Section 8 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish a scheme concerning the publication of information by the body in conformity with a model publication scheme and guidelines made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in October 2014. This approach allows for the publication or giving of records outside of FOI provided that such publication or giving of access is not prohibited by law. Furthermore, all FOI bodies are required to 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 Sections 8(5) and 11(3) of the FOI Act 2014 and having regard to the Code of Conduct which was drawn up in accordance with Section 48 of that Act.
Publication Scheme Prepared by the Charities Regulator
The Charities Regulator has prepared its FOI Publication Scheme in accordance with the Model Publication Scheme and guidelines made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This Scheme commits the Charities Regulator to make information available as part of its normal business activities. Publication of documents which are not exempt under the Scheme is in line with the intention of the Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information, and the obligation under that Directive to publish information and ensure that it is accessible and re-usable for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
In preparing its Scheme, the Charities Regulator has had regard to the public interest in:
(a) Allowing public access to information held by the Charities Regulator;
(b) The publication of reasons for decisions made by the Charities Regulator; and
(c) Publishing information of relevance or interest to the general public in relation to the Charities Regulator’s activities and functions generally.
The Information in the Scheme has been grouped into six classes listed in the Model Publication Scheme and guidelines by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. These six classes are:
6 Classes of the Publication Scheme
Information about the FOI Body
Services Provided or to be Provided to the Public
Decision Making process for major policy proposals
FOI Disclosure Log and Other Information to be Published Routinely
In addition to publishing the scheme on the Charities Regulator website, Section 8(6) of the FOI Act provides that a printed version of the basic scheme should be available at the offices of the Charities Regulator for a member of the public to view during normal office hours. Should a member of the public wish to view the printed version of the basic scheme, they can contact the FOI Unit at FOI@Charitiesregulator.ie to arrange an appointment to this effect.