Freedom of Information Act 2014
Rights in Relation to Records
General rights in relation to records and decisions
Publication of information about FOI bodies
8. (1) An FOI body shall—
(a) prepare and publish a scheme (“publication scheme”), concerning the publication of information by the body—
(i) in conformity with the model publication scheme (if any) referred to in subsection (7), or
(ii) in accordance with any guidelines on publication schemes published by the Minister under the code referred to in section 48 ,
(b) publish information in accordance with its publication scheme, and
(c) review and update its publication scheme not later than 3 years after its publication and subsequently not later than each third year thereafter.
(2) A publication scheme shall include—
(a) the classes of information that the FOI body has published or intends to publish,
(b) the terms under which it will make such information available and, where the material is not available without charge, the charge,
(c) 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,
(d) a general description of the classes of records held by the body concerned, giving such particulars as are reasonably necessary to facilitate the exercise of the right of access,
(i) rules, procedures, practices, guidelines and interpretations used by the body, and
(ii) any precedents kept by the body,
for the purposes of decisions, determinations or recommendations, under or for the purposes of any enactment or scheme administered by the body with respect to rights, privileges, benefits, obligations, penalties or other sanctions to which members of the public are or may be entitled or subject under the enactment or scheme,
(f) appropriate information in relation to the manner or intended manner of administration of any such enactment or scheme, referred to in paragraph (e),
(g) the names and designations of the members of the staff of the body responsible for carrying out the arrangements referred to in paragraphs (c) and (d) (unless the head of the body concerned reasonably believes that publication of that information could threaten the physical safety or well-being of the persons),
(i) 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,
(j) information in relation to such other matters (if any) as may be prescribed.
(3) A publication scheme shall be published by an FOI body—
(a) not later than 6 months after the commencement of section 8 , or
(b) where, under subsection (7), the Minister has made or revised guidelines on publication schemes or made or revised model publication schemes such that the FOI body’s publication scheme is no longer in conformity with the Minister’s guidelines or model publication scheme, not later than 6 months after such making or revision.
(4) An FOI body shall review and, where necessary, revise the material published under a publication scheme under subsection (1) —
(a) on at least an annual basis, or
(b) where the Minister has revised a model publication scheme or guidelines under subsection (7), not later than 6 months after the notice of such revision has been published in the Iris Oifigiúil.
(5) In preparing, reviewing or revising a publication scheme under this section, an FOI body shall have regard to the public interest—
(a) in allowing public access to information held by the FOI body,
(b) in the publication of reasons for decisions made by the FOI body, and
(c) in publishing information of relevance or interest to the general public in relation to its activities and functions generally.
(6) An FOI body shall maintain and hold a printed version of its publication scheme in its head office for inspection by members of the public during normal office hours, on not less than one day’s advance notice.
(7) The Minister may, after con sultation with the Commissioner and such other Minister of the Government as he or she considers appropriate—
(a) make or revise model publication schemes for FOI bodies to use as a basis for their own publication schemes, or
(b) make or revise guidelines on publication schemes for FOI bodies,
with such variations as the Minister may think fit for the particular classes and sizes of FOI bodies.
(8) Notice of the making or the revision of a model publication scheme under subsection (7) shall be published in Iris Oifigiúil as soon as convenient after the making or the revision thereof.
(9) Subsection (1) or (3) does not apply to any matter by reason of which a record in which it is included would fall to be refused as an exempt record.
(10) The Commissioner may examine and report in his or her annual report on the extent to which, in the opinion of the Commissioner, FOI bodies are in compliance with this section.
(11) (a) Each Minister of the Government shall in accordance with the code of practice made under section 48 (if any) ensure that appropriate measures are taken by public bodies under his or her aegis, as respects training of staff, organisational arrangements and such other matters as the Minister considers appropriate (including in respect of the code of practice (if any)), for the purpose of facilitating compliance by those bodies with this Act.
(b) Notwithstanding the generality of section 3 (1)(b), the Minister may, by regulations made under that subsection, 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 FOI bodies.
(12) In this section “published” includes published by electronic means.