Freedom of Information
What is Freedom of Information?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2014 enables members of the public to obtain access, to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy, to records in the possession of public bodies like LWETB.
The act recognises the right of the public to find out more about how decisions that affect them, or that impact on public policy have been arrived at.
What is a record?
A record includes any written or printed material in any form, either on paper or held on computer or electronic device. This includes maps, plans, drawings, a disc, tape or film which contains visual or non-visual images or a copy of any of these.
What can I ask for?
You can ask for any of the following:
Any records relating to you personally, whenever they were created
All other records created after April 2008
When you make such a request, we have to either provide you with the records in question, or, if the records are exempt and we can’t provide them, explain the reasons why.
How do I make an FOI Request?
Firstly, note that you may not need to make a FOI request at all:
If you are a student or the parent/guardian of a student, and there’s something you need to know about the information we hold on you/your child, then in the first instance ask your education centre’s office or school office.
If you are a staff member, you can request things like:
a copy of your personnel file
feedback on your performance on any job interviews you have entered
To get these, simply send an email to our HR section at [email protected]
And if you’re a journalist or a member of the public interested in our work, head over to our Publication Scheme, where you’ll find a wealth of information about what we do. If the answer isn’t there, you can always just ask for it at [email protected] – if we can provide the answer quickly, easily and legally, we’ll do our best to help you.
If none of the above apply to you, or you’re unhappy with the response you get, you can email [email protected] stating that you want to make a request under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014, and describing as clearly as possible what it is you want.
You can also write to:
FOI Officer, LWETB, Marlinstown Business Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 RW96
Please give us a contact number if possible in case we need to check anything with you. And if you’re not sure about what records we’re likely to have, what to ask for or how to word your request, we can help you there, too.
Note that we cannot normally give your personal information to anyone else but you. For this reason we will ask you to provide personal identification. Find out what we can accept as proof of i.d. from [email protected]
Do I have to pay for getting information under FOI?
Not often. When the request is for your personal information there are no charges unless there are a significant number of records involved.
On the other hand, if your request concerns a significant amount of non-personal information, there may well be an up-front fee payable, but the Freedom of Information Officer of the LWETB will tell you about these when your request is received.
Find out more about fees here.
Can I appeal a decision?
Yes, you can. If you are not satisfied with the decision made you can ask us to have a more senior officer review it. And if, following this review, you are still not satisfied you can make a further appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner.
Where can I find out more?
Here’s a list of decisions we’ve made recently, which gives you an idea of the sort of things the general public ask us for. Note that we do not publish details of requests for personal information, in the interests of privacy.
And here’s our Publication Scheme, which is a collection of information about LWETB and what we do, divided into categories.
The website of the Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform contains much more FOI information, guidelines and other resources.
The Information Commissioner’s Office carries out independent reviews of decisions taken by public bodies on Freedom of Information requests.
FOI Publication Scheme
- - LWETB General Information
- - Services Provided to the Public
- - LWETB Decision Making Process
- - Financial Information
- - Procurement
- - FOI Disclosure Log and Other Information to be Published