Minister Howlin announces Model Publication Scheme under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 & extension of FOI to a number of public bodies

Issued 14 October 2015

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D., today (14 October 2015) announced the publication of the Model Publication Scheme under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014. 

The Model Publication Scheme and related Guidance were developed through a consultative process involving all FOI bodies and the Office of the Information Commissioner as well as public consultation. 

Publishing the Scheme, the Minister stated:

“FOI bodies should publish as much information as possible in an open and accessible manner on a routine basis outside of FOI, having regard to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability as set out in the Act”. 

The Model Scheme sets out information to be published about the FOI body under six headings, making information available and easy to find - 

  • ·         “What we are and what we do” 
  • ·         Services provided to the public
  • ·         Decision-making processes for major policy proposals
  • ·         “What we spend and how we spend”
  • ·         Information on procurement  
  • ·         Other information which the FOI body intends to publish routinely.

FOI bodies will now have six months to prepare and publish their own Publication Schemes together with the underlying documentation.

Minister Howlin said:-

“The 14th of October marks one year since the Freedom of Information Act 2014 entered into force.  The publication of the Model Publication Scheme concludes a significant requirement under the Act and will ensure that FOI bodies are more proactive in the publication of official information which should, in turn, negate the need for such information to be sought via FOI”.

Minister Howlin also noted that October 14th is a significant date in terms of the delivery of the commitment in the Programme for Government to extend FOI, as it comes into effect for:

  • ·         An Garda Síochána
  • ·         Iarnród Éireann
  • ·         Gas Networks Ireland
  • ·         EirGrid plc
  • ·         ESB Networks Ltd

Notes to Editor

  • ·         The Model Publication Scheme should be read in conjunction with the Model Publication Scheme Guidance.
  • ·         The 5 bodies listed above become public bodies for the purposes of FOI on 14 October 2015. From that date, records created or held by the 5 bodies may be sought with retrospection applying to the standard date set out in the FOI Act 2014, 21 April 2008.