The Code of Practice is published by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in accordance with Section 48 of the FOI Act 2014.
Section 48 also provides that the Minister may develop and issue guidelines under the Code; and that public bodies shall have regard to the Code and any guidelines made under it in the performance of any function under the FOI legislation.
The Code of Practice sets out a step by step approach:
- to ensure effective structures, supports and resources are in place in public bodies to facilitate the implementation of FOI in line with best practice;
- to have a strong, expert and authoritative leadership role exercised by the FOI Central Policy Unit (CPU) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Which will guide, support, provide knowledge and expertise to ensure the effective and efficient operation of FOI in public bodies;
- to support FOI networks that provide an excellent means of sharing learning and expertise and which assist in the development of common approaches, and to create and maintain a close working relationship between them and the FOI CPU;
- to improve procedures and practices to facilitate requesters and enhance compliance by public bodies with the Act;
- to provide guidance to support user interests and decision-makers so as to secure good practice and consistency in implementing the Act;
- to ensure sustained training to maintain good FOI practice across public bodies;
- to ensure clear guidance within public bodies in relation to records management, including data creation and routine record retention and destruction, in order to assist the efficient retrieval of information; and
- to promote, as a standard practice, the pro-active publication of information outside of FOI
These are living documents which will continue to be reviewed and updated by the CPU in line with FOI developments nationally.