Parliamentary Question: Freedom of Information Bill

Question to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform ( Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD)

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason behind replacing sections 15 and 16 of Freedom of Information Act as amended with a single section in the Freedom of Information Bill 2013, section 8; the expected benefits of making this change; and if he will make a statement on the matter – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN response on Wednesday, 18th December, 2013

REPLY

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill 2013 replaces Sections 15 and 16 of the existing 1997 Act and provides instead that each public body will publish a publication scheme instead of the Section 15 and 16 manuals. Given technological and ICT developments in the 15 years since FOI was first introduced, the migration of such information to websites and international best practice, these manuals are not considered an effective way of promoting the proactive publication of information into the public domain.

Guidance on the publication schemes will be provided under the Code of Practice on the implementation of the Act which I intend to bring to Government shortly. It is my intention that the publication schemes will provide for the publication of extensive information on the nature, role, responsibilities and activities of public bodies including the structure, classes of records held, rules relating to any schemes implemented, services provided and so on. This is intended to facilitate much more proactive publication of information by public bodies thus making official information more accessible outside of FOI on a routine basis. Greater publication of official data and information is also consistent with the Government’s commitment to participate in the multilateral Open Government Partnership. In that regard, the Deputy will recall my announcement of a major open data initiative at the Open Government Partnership summit in London last month.

The Deputy’s attention is also drawn to the fact that Section 8 of the new Bill provides that the information contained in the publication scheme will be reviewed at least on an annual basis and that, in the case of a person unable to access a website and who requests details of the nature of records held by a public body, details will be provided in written form.

Following a public consultation process on the draft Code, it is planned that the final Code of Practice, once approved by Government, will be introduced in tandem with the commencement of the reformed Freedom of Information legislation.

Posted under Justice & Equality, National Work, Parliamentary Questions, Politics, Public Expenditure & Reform

Buttimer calls for implementation of LRC recommendations

Fine Gael National Press Office
Press Statement by Jerry Buttimer TD
Cork South Central

Friday, 2nd November 2012

Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has said Labour Relations Commission (LRC) recommendations on reform of consultant work practices must now be implemented. Deputy Buttimer was speaking following release by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) of survey results showing that 57% of respondents support the LRC recommendations.

“The results of a survey of members by the IHCA show that a majority support the IHCA proposals. This support now needs to be actioned and the implementation of the Labour Relations Commission recommendations should proceed as soon as possible.

“The positive outcome from the survey places an obligation on the representative organisation to act on the views of the majority of respondents. The IHCA has confirmed that 57% of its members who responded to its survey favoured proposals recommended by the Labour Relations Commission. The IHCA should now engage in a process with the HSE and Department of Health to ensure that the reforms are implemented.

“When delivered, the proposals of the LRC have the potential to secure a saving of €220 million each year. The proposals will ensure senior doctors will be available any five out of seven days, including at weekends and nights. This will mean quicker decision making.  Clearly these proposals have the potential to deliver real reforms which will benefit patients while securing significant cost savings.  There is now an onus on all parties to put the proposals into effect as soon as possible.

“While progress has been slower than would have been hoped, the cooperation of all parties has already secured the delivery of some reform and savings.  I acknowledge the contribution of consultants in achieving an increase of 20% in productivity and in saving 70,000 bed days as has been set out by the IHCA. I understand that consultants have a number of practical concerns and I hope that the HSE can address any legitimate practical impediments so that the recommendations can be implemented.”

Ends

Posted under Blog, National Work, Politics

Buttimer commits to contesting next general election in Cork South Central

Fine Gael TD, Jerry Buttimer, has confirmed that he will contest the next General Election in the Cork South Central constituency.

“The Constituency Commission Report recommended significant changes to Cork South Central.  Since the publication of the report I have carefully considered its impact.  I can confirm that it is my intention to continue my on-going commitment to the people of Cork South Central and to contest the next General Election as a Fine Gael candidate in Cork South Central constituency.

“In seventeen months as a TD, and as chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, I have worked on important local and national issues.  I have led the Committee’s work on alcohol misuse and on the early stages of developing legislation to put child protection guidelines on a statutory footing.  I will continue to work on local and national issues in the interests of the people of Cork South Central and the wider public.

“At the 2011 General Election, Fine Gael won two of the first four seats in Cork South Central.  I believe that the delivery of commitments in our Programme for Government and our strong team in Cork South Central will ensure that we retain two seats in the constituency at the next General Election.

“While the changes set out in the Commission’s report make it more difficult for candidates, it is a sign that our Government is delivering on political reform. When implemented, the changes of the Constituency Commission will deliver on a commitment in the Programme for Government to reduce the number of TDs.  This is just one element of a series of reform measures which will also see the number of local authorities reduced across the country and a referendum being put to the electorate on the future of the Seanad.”

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork City, Douglas, Politics, South Central, South East, South West