Essay on Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014

The Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014 provides the right to use information held by public authorities such as local authorities, governmental departments, state schools, NHS, and police forces. However, the Act does not essentially cover up every organization that collects public money. Irish Government has first published the proposals for Freedom of Information Act in 1997 that states if any individual wants to see the information held by public authority, they need to make a data protection subject access request.

The Freedom of Information Act does not give access to personal data that includes a credit reference file or any health records. Public authorities use money collected from taxpayers and make crucial decisions that can affect the lives of many people. If there is unnecessary secrecy in the government authorities then it can lead to imperfect decision-making and egotism in governance. The Act allows public members to be better informed and more productive with access to information and public authority’s actions.

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Principles behind Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014

The Act gives access to acknowledge the official information and thus improve public trust and confidence. The major principles of the Act include:

  • People have the right to know or be familiar with the public authority’s activities. The information by the public authorities should be kept private only if the government has a valid reason and permitted by the Act.
  • The requester should not give any reason to want the information. On the other hand, the government must justify the reason, in case if they refuse to provide information.
  • The public authorities should treat all the requests for information from foreign researchers, journalists, employees, or any other public member equally. However, under certain circumstances related to vexatious requests, they can decline to provide information.

Public authorities covered under the Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014

The Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014 covers only the public authorities such as:

  • Government departments
  • Parish councils
  • National Gallery
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Executive Agencies
  • Department for Transport

Following bodies are also covered in the public authorities for some of the information they hold:

  • Dentists, GPs, and other healthcare workers can provide information only about their NHS work
  • Channel 4, the BBC, and the public service broadcasters do not have the right to provide information about literary, journalistic, or artistic activities
  • Some bodies having judicial functions should not supply information about private functions.

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Sample essay on Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014

Title: Information covered by the Freedom of Information Act 2003 and 2014

The Act is not limited to official documents or the information created but also covers notes, emails, telephone conversations, recordings, CCTV recordings, letters received from public members, and so on. In addition to it, the Act also includes some particular requirements related to datasets. Here, the dataset is the collection of raw or factual data gathered by the public as a part of providing services and delivering functions as a public authority. Sometimes, the requests are made for less understandable sources such as the date of drafting. However, this type of information is recorded and thus covered under the Act.

The Freedom of Information Act does not cover any information that in someone’s head. It means that public authority can only provide the information that is recorded. Though individual counselors are not members of public authorities; however, in their own right, they can sometimes hold information about council business. Some of the external information is also covered under the Act. The company may or may not answer the requests made for information access. The case is similar to where the public receives services under a contract.

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