Guidelines for Staff Handling FOI Requests

Guidelines for Staff in relation to FOI Requests

 

What will I, as a staff member, have to do with an FOI request?

All requests are processed centrally, in the first instance, by the FOI Officer / Information Governance Office, before being assigned to the most relevant local Decision Maker. Other staff are not expected to communicate directly with the Requester.

If you receive an FOI request, or are unsure if you have received an FOI request, please contact the FOI Officer / Information Governance Office immediately, and forward the request to foi@tudublin.ie.

The response to an FOI request is co-ordinated by a local area Decision Maker or, in the case that a request relates to multiple areas, by the FOI Officer / Information Governance Office.

If you are asked by a Decision Maker or by the FOI Officer / Information Governance Office to provide copies of records as part of a response to an FOI request, your full co-operation is required and is very much appreciated.

You will be given all the necessary details for you to locate the appropriate records.

Please return the requested records within the deadline given to you by the Decision Maker - FOI Officer / Information Governance Office.

This is important as, under the FOI Act, a late response can be considered to be a refusal to grant the information requested.

 

How do I, as a staff member, recognise an FOI request?

A request under the FOI Act must be in writing and must state that it is made under the FOI Act 2014.

It also has to contain enough information for the record to be identified.

Any such request should be sent to the FOI Officer / Information Governance Office at foi@tudublin.ie as soon as possible.

 

Do I as, a staff member, have to action FOI requests immediately?

Yes, all aspects of FOI processing are subject to time limits specified in the Act.

Everyone involved in processing must do so as quickly as possible within those limits.

 

Can incorrect personal information be deleted from a file?

Incorrect personal information may be altered, or deleted from a file under the Act.

However care must be taken not to delete information which formed the basis of a decision in a case, where removing the information may expose the University to some risk.

 

Can I, as a staff member, make an FOI request?

Yes, anyone can make a FOI request.

 

Can I, as a staff member, see my personnel records?

TU Dublin already has a scheme under which staff members can see their personnel records without having to submit a FOI request.

Please contact the Human Resources Department directly to arrange this.

 

Can other people see information about me?

It is possible that an individual’s personal information may be released to another person without their consent in two circumstances provided for in the Act i.e. when release would benefit the person whose information it is or where there is a greater public interest in release than in the privacy rights of the person.

 

What if something libellous has to be released?

Decision Makers are protected under the Act from various legal consequences of releasing records.

This protection includes protection against an action for libel.

 

As a staff member, do I have less privacy?

Certain information about members of staff is not defined as "personal information" and it therefore cannot be exempted under the Act.

However this information simply concerns your position, the terms and conditions of employment, and matters recorded while doing your job.

These are not matters concerning your private life, but rather your public role.

 

Is my diary, as a staff member, a record?

Any paper or electronic diary which is used in part or in whole for recording work-related information, is a record for the purposes of the Act.

 

Can you find out who made an allegation about you?

The Act protects the identity of a confidential source of information in relation to the law if it satisfies the conditions set out in Section 35 of the Act.

In general you should be able to find out the substance of an allegation made against you under FOI.

 

What about contractors who do work for us?

The records generated by contractors in the course of performing their services under contract are covered by FOI and must be provided to the University to make a decision on access to them.