☰       Show/Hide Menu

☰       Department Menu

Freedom of Information Office

Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provide for members of the public to gain access to records held by public bodies subject to certain conditions which are described on these pages. If you as a member of the public, journalist, student or staff member wish to submit an FOI request to DCU contact the Freedom of Information Office at 01 7007070 or by email to foi@dcu.ie stating that you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act.

This overview is intended as guidance only. The procedures adopted must be such as to enable DCU to comply fully with the requirements of the FOI Act.

  1. Receipt of an FOI Request directly by a Faculty, School or Unit - Process
  2. Processing the FOI Request in the Faculty / School or Unit
  3. Review of the FOI Decision in the Faculty / Section - Process
  4. Time limits which the FOI officer must meet
  5. Time limits which the Applicant must meet
  6. Time limits which a third party must meet
  7. Time limits which the Information Commissioner must meet

Receipt of an FOI Request directly by a Faculty, School or Unit - Process

The request must be forwarded to Mr. Joe Maxwell, Freedom of Information Officer, This must happen immediately.

The FOI Officer must:

  1. Record the Request

    • Date stamp the request on the date of receipt. The clock beings from this date of receipt.
    • Open a registered file for each request.
    • Input the request details on the IT request tracking system.
    • Note the deadline for reply on the front of the file. (This deadline may be altered subsequently due to certain circumstances).
  2. Check that the Request comes within the scope of the FOI Act. This means that:

    1. The request was received in writing or other approved form.
    2. Refers to the FOI Act.
    3. Contains sufficient particulars to enable the records sought to be identified.
  3. Identify the appropriate decision maker(s)

    • Determine the appropriate decision-maker to handle the request.
    • If the decision is to be made at School/unit level, notify the decision-maker of the request and send a copy of the actual application.
  4. Acknowledge the Request

    • A letter of acknowledgement of receipt of the application is forwarded to the requester.

Processing the FOI Request in the Faculty / School or Unit

  1. Records relevant to the request

    • Search for and locate all records, which are relevant to the request.
    • Identify all steps taken to locate all records - seek signed confirmation from relevant divisions, if appropriate (a search checklist will be provided for this purpose)
    • Extract relevant electronic documents and print if the form of access is likely to be photocopies of the document.
  2. Making the Decision:

    • Number each page of the relevant file(s)
    • Copy all records that come within the scope of the request
    • Check each page for exempt material
    • Prepare a schedule of records (either manual or electronic)
    • Consider whether the records coming within the scope of the request contain third party information.
    • Undertake informal consultations with colleagues or other relevant persons as appropriate.
    • Consider any relevant public interest factors.
  3. Notifying of the decision to grant information:

    • Write a letter (which should be addressed to the Requester, but forwarded to the FOI Officer) advising the applicant of:
      1. the decision
      2. the day on which it was made
      3. the name and designation of the person dealing with the request (unless particular safety issues arise)
      4. the form and manner of access
      5. any fee payable
    • If no fee is payable, or if the amount of a deposit already received exceeds the amount of the fee, the record should be made available forthwith.
  4. Notifying of the Decision to refuse:

    • Write a letter (which should be addressed to the Requester, but forwarded to the FOI Officer) advising the applicant of:
      1. the decision
      2. the day on which it was made
      3. the name and designation of the person dealing with the request (unless particular safety issues arise)
      4. the reasons for refusal
      5. any provision of the Act pursuant to which the request is refused
      6. findings of any material issues relevant to the decision
      7. particulars of any matter taken into consideration
      8. particulars of rights of review and appeal, the procedure governing the exercise of those rights and the time limits governing such exercise

Review of the FOI Decision in the Faculty / Section - Process

A requester has a right to appeal the decision of an FOI decision-maker through the internal review process. This entails the internal reviewers(Vice President and Secretary) repeating the decision making process from point number 1 above and reviewing all relevant documentation and any supplemental information used in the decision-making process.The Vice President and Secretary are the internal reviewers except in cases where they have been involved in the original decision. If such cases should require internal review then the internal review will be carried out by the President of the University.

Time limits which the FOI officer must meet

Requirement

Time Limit

Section of the Act

Acknowledge Request

within 2 weeks of receipt of initial request

s.7(2)

Initial Decision on Request

within 4 weeks of receipt of initial request

s.8(1)

Transfer of Request to another public body

within 2 weeks of receipt of initial request

s. 7(3)

If consultation is required with third parties under section 29

notify third party within 2 weeks of receipt of request

make decision within 7 weeks of receipt of the request

s.29(2)

Extension of time limit in accordance with section 9

time limit may be extended for a maximum of 4 weeks in specific circumstances

s. 9(1)

Keep records available pending payment of a fee

8 weeks from issue of notification of decision

s. 8(3)(b)

Keep records available following payment of a fee

4 weeks from receipt of the fee

s.8(3)(a)

Delay release of third party information to allow him or her to appeal to Commissioner

2 weeks

s.44(2)(a)

Defer records

until the ‘specified day’ in accordance with section 11

s. 11

Internal Review

within 3 weeks of receipt of request for internal review

s.14(4)

Time limits which the Applicant must meet

Requirement

Time Limit

Section

Submit application for internal review

within 4 weeks of notification of initial decision

s. 14(7)

Submit application for review by the Commissioner

within 6 months of notification of decision by the public body

s. 34(4)(b)

Review of record in respect of which a Certificate has expired

within 28 days of the certificate being revoked, annulled or having expired

s.25(12)

Time limits which a third party must meet

Requirement

Time Limit

Section

Submit observations on proposed release of information

within 3 weeks of the request from the public body for obs

s.29(3)

Submit appeal to the Commissioner

within 2 weeks of receipt of notification of decision from the public body

s.34(4)(a)

Time limits which the Information Commissioner must meet

Requirement

Time Limit

Section

Dealing with an application for review

4 months (for first 3 years of Act)

3 months (for subsequent years)

s.34(3)(a)

s.34(3)(b)