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Freedom of Information Act

Sections 15 & 16 Reference Book

31st May 2006


 


Preface

(Detailing - Background, Purpose of this Reference Book, How to use this Reference Book, Availability of this Book)

 


Background

This is The Drug Treatment Centre Boards FOI Sections 15 and 16 Reference Book – A Guide to the functions, records, rules and practices of The Drug Treatment Centre Board, 31 st May 2006 is compiled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Acts 1997, as amended by the Freedom of Information Act 2003. All references in this manual to the Freedom of Information Act or Acts refer to the 1997 Act as amended by the 2003 Act.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts, effective from 21st April 1998, establish three new statutory rights:

  • a legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies;
  • a legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
  • a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself.

The Acts assert 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.


Purpose of Reference Book

This reference book has been prepared and published in accordance with the requirements of Sections 15 and 16 of the FOI Acts.

In accordance with Section 15 of the Act, the purpose of this reference book is to facilitate access to official information held by The Drug Treatment Centre Board, by outlining the structure and functions of this organisation, details of the services we provide and how they may be availed of, information on the classes of records we hold, and information on how to make a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003.

Section 16 of the FOI Act requires us to publish a book containing:

  • the rules, procedures, practices, guidelines and interpretations used by the body, and an index of any precedents kept, for the purposes of decisions under any enactment or scheme administered by us ‘with respect to rights, privileges, benefits, obligations, penalties or other sanctions to which members of the public are or may be entitled or subject under the enactment or scheme’ together with
  • ‘appropriate information in relation to the manner or intended manner of administration of any such enactment or scheme.’


How to use this Reference Book

This book is divided into a number of parts.

Part 1 of the Book - Access to Information - explains how to access information from us under FOI and any fees that may arise.

Part 2 of the Book- the “Our Role and Structure” - outlines the role of The Drug Treatment Centre Board and its organisational structure. This part gives a breakdown of our internal structure and organisation. Information is provided under the following headings:

  • Role – outlines the main work we do.
  • Structure – gives details of our structure.
  • Work we do – provides a synopsis of our main activities.
  • Classes of records held – details records we hold.
  • Contact points– how to contact us for assistance.
  • Rules and Practices – this information is provided in accordance with Section 16 of the FOI Act as amended. Where we provide any scheme impacting on the public within the meaning of Section 16 of the Act, as outlined under the heading Purpose of Reference Book earlier, then the rules and practices that we use in delivery of this scheme are outlined or referenced under the Rules and Practices heading.


Appendices

  • Appendix 1 FOI application form to request access to records under the Act from The Drug Treatment Centre Board.


Availability of this Book

Copies of this publication are available free of charge from:-

Freedom of Information Section,
The Drug Treatment Centre Board,
McCarthy Centre,
30-31 Pearse Street,
Dublin 2.

Telephone:    01-6488 600
Fax:     01-6488 700


Part 1 - Access to Information

How to get information

Routinely Available Information

Our website www.addictionireland.ie can provide the following information:-

  • General Information about the Drug Treatment Centre Board
  • Services Provided
  • Research & Training
  • News (e.g. press releases)
  • Research
  • Information on Events & Seminars
  • Publications (including Annual Reports)
  • Frequently Asked Questions (Drugs)
  • Careers with the Drug Treatment Centre Board

Applications under the FOI Act

Under the FOI Act, anyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available. Each person has a right to:

  • Access to records held by us not covered by one of the exemptions in the Act.
  • Correction of personal information relating to oneself held by us where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading.
  • Access to reasons for decisions made by us directly affecting oneself.

The following records come within the scope of the Act:

  • All records relating to personal information held by us irrespective of when created.
  • All other records created from commencement date of the Act i.e. 21st April 1998.
  • Any other records necessary to the understanding of a current record.
  • Personnel records of serving staff created from 21st April 1995 and those created prior to that date where they are being used or proposed to be used in a way which adversely affects or may affect the person involved.

We will normally be obliged to respond to a request within 4 weeks. A week is defined in the Act to mean 5 consecutive weekdays, excluding Saturdays and public holidays (Sundays are also excluded, as they are not week days).

