Mr Colman O'Sullivan of Raidió Teilifís Éireann and Irish Water

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date18 November 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator found that Irish Water was not justified in its decision to refuse the request under section 15(1)(a) of the Act. He annulled the decision of Irish Water and directed it to undertake a fresh decision making process on the request.
Record Number150141
RespondentIrish Water
Whether Irish Water was justified in its decision to refuse access to records relating to the salary expectations of candidates as expressed at interview on the ground that the records sought do not exist
Conducted in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act by Stephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review

The applicant submitted a request to Irish Water on 20 February 2015 for access to information relating to the salaries of successful applicants for posts with the body. Specifically, he sought the following:

How many successful applicants were asked at interview about their expected levels of remuneration?
How the salary of those successful applicants compared to the expected remuneration they expressed at interview?

In how many cases was the salary less than expected?

In how many cases was the salary the same as expected?

In how many cases was the salary above that expected?

In a second request dated 22 February 2015, the applicant sought further information relating to those successful applicants whose salary exceeded the expected remuneration as stated at interview.
Specifically, he sought the following:

What is the maximum amount by which salary exceeded expected remuneration?
What is the average amount by which salary exceeded remuneration?

What is the minimum amount by which salary exceeded remuneration?

Irish Water dealt with both requests together and in its decision dated 23 March 2015, it stated that it does not capture salary expectation until a successful candidate is offered a position with Irish Water. It went on to give some quantitative information relating to its recruitment processes, including the number of staff recruited to date, and the approximate percentage of candidates who had declined a position with Irish Water due to the level of salary offered.

The applicant sought an internal review of Irish Water's decision stating that Irish Water failed to adequately respond to his request. On 8 May 2015 Irish Water issued an internal review decision refusing access to the records under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act on the ground that it does not hold records which contain the information sought. It added that if candidates expressed salary expectations and this was recorded, it could be in records held by recruitment agencies but that such records were not within the procurement of Irish Water. The applicant sought a review by this Office of that decision on 12 May 2015.

In conducting this review I have had regard to the correspondence between the applicant and Irish Water, and to the correspondence between this Office and both the applicant and Irish Water on the matter.

Scope of Review

This review is solely concerned with whether Irish Water was justified in its decision to refuse access to any records that contain the information sought by the applicant concerning the salary...

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