Mr X and Irish Prison Service

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date18 Aug 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the IPS.
RespondentIrish Prison Service
Record NumberOIC-108160-M4S0T3
Whether the IPS was justified under section 27 of the FOI Act in charging a fee of €145 for the search for and retrieval of certain correspondence on the tender evaluation process for the Limerick Prison Redevelopment Project

18 August 2021

Background

On 7 April 2021, the applicant made an FOI request to the IPS for copies of all correspondence between two named people regarding the tender evaluation process for the Limerick Prison Redevelopment Project, up to and including one month following the date of the issue of the final tender evaluation report. On 20 April 2021, the IPS informed the applicant that it had estimated the cost of searching for and retrieving relevant records to be €145, on the basis that 7.24 hours would be the minimum amount of time required to efficiently complete the 'search and retrieval' work on the request. It sought a deposit of €145 to allow for the processing of the request to proceed. It asked the applicant to let the IPS know if he wished to explore possible amendments to his request which might reduce or eliminate the deposit and/or fee. On 22 April 2021, the applicant sought an internal review of the IPS’s decision to charge the search and retrieval fee of €145. On 11 May 2021, the IPS affirmed its decision. It said that it was open to assisting the applicant in narrowing the scope of the request in order to reduce the cost involved. On 26 May 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of that decision.

During this review, this Office provided the applicant with details of the IPS’s explanation of the basis on which it had estimated what would be required to process the request. The Investigator informed the applicant of her view that the IPS was justified in its decision to charge an estimated fee of €145 and invited him to make a submission. The applicant did not make a submission in response. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a binding decision.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In conducting my review, I have had regard to the correspondence between the IPS and the applicant as outlined above and to correspondence between this Office and both the IPS and the applicant on the matter.

Scope of Review

The scope of this review is confined to whether the IPS was justified under section 27 of the FOI Act in charging a fee of €145 for the search and retrieval of the records sought by the applicant.

Analysis and Findings

Section 27

Section 27(1) of the FOI...

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