Exempt Records

Part III of the Act specifies categories of records that are exempt. The following are only some exemptions and relate to:

  • Key areas of government activity
  • Functions and negotiations of public bodies
  • Parliamentary and court matters
  • Law enforcement, public safety, defences, security etc.

Applications under the FOI Act should be addressed to:

Ms Fionnuala Rafferty,
Freedom of Information Section,
The Drug Treatment Centre Board,
McCarthy Centre,
30-31 Pearse Street,
Dublin 2.


Compiling your application

(i)   Your application should be in writing and, if applicable, accompanied by the appropriate fee (see "fees" below). The relevant fee should be paid by Bank Draft, Money Order, Postal Order or cheque drawn on a bank in the Republic of Ireland, made payable to The Drug Treatment Centre Board.

You may use the form entitled ‘Request for Information under the Freedom of Information Acts’ which is widely available or OUR version of this form (see Appendix 1). This form is also available from our website www.addictionireland.ie.

If you are not using the form outlined above, then your application should indicate that the information is sought under the Freedom of Information Act.

(ii)   If you require a reply in a particular format i.e. photocopy, computer disk, etc. please mention this in your application.

(iii)    Please be as detailed and as specific as possible when compiling your application as this will assist us in dealing with it. It can also result in lesser charges being incurred on search and retrieval in cases where these fall to be paid. Where possible please try to indicate the time period for which you wish to access records e.g. records created between May 2003 and December 2003. If you have any difficulty in preparing your application our staff will be happy to assist you in this regard.

(iv)   You may be required to prove your identity, especially when seeking personal information, so you may, therefore, be asked to produce your Birth Certificate, Driving Licence, Passport or other form of identity.

(v)   Please include a daytime telephone number, if possible, so that you may be contacted quickly if it is necessary to clarify details of your request.

We are happy to provide assistance to members of the public who seek advice on making a request.

Assistance to persons with a disability

We are available to provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act (e.g. accepting oral requests from requesters who are unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability, enabling the requester to inspect or have records explained to him or her).

FOI Decision Making in The Drug Treatment Centre Board

Decisions are made at Grade 8 level (equivalent and above) and Internal Appeals are made to the General Manager.

We acknowledge receipt of FOI applications not later than 2 weeks following their receipt. Clarification may be sought by the FOI section and/or the decision maker directly with the applicant. The Decision Maker will then make a decision on the matter.

Rights of Review and Appeal

The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties. Where a Public Body invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be the subject of appeal. Details of the appeals mechanisms are as follows:

Internal Review

You may seek internal review of the initial decision which will be carried out by the General Manager if:

(a)    you are dissatisfied with the initial response received i.e. refusal of information, form of access, charges, etc., or

(b)   you have not received a reply within 4 weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to internal review.

Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing and, if applicable, accompanied by the appropriate fee, (see under Fees) to:

General Manager,
The Drug Treatment Centre Board,
McCarthy Centre,
30-31 Pearse Street,
Dublin 2.

The relevant fee should be paid by Bank Draft, Money Order, Postal Order or cheque drawn on a bank in the Republic of Ireland, made payable to The Drug Treatment Centre Board.

Such a request for internal review must be submitted within 4 weeks of the initial decision. We must complete the review within 3 weeks. Internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

 

Review by the Information Commissioner

Following completion of internal review, you may seek independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner. Also if you have not received a reply to your application for internal review within 3 weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Information Commissioner.

Appeals in writing, and, if applicable, accompanied by the appropriate fee, (see under Fees below) may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:

Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street,
Dublin 2

Telephone:    01-6395689
Fax:     01-6395676
E-mail:   info@oic.ie
Website:    http://www.oic.ie

Fees

Application fees

A standard application fee of €15 must accompany an FOI request made under section 7 of the Act for a record or records containing non-personal information.

A reduced fee of €10 applies if the person making such a request is covered by a medical card.

The following requests/applications are exempt from application fees:

(a) A request under section 7 for a record or records containing only personal information related to the requester.

