I asked this question with a view to the F.O.I re: pay parking I initiated with great difficulty; that the council outline its protocol and role with respect to freedom of information requests made officially by councillors both in general and in particular as it relates to the ongoing attempt to get information previously available to contractors or in the public domain (i.e. not commercially sensitive) regarding pay-parking contracts in Newbridge.
Report, issued by G Duff, Acting Senior Executive Officer, Roads Transportation and Public Safety. The Council’s role in respect of a Freedom of Information Request made by a Councillor is no different to its role in respect of a Freedom of Inforamtion Request made by any member of the public i.e the Freedom of Information Act 2014 accords the same status to public representativies as to any member of the public. The role of the Council in respect of a Freedom of Information Request is specified in four subsections of the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
Section 12(2) of the Act states – the head (i.e the head of the Freedom of Information body) shall cause the receipt by him or her of a Request under Subsection (1) to be notified, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, to the requester concerned as soon as may be but not later than two weeks after such receipt, and the notification shall include a summary of the provisions of Section 19 (i.e a Request is deemed to be refused if a decision is not issued within the period specified) and particulars of the rights of review under this Act, the procedure governing the exercise of those rights and the time limits governing such exercise, in a case to which that Section applies.
Section 13(1) of the Act states – Subject to this Act a head (i.e the head of Freedom of Information body) shall, as soon as may be, but not later than four weeks, after the receipt of a Freedom of Information Request decide whether to grant or refuse to grant the Request or to grant it in part; if he or she decides to grant the Request, whether wholly or in part, determine the form and manner in which the right of access will be exercised and cause notice, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, of the donation and determination to be given to the requester concerned.
Section 21(2) of the Act states – Subject to this Section, the head of the Freedom of Information body concerned, on application to him or her in that behalf , in writing or in such other form as may be determined, by a relevant person may review a decision to which this section applies and , following the review, may, as he or she considers appropriate – affirm or vary the decision or annul the decision and , if appropriate, make such decision in relation to the matter as her or she considers proper, in accordance with this Act.
Section 21(4) of the Act states – A decision under Subsection (2) shall be made, and the head (i.e the head of the Freedom of Information body) concerned shall cause notice thereof, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, to be given to the relevant person and any other person whom he or she considers should be notified thereof, not later than three weeks after the receipt by the head of the application for the review under that subsection concerned.
It should be noted that the Act defines a week as a period of five consecutive weekdays excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. It should also be noted that the Act provides for the delegation of any of the functions of the head of Freedom of Information body (i.e the Chief Executive in the case of Kildare County Council) to member(s) of staff of the Freedom of Information body. In the case of Kildare County Council those functions have been delegated to a designated person in each Department/Office of the Council. The Decision Review function has be delegated to a designated Director of Service.