doing on our behalf, FOI has been used extensively both by private individuals and by the media to see how public inspectorates or regulatory bodies are performing - for example, in relation to private nursing homes, child care facilities and schools - or how our key public services are performing - for example, in relation to hospital waiting lists or the prevalence of hospital acquired infections or in the conduct of public procurement procedures. And in relation to developing public policy, FOI has helped shed light on virtually every aspect of public policy making - from taxation policy to regulation of the legal professions, and from pension planning to fisheries policy. One of the most recent FOI-based media stories, at the time of writing, deals with discussions between the Catholic Church and the Department of Education & Science on the issue of governance arrangements in a new model of primary school; it is a mark of how imbedded FOI has become that such records were released, as a matter of course, without resort to external appeal. Another recent FOI release to the media has shed considerable light on the decision of the Minister for Finance not to increase taxes on alcohol where the Health Service Executive had sought such an increase as part of a wider public health strategy. It is absolutely the case that FOI has drawn public attention to, and has prompted debate on, many issues which prior to 21 April 1998 might have remained largely unknown and un-discussed. One of the most interesting features of our FOI Act is the potential to access Cabinet records. However, this qualified right is confined to Cabinet records created more than ten years (five years in the original Act) after the commencement of the FOI Act on 21 April 1998. The impact of this provision will become apparent over coming months now that the Act has been in operation for more than ten years.en_GB
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherOffice of the Information Commissioneren_GB
dc.subjectPUBLIC SECTORen_GB
dc.subjectCOMMUNITY INFORMATION AND ADVICE SERVICEen_GB
dc.subject.otherFREEDOM OF INFORMATIONen_GB
dc.titleFreedom of Information: the first decadeen_GB
dc.typeReporten
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