(b) An application under section 17 (right of amendment of records relating to personal information).

(c) An application under section 18 (right of person to information regarding acts of pubic bodies affecting the person).

 

Internal review fees

A standard application fee of €75 must accompany an application for internal review under section 14 of the Act.

A reduced fee of €25 applies if the person bringing the application is a medical card holder or a dependant of a medical card holder.

The following internal review applications are exempt:

(a) An application in relation to a decision concerning records containing only personal information related to the applicant.

(b) An application in relation a decision under section 17 (right of amendment of records relating to personal information).

(c) An application in relation to a decision under section 18 (right of person to information regarding acts of public bodies affecting the person).

(d) An application in relation to a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a particular amount.

(e) An appeal of a decision which is deemed to be refused because the original request was not replied to within the required time limits.

Review by Information Commissioner

A standard application fee of €150 must accompany applications to the Information Commissioner for review of decisions made by public bodies under section 34 of the Act.

A reduced fee of €50 applies if

(a)   the person bringing the application is a medical card holder or a dependant of a medical card holder or

(b)   the person is specified in section 29(2) i.e. a third party with the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner where a public body decides to release their information on public interest grounds.

The following applications to the Information Commissioner do not require an application fee:

(a) An application concerning records containing only personal information related to the applicant.

(b) An application in relation a decision under section 17 (right of amendment of records relating to personal information).

(c) An application in relation to a decision under section 18 (right of person to information regarding acts of pubic bodies affecting the person).

(d) An application in relation to a decision to charge a fee or deposit exceeding €25.00 under section 47 in respect of search and retrieval and photocopying of records (decisions in relation to the charging of fees or deposits for search and retrieval and/or photocopying of less than €25 are not subject to review by the Information Commissioner).

(d) An application in relation to a decision to charge a fee under section 47(6A), or a fee of a particular amount under section 47(6A), on the grounds that the records concerned do not contain only personal information related to the requester or the requester is not a medical card holder or a dependant of a medical card holder.

(e) An appeal of an internal review decision which is deemed to be refused because that decision was not made within the required time limits.

 

Search and Retrieval and photocopying fees

Fees may also be charged for search and retrieval of records as follows:

  • In respect of personal records, fees in respect of the cost of copying the records requested will apply.
  • In respect of other (non-personal) information, fees may be charged in respect of the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records, based on a standard hourly rate of €20.95. No charges shall apply in respect of the time spent by public bodies in considering requests.

A deposit may be payable where the total fee is likely to exceed €50.79. In these circumstances, we will, if requested, assist the member of the public to amend the request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.

Charges may be waived in the following circumstances:

  • where the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee would exceed the amount of the fee; or
  • where the information would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance; or
  • in the case of personal information, where such charges would not be reasonable having regard to the means of the requester.

Section 47 of the FOI Act sets out the rules for applying search and retrieval fees. Fees are currently set as follows in accordance with Statutory Instruments Nos. 264 of 2003, 139 of 1998 and 13 of 1997:

  • €20.95 per hour - search and retrieval
  • €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
  • €0.51 for a 3½ inch computer diskette
  • €10.16 for a CD-ROM
  • €6.35 for a Radiograph (X-Ray)

 


Part 2 – Our Role and Structure

Our Mission Statement

The mission of The Drug Treatment Centre Board is:

To provide an integrated, person centred, specialist addiction service, supported by best practice and national leadership in academic excellence.

Our Vision Statement

The vision of The Drug Treatment Centre Board is:

As the largest and longest established Addiction Treatment (Day) Centre in the country, our aim is to continue providing a broad range of specialist treatments for a variety of drug using populations and those requiring psychiatric, psychological, social and medical interventions. We also aim to:

  • Continue improving and developing the services we offer in the treatment of substance misuse
  • Contribute to drug treatment policy and
  • Act as a key resource and training centre for professionals working in the area of substance misuse.

