The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon came under the Act in late October 2000. The Freedom of information (FOI) Act establishes three new statutory rights:
- a legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies..;
- a legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
- a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself (refers only to decisions taken on or after the Act applied to the Arts Council).
The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information in possession of the Arts Council to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right of privacy of individuals.
The FOI Act is designed to allow public access to information held by public bodies which is NOT routinely available through other sources. Access to information under the Act is subject to certain exemptions and involves specific procedures and time limits.
FOI decision making in the Arts Council
All requests for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 are dealt with as follows:
We acknowledge receipt of FOI applications not later than two weeks and an internal FOI Decision Maker is assigned. The decision maker proceeds to deal with the request, liaise with the requester as appropriate and make a decision on the matter within four weeks of the request being received. There are some limited situations under the FOI Act which could mean that the period for a final decision may be longer than this. If this occurs we will advise you.
Rights of Review and Appeal
The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties. Where a Public Body invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be the subject of appeal. Details of the appeals mechanisms are as follows:
You may seek internal review of the initial decision which will be carried out by an official at a higher level if
(a) you are dissatisfied with the initial response received i.e. refusal of information, form of access, charges, etc., or
(b) you have not received a reply within four weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to internal review.
Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing and, if applicable, accompanied by the appropriate fee, to:
The Arts Council
70 Merrion Square
Such a request for internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. We must complete the review within three weeks. Internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Office of the Information Commissioner.
Review by the Information Commissioner
Following completion of internal review, you may seek independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner. Also if you have not received a reply to your application for internal review within three weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Information Commissioner.
Appeals in writing, and, if applicable, accompanied by the appropriate fee, may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:
Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Fax: 01 6395676
Follow this link for a list of recent decisions relating to non personal requests
Application and fees
Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts, 2014, and of the relevant regulations, in certain cases a fee must be paid at the time of the making of a request or an appeal. Details of application fees can be found here. A freedom of information request application form can be found here