Freedom of information

Functions

The functions of the Freedom of Information Office are to ensure organisational compliance with the Health Information and Quality Authority, obligations under the Freedom of Information Acts (FOI), 1997 and 2003, the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003 and the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000.

What is Freedom of Information?

The Health Information and Quality Authority is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1997 with effect from 15th May 2007.

The Freedom of Information Act established 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

The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals.

The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 - which came into effect in July 2003 - made a number of amendments to the 1997 Act, notably in relation to Fees.

Read Freedom of Information The First Decade from the Office of the Information Commissioner.

How does it work?

The Act requires the Health Information and Quality Authority to -

  • Respond to requests for information from the public, by acknowledging receipt of the request within two weeks and releasing or, making the decision to withhold, information within four weeks (this may be extended).

Publish two manuals and make them available on to the Public

  • Section 15 Manual
  • Section 16 Manual

The Health Information and Quality Authority had prepared guidelines in accordance with Section 15 and Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and 2003.
You can download the Authority's Guide here.

View Freedom of Information Legislation

Please visit the Department of Finance website.

Confidentiality Statement

The Health Information and Quality Authority undertake to treat as confidential any information provided to the Health Information and Quality Authority in confidence by individuals or others, subject to our obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.

If, for any reason, you wish that information provided to us should not be disclosed because of its sensitive nature, then you must, when supplying the information, make clear this wish and specify the reasons for the information's sensitivity.

The Health Information and Quality Authority will consult with you before making a decision on any Freedom of Information request received involving sensitive information which you may have supplied.

How to contact the office-

Ms. Meiread Ashe
Freedom of Information Officer
The Health Information and Quality Authority,
George's Court
George's Lane
Dublin 7

Or
E-mail: mashe@hiqa.ie

When making a Freedom of Information request

You must make a request in writing and sign your letter.  Please use the Freedom of Information request form.

Proof of identity will be sought before access to personal information is granted.
You must state that it is being made under the Freedom of Information Act, 1997.

You must state clearly the exact records/information being requested.

You must state clearly the way in which you wish to receive the records/information, for example, to view the original at the Health Information and Quality Authority office or to receive photocopies of the original.

Assistance to Persons with a Disability

The Freedom of Information Officer is available to provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act (e.g., accepting oral requests from requesters who are unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability, enabling the requester to inspect or have records explained to him or her).

Is there a fee involved in making a request?

Yes. Fees for Freedom of Information requests were introduced under the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003. The fees came into force on 7 July 2003. A reduced fee will apply if the person making the request is a medical card holder or a dependant of a medical card holder.

Type of Request/Application

Standard Fee*

Reduced Fee* and **

Request for a record under section 7

 

 

Initial Request

€15

€10

Internal Appeal

€75

€25

Appeal to Information Commissioner

€150

€50

Application under section 17 for amendment of a record containing incorrect, incomplete or misleading personal information

No charge

No charge

Application under section 18 for the reasons for a decision affecting the individual

No charge

No charge

* Fee will not apply where a person appeals a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a particular amount under section 47 of the FOI Act

** Reduced fee will apply in respect of third parties who appeal a decision of a public body to release their information on public interest grounds.

Please note that a request for non personal information will only be processed upon receipt of initial request fee.

Is there a fee for the time spent finding records and for the cost of photocopying?

Yes, fees may also be charged for the time spent finding records and for any photocopying costs incurred by them in providing you with the material requested, as follows -

  • For personal records, fees in respect of the cost of copying the records only will apply
  • For other (non-personal) information, fees may be charged in respect of the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records, based on a standard hourly rate, to be prescribed by the Minister of Finance
  • No charges will apply in respect of time spent by the local authority in considering your request
  • A deposit may be payable by you and in these circumstances, you may request assistance from our staff to amend your request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.

Waiver of Fees

Fees may be waived in the following circumstances:

  • where the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee would exceed the amount payable; or,
  • where the information would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance; or,
  • in the case of personal information, where such charges would not be reasonable, having regard to the means of the requester.