Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information requests during Covid-19 lockdown

Please note that LWETB continues to work in compliance with all official Public Health and Safety guidelines during the current pandemic.

Unfortunately, this means that sometimes our ability to comply with your statutory right to request copies of records from us may be somewhat limited, especially if your request involves physical/paper records.

We may still be able to access certain records and information electronically, subject to limited I.T. resources and the size and nature of your request.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes. If you need to make a Freeedom of Information request, or even if you just want to discuss the possibility, please contact me at foi@lwetb.ie or on the number below.

Thank you,
David McGreal

FOI Officer

044 9394015

Under the Freedom of Information Act, LWETB is obliged to prepare and publish as much information as possible in an open and accessible manner as long as publication or giving access is not prohibited by law. This is called a ‘Publication Scheme.’

Please find Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board FOI Publication Scheme on this page. If the information you require cannot be found here, please email foi@lwetb.ie or call (044) 9394015. If the information you are looking for is not currently made publicly available by LWETB, you may consider making a Freedom of Information Request (as outlined below).

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 humanresources@lwetb.ie

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 info@lwetb.ie – 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 foi@lwetb.ie 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:

David McGreal, FOI Officer, LWETB, Marlinstown Business Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 RW96, 044 9394015

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 foi@lwetb.ie

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.

Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board delivers educational services to over 20,000 students and learners annually. The authority employs over 1,000 staff. It has an average annual budget of €54 million across all its divisions.

The authority has responsibility for: 8 post-primary schools, 3 Adult Guidance centres, 10 Further Education and Training centres, Music Generation and a Youth Work Unit accommodating community groups in approximately 50 locations throughout Longford and Westmeath.

The work of Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board is structured across three pillars; Organisation Support and Development, Schools Youth and Music and Further Education and Training, with the Director of each pillar reporting to the Chief Executive.

Our principal services are:

You will find contact details here for more information.

LWETB is responsible for establishing and maintaining these services, providing back office administrative support in the areas of Human Resources, Payroll, Educational Services and Finance.

The front line services – teaching, training, instruction and guidance, plus all of the associated day-to-day management and clerical work – are delivered at all of our schools and centres throughout the two counties.

Charges for Services

Each of our schools will charge students an annual administration fee, plus an amount for book rental. Charges also apply for certain class materials and activities. Course fees apply for any Night Classes run by our schools.

Schools that run Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses charge an annual €200 Participant Contribution, although the following students are exempt:

  • Full medical card holders in their own right and their dependent children;

  • student grant holders;

  • students on BTEA or VTOS allowances.

Charges also apply for certain PLC class materials and activities.

For Evening Courses in Athlone Training Centre, course costs, including certification, where applicable, range between €200 – €300. Courses may be FREE to people who are currently on the live register.

As fees and charges vary from location to location and course to course, please contact the school or centre directly with any specific queries.

Review or appeal rights relating to such services

If a school decides to:

a) permanently exclude a pupil

b) suspend a pupil for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days in any one school year, or

c) refuse to enrol a child.

You can appeal this decision to LWETB. Here are the procedures that have to be followed, and here is the appeal application form.

Athlone Training Centre has a test/assessment results appeals process included in its Code of Conduct.

And here is the appeals procedure followed by Mullingar V.T.O.S., by way of illustration of the type of procedure used by our Further Education and Training Centres.

Major policy proposals including any public consultation exercises

Our Strategy Statement for 2017-2022

Background information relating to major policy proposals and decisions

From the date of this Publication Scheme onwards (14th April 2016), any such information will be published here.

Reports on the operation of public services by LWETB

The Department of Education and Skills publishes a list all of the school inspections and evaluations it carries out. Simply click on this ‘Find a School‘ link, search for your school, and then scroll down to the inspection report.

Expenditure reviews, Policy assessments

None currently underway or under consideration. As a public body, LWETB is subject to audit by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The FOI Act 2014 does not apply to a record relating to an audit, inspection, investigation or examination carried out by that Office.

Procurement policies

Here are our own guidelines for staff on Quotations and Tendering.

And here are the Thresholds (exclusive of VAT) above which advertising of contracts in the Official Journal of the EU is obligatory.

Further Guides and Legislation can be found on the eTenders website.

Public contracts awarded over €25k

All of our current tender competitions and awards are listed on the searchable Published Tenders page of the eTenders website