Minister Howlin signs regulations to enhance the rights of citizens and businesses to re-use Public Sector Information

Issued 3 December 2015

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D., has signed statutory regulations which transpose Directive 2013/37/EU on the re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI) into Irish law, thereby enhancing the rights of Irish citizens and businesses to re-use existing information held by public bodies in new products and services.

Directive 2013/37/EU (which amends an earlier PSI Directive from 2003 (Directive 2003/98/EC)) affects how the information can be re-used, once it has been legitimately accessed, by placing obligations on the public sector to the benefits of re-users. It has amended the PSI regime established by the 2003 Directive in the following ways:

  • ·         The general principle underlying the PSI regime is changed to ensure that accessible documents are re-usable for commercial and non-commercial purposes;
  • ·         The fees chargeable by public sector bodies for re-use of documents are capped at marginal cost, with important exceptions;
  • ·         The means of redress available to a re-user must now include the possibility of review by an impartial body capable of making binding decisions (In Ireland, the Information Commissioner will take on this role);
  • ·         The scope of the regime is extended to documents held by museums, libraries and archives, with important differences around charging and permissions;
  • ·         There are new transparency requirements for situations in which charges are made. 

These enhancements to the EU-wide arrangements for access to Public Sector Information complement the Government’s overall open data agenda, which aims to encourage the making available of certain types of data and information held by public bodies (for example data on transport, education, crime and environment) for the benefit of citizens and organisations who wish to make use of it for either commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Referring to PSI and the Open Data agenda, Minister Howlin commented: 

Access to information and data, particularly as Open Data, is increasingly important in our modern digital society. I am confident that the potential of access to information and data to deliver real economic, social and democratic benefits across society will be enhanced by the amending Regulations on the re-use Public Sector Information that I signed, as well as the ongoing Open Data Initiative.

I will be requesting the recently established Open Data Governance Board to advise me on how best to ensure that the implementation of this Directive enables the release of appropriate public sector information as Open Data available for unrestricted re-use”.

ENDS 

Useful links: 

S.I. 525 of 2015 European Communities (Re-Use of Public Sector Information) (Amendment) Regulations

S.I. 279 of 2005 European Communities (Re-Use of Public Sector Information) Regulations

Circular 16/15 Re-use of Public Sector Information – Criteria for charges that may be applied by certain categories of public service body in permitting re-use of information

Consolidated text of the EU Directives (2003-2013) on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information

Claire Martinez

Press Officer

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Merrion Street

Dublin 2

D02 R583

Direct line: 01 6045306

Mobile: 0861839961

 

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