The Freedom of Information
Acts (1997 & 2003) were enacted to produce a more
transparent and accountable culture of government
in Ireland. Any Irish citizen can request
personal information held by any public
body, and in cases where this is inaccurate
can demand that it be changed. Citizens
can also request a broad range of administrative
and financial information from government
departments and state-funded organisations,
with the exception of a number of categories
of sensitive material listed in the act.
Nearly all bodies which
receive government funding are at this stage
covered by the Freedom of Information Act,
and are therefore required to carry out
a number of duties. They must produce Section
15 & 16 reference guides, which list
all the records produced by the body, its
administrative make-up and its funding arrangements.
They are also obliged to produce a stated
records management policy, which lists policy
in relation to the creation, maintenance
and disposition of their physical and electronic
records. It is necessary for bodies to produce
a retention schedule listing all categories
of records created along with stated disposition
periods, in accordance with legal requirements.
No records can be destroyed unless in accordance
with this policy.
FOI legislation applies not only to paper-based
documents, but also to email and electronically
created and stored documents, such as databases.
Private companies need to be aware that
any documents submitted to Public Bodies
will be in the public domain and may be
available to their competitors through FOI
requests. There is however provision in
the terms of the Act for companies to highlight
areas of any documentation supplied to Public
Bodies as "commercially sensitive",
which means the company will have to be
consulted prior to the documents' release.
Records Management Consultants Archives Management Scanning FOI E-Records