Our Policy on Confidentiality

We undertake to treat as confidential any information provided in confidence by individuals or others, subject to our obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Act. If, for any reason, you wish that information provided to us should not be disclosed because of its sensitive nature, then you must, when supplying the information, make clear this wish and specify the reasons for the information’s sensitivity. We will consult with you before making a decision on any Freedom of Information request received involving sensitive information which you may have supplied.

Information on our Structure and Organisation

S.I. No. 76/1988: THE DRUG TREATMENT CENTRE BOARD (ESTABLISHMENT) ORDER, 1988.

S.I. No. 222/1991: THE DRUG TREATMENT CENTRE BOARD (ESTABLISHMENT) ORDER, 1988 (AMENDMENT) ORDER, 1991.

S.I. No. 296/1992: THE DRUG TREATMENT CENTRE BOARD (ESTABLISHMENT) ORDER, 1988 (AMENDMENT) ORDER, 1992.

Role

THE DRUG TREATMENT CENTRE BOARD (ESTABLISHMENT) ORDER, 1988 (AMENDMENT) ORDER, 1992.

The Minister for Health, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by sections 3 to 6 of the Health (Corporate Bodies) Act, 1961 (No. 27 of 1961) hereby orders as follows:—

  1. This Order may be cited as the Drug Treatment Centre Board (Establishment) Order, 1988 (Amendment) Order, 1992.
  2. 2. The Drug Treatment Centre Board (Establishment) Order 1988 (S.I. No. 76 of 1988) is hereby amended—

     ( a ) by the substitution for Article 4 of the following Article:

The functions of the Board are as follows:—

( a ) to organise and administer at the Centre such out-patient drug treatment service as may from time to time be approved by the Minister;

( b ) to organise and administer at the Centre a toxicology laboratory service including the processing of blood samples, liver function tests and urine analyses;

( c ) to refer patients who attend the Centre for appropriate in-patient treatment when necessary;

( d ) to provide an ante-natal and post-natal service for female drug abusers;

( e ) to communicate, co-operate and co-ordinate with other bodies in promoting the prevention of drug abuse;

( f ) to communicate, co-operate and co-ordinate with other bodies providing services for drug abusers;

( g ) to provide a counselling and advisory service for those who attend the Centre;

( h ) to organise and administer a counselling and advisory service for former patients of the Centre;

( i ) to organise and provide or to arrange for the provision of relevant occupational rehabilitation programmes for drug misusers in association with the relevant statutory agencies;

( j ) to provide and organise training programmes for personnel involved in the treatment of drug misusers in association with the appropriate statutory and non-statutory agencies;

( k ) to provide advice, information and guidance to personnel involved in the treatment and/or care of drug misusers;

( l ) to make any necessary provision for publicity in relation to the Centre;

( m ) to make such charges as the Board thinks fit for the services provided and, where the Minister gives any direction in relation to such charges, to comply with such direction;

( n ) to furnish advice, information and assistance in relation to its services to the Minister.

 

(2) In the discharge of its functions, the Board shall have regard to such general aims and objectives as the Minister may from time to time determine and convey to the Board

Structure

"5 (1) The Board shall consist of ten members appointed by the Minister of whom:—

( a ) three shall be nominated by the Charitable Infirmary Charitable Trust,

( b ) one shall be nominated by the regional Health Boards, other than the Eastern Health Board,

( c ) one shall be nominated by the Eastern Health Board,

( d ) three shall be nominated by the Minister for Health,

( e ) one shall be nominated by the IrishCollege of General Practitioners, and

(f) one shall be nominated to represent the statutory training and occupational rehabilitation services.

(3) On nominating a person to be a member pursuant to sub-article (1) of this article the Minister shall make one of the nominations therein referred to, to represent the voluntary agencies involved in the treatment of drug misusers.

(4) The Minister shall appoint one of the members of the Board to be Chairman of the Board.".

Classes of records held

  • Client Files
  • Human Resources Files
  • Financial Files
  • Administration Files

Contact points

The Drug Treatment Centre Board,
McCarthy Centre,
30-31 Pearse Street,
Dublin 2.

Telephone:    01-6488600
Fax:      01-6488700

 

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