Welcome to Stewarts Care Ltd.’s Freedom of Information (FOI) section of the website
These pages are intended to assist you in exercising your rights under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and to assist Stewarts Care Ltd.’s staff members in answering requests.
As a major provider of services to people with intellectual disability Freedom of Information legislation applies to Stewarts Care Ltd. Stewarts Care Ltd undertakes to protect any information provided to it by individuals or others on a confidential basis, subject to Stewarts Care Ltd.’s obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
1. What is Freedom of Information?
The Freedom of Information Act 2014 was signed into law on 14 October 2014. The new Act can be viewed by clicking on:
The Act provides for a Code of Practice for Freedom of Information for Public Bodies and this can be viewed by clicking on the following link:
FOI CPU Code of Practice Dec 2014
The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals.
2. What are your rights under the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act, 2014 provides that every person has the following legal rights:
- the right to access personal and official records held by Stewarts Care Ltd;
- the right to have personal information held by Stewarts Care Ltd on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by Stewarts Care Ltd that affect them.
These legal rights are subject to exemptions with regard to public interest and the right to privacy.
3. How can a request be made to Stewarts Care Ltd?
You can make a request in writing, by using the following form: FOI Application Form 2015 or by email below. For further information and assistance in making a request, please contact:
The Freedom of Information Officer,
Stewarts Care Ltd,
4. Can I get access to any information that I seek?
You may request access to any information held by Stewarts Care Ltd.
However, in certain circumstances it may be necessary to exempt from release, certain types of information. These include:
- Personal Information (If the information does not relate to the person making the request).
- Information supplied to Stewarts Care Ltd in confidence.
- Information relating to commercial business that is deemed commercially sensitive.
If, for any reason, it is wished that information provided to Stewarts Care Ltd should not be disclosed because of its sensitive nature, the person or body should, when supplying the information, make clear this wish and specify the reasons for the information sensitivity. Stewarts Care Ltd will consult with any individual or body so supplying sensitive information before making a decision on any Freedom of Information request received.
- How requests are handled by Stewarts Care Ltd?
Stewarts Care Ltd must adhere to strict time-limits for the processing of requests, as follows:
- Applications will be acknowledged within two weeks of receipt of a request.
- Applications will be replied to within four weeks of receipt of a request.
Stewarts Care Ltd may extend the four week time-limit for replying to requests if:
- The request relates to a very large number of records.
- A large number of requests have been received from different applicants for the same records.
In the event of Stewarts Care Ltd having to defer its reply on these grounds, applicants will receive notification before the end of the four week period. They will also be given the reasons for the delay.
If a request is granted, the applicant will be told in writing:
- That the request has been granted.
- The name of the person who granted the request.
- The day on which the decision was made.
- The format in which the record will be released.
- The fee for searches, if applicable.
If a request is refused, the applicant will be told in writing:
- That the request has been refused and the reasons for the refusal.
- The name of the person who decided to refuse the record.
- The rights of review and appeal as set out below.
6. What can I do if my request has been refused, deferred or only partially granted?
The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage interests of third parties or the public good known as the public interest. If the initial decision maker decides to withhold information the requester may submit a request to have the matter reviewed by Stewarts Care Ltd.’s internal reviewer. In addition decisions about, delaying access to records, charges for searches and the form in which access is granted, may also be reviewed.
Requests for internal review must be submitted in writing, or by email, within four weeks of the original decision. The request should be made to:
The Freedom of Information Officer,
Stewarts Care Ltd,
Tel: 01 6518236
Stewarts Care Ltd must complete its internal review and notify the applicant within three weeks of receiving the request.
Note - An application for an internal review that is not completed within three weeks is deemed to be a refusal. The applicant can then proceed to review by the Information Commissioner without waiting for Stewarts Care Ltd to communicate its decision.
Review by the Information Commissioner
Following completion of the internal review, an applicant may seek an independent external review from the Information Commissioner.
Appeals to the Information Commissioner
Appeals to the Information Commissioner must be made in writing within six months and sent to the following address: -
Office of the Information Commissioner,
18 Lower Leeson, Dublin 2.
Telephone: 01 678 5222
Fax: 01 661 0570
Note - The Information Commissioner will advise an applicant of their decision within four months.
Appeal to the High Court:
A person affected by a decision of the Information Commissioner may appeal to the High Court on a Point of Law only.
7. Is it always necessary to use the FOI Act to request access to records/information?
NO - You may be able to obtain the information you seek by other means such as:
- By accessing Stewarts Care Ltd.’s website at – www.stewartscare.ie
- By making a request in writing to the relevant head of the department of Stewarts Care Ltd where you know the record/information is held.
- By talking to the relevant staff of Stewarts Care Ltd who deal with the records/ information you request.
8. Is there a charge for accessing information under the FOI Act?
No fees will be charged for personal records.
Fees may be charged as follows:
- For non-personal information, fees may be charged for the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records, No fee may be levied for the cost of time involved in considering an application under the Act once the records have been retrieved.
- There is a minimum threshold of €101 below which no search, retrieval and copying fees can be charged. Once the charge reaches €101, full fees apply;
- There is a cap on the amount of search, retrieval and copying fees that can be charged of €500;
- There is a further upper limit on estimated search, retrieval and copying fees at €700 above which an FOI body can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below the limit;
- The fee for internal review under Section 21 is now €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependants)
- The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner under Section 22 is now €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants).
Charges may be waived in the following circumstances:
- Where the administrative cost of collecting the fee exceeds the amount to be charged.
- Where the information requested would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance.