Freedom of Information
What is Freedom of Information?
Freedom of Information, or FOI, refers to rights provided to every person under the Freedom of Information Act 2014. This Act provides that from 21st April 1998 (when the Freedom of Information Act 1997 became operative) every person has the following rights:
The right to obtain access to information held by Public Bodies including Government Departments;
The right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
The right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.
These rights mean that people can seek access to personal information held on them - no matter when the information was created - and to other records created after 21st April 1998. In certain circumstances records created before 21st April 1998 may be accessible particularly if these records are required to assist in understanding records created after the Act commenced on 21st April, 1998.
What records can be requested?
Under the Acts, the following records may be accessible:
All records created after the Act commenced on 21st April 1998
All personal records regardless of when they were created
All staff records created after 21st April 1995. Staff records created before 21st April 1995 may, in certain circumstances, also be accessible
How do I make a Freedom of Information Request to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs?
A: You should send a request, in writing, to the
Freedom of Information Unit, Department of Children and Youth Affairs,
43 - 49 Mespil Road, Dublin 4.
Your request should include the following:
- A statement that the request is being made under the FOI Acts;
- As much information as possible about the records being sought;
- In what format you wish to receive any records released (e.g. photocopies)
- The appropriate fee
Fees and Charges
There is no initial application fee payable when lodging an FOI request.
Charges may be applied for the time spent finding records and for any photocopying costs incurred by the Department in providing you with the material requested. Details of these will be notified to you in writing. There are no charges if the time spent finding the records is under five hours.
Department of Children and Youth Affairs Information contained in the FOI Publication Scheme
Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish as much information as possible in an open and accessible manner on a routine basis outside of FOI, having regard to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability as set out in Sections 8(5) and 11(3) of the Act. This allows for the publication or giving of records outside of FOI provided that such publication or giving of access is not prohibited by law. Such a Publication Scheme commits FOI bodies to make information available as part of their normal business activities in accordance with this scheme.
The Act requires that in preparing, reviewing or revising a publication scheme, an FOI body shall have regard to the public interest in:
(a) allowing public access to information held by the FOI body;
(b) the publication of reasons for decisions made by the FOI body; and
(c) publishing information of relevance or interest to the general public in relation to its activities and functions generally.
Please find the Department of Children and Youth Affairs FOI Publication Scheme below. Each link in the scheme leads to content relevant to the category on the Department’s website or externally located. If the information you require cannot be found in the scheme, you may wish to conduct a search on the Department’s home page or to contact the Department. If the information is not currently made publicly available by the Department, you may wish to consider making a Freedom of Information request.
A. Information about the Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Establishment of organisation
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established in 2011. The Department focuses on harmonising policy issues that affect children in areas such as early childhood care and education, youth justice, child welfare and protection, children and young people’s participation, research on children and young people, youth work and cross-cutting initiatives for children.
In this regard, the Department has a mandate to put in place a unified framework of policy, legislation and service provision across Government for children and young people.
Roles, responsibilities and functions
To deliver on its corporate objectives the Department is structured as follows:
Children and Family Division is responsible for policy and legislative developments relating to child welfare and protection, alternative care, family support and related issues of children's rights. It also has responsibility for leading cross-government working and policy innovation in respect of children’s services through the implementation of ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures’, the Area Based Childhood Programme (ABC) and the development of the Children and Young People's Services Committees (CYPSCs) inter-agency structures. It has a strong cross-government focus and in addition to the above leads a number of cross-departmental initiatives including (i) Ireland’s engagement with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; (ii) cross-sectoral implementation of child welfare and protection guidelines and legislation, and (iii) collaboration with the Department of Health on issues relating to child health and wellbeing.
Governance and Performance Division is responsible for expenditure and human resources policy advice to support optimum resource allocation for the Department and agencies under its remit; evaluating and monitoring the quality, performance, governance and reform agendas in Tusla (the Child and Family Agency); and the corporate support function of the Department.
Youth Justice, Adoption and Legal Division is responsible for leading and driving reform in the youth justice area; developing policies and legislation in the area of adoption; supporting the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters); and legislative reform.
Early Years, Education, Youth, Participation and Research Division is responsible for policy and legislative developments relating to early years care and education, including various childcare programmes, youth services and education welfare. In addition, this Division is responsible for the research, evaluation and information function of the Department, including the Growing Up in Ireland Study. The Division also has responsibility for ensuring that the voice of children and young people is heard in decision-making.
Divisions consist of a number of units, each headed by a Principal Officer or equivalent. In total the Department has 18 units. Areas of responsibility organised by function to deliver on corporate objectives are set out in the Department’s Organisation Chart.
Classes of records held by the Department:
Classes of records may comprise letters, legislation, minutes, forms, notes, memoranda, policy papers, financial transactions/statements, schemes, statistics, returns, press releases, contracts, tenders, HR-related papers, legal advices, etc.
The Management Board of the Department endorses the principles of shared participation and responsibility for the operational success of the entire Department. It seeks to support the Minister and Secretary General in the fulfilment of their statutory roles. In addition, each individual Board member has a leadership role contributing to the management of the Department as a whole and to actively supporting colleagues in meeting objectives.
The Secretary General has made a number of assignments under section 4 (1) of the Public Service Management Act 1997 at Assistant Secretary, Director and Principal Officer level across the Department – see Framework of Assignments on the Department’s website and on the Who Does What website. It constitutes a consolidated statement as at October 2015 of all assignments under the Act by the Secretary General.
Furthermore, under sections 4(1)(i) and 9(1)(f) of the Public Service Management Act 1997 and the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 – 2005, the Secretary General assigns responsibility for the performance of functions in respect of appointments, performance and discipline of personnel to officers holding the posts with responsibility for the Personnel or Human Resource function including Assistant Secretary, Director, Principal Officer/Personnel Officer.
Corporate Plans and Strategies
The Department’s Statement of Strategy 2015-17 charts the Department’s vision for the three year period and is a benchmark against which to review progress in implementing its priority actions. It reflects the commitments in the Programme for Government, the statement of Government Priorities in July 2014 and the relevant Government Decision on ‘Implementation of Government Priorities and Statements of Strategy 2015-17’.
The Department produces a report in respect of its annual activities. Annual Reports published to date can be accessed here.
Organisation and Pay/Grading Structures
Pay and grading structures are in line with relevant Government Circulars, as follows:
- For grades of Service Officer, CO, EO and AO: Appendix 1A and 2A of Circular 17/2015 showing pay scales with effect from 1 Jan 2016, for both pre and post 1995 entrants.
- For SO and HEO grades: Appendix 1A and 2A of Circular 28/2009 showing pay scales with effect from 1 January 2010, for both pre and post 1995 entrants.
- For grades from AP upwards: Appendix 1A and 2A of Circular 8/2013 showing pay scales with effect from 1 July 2013, for both pre and post 1995 entrants.
Locations and contact details for the organisation
Department of Children and Youth Affairs,
43-49 Mespil Road,
Dublin 4, D04 YP52,
Tel: +353 1 6473000
Fax: +353 1 6473101
Tel: +353 1 647-3153
Links to agencies/other bodies the organisation is responsible for/funds
The public bodies funded through the Department’s Vote and for which the Secretary General is the Accounting Officer are as follows:
- Tusla the Child and Family Agency, established in January 2014 under the Child and Family Agency Act 2013;
- the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI), established in November 2010 under the Adoption Act 2010;
- the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO), established in 2004 under the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002; and
- the Children Detention Schools established under the Children Act 2001.
The Department also provides the primary source of funding for Gaisce, the President’s Award. Gaisce is a limited company set up under the Companies Acts.
Details of Service Level Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding, if any
The Department has a number of shared service arrangements in place, as follows:
- The Department of Health for the provision of Finance and ICT services;
- The Department of Justice and Equality in respect of the operation of payroll and IT services for the Children Detention Schools;
- PeoplePoint (part of the National Shared Services Office) in respect of HR.
A number of programmes are administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department, and are covered by a Service Level Agreement. These include Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Training and Employment Childcare (TEC), Community Childcare Subvention (CCS), Capital Grants and other programmes. The terms of these schemes can be accessed on the Department's website, and also on Pobal.ie .
The Department’s Customer Service Charter and Action Plan 2015-2017 is a public statement on the levels of service that customers can expect to receive when dealing with the Department. The Department is committed to delivering quality of service and equality of treatment to all our customers.
The Charter and Action Plan affirm the Department’s commitment to the delivery of high quality services and equality of treatment to all our customers. The Charter outlines the standards of service that customers can expect to receive when they interact with us and how complaints will be addressed. The Action Plan sets out how we will implement the Charter commitments and review and report on our performance in this regard.
B. Services Provided or to be provided to the Public
The services we offer
Details of functions and services that we provide and the decision-making process
Services provided for public including administration of an enactment/scheme (e.g. grants)
The Department’s mission is to lead the steps needed to improve outcomes for children and young people in Ireland. Its current three-year Statement of Strategy sets out an ambitious range of actions to be achieved. Central to this is the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (2014-2020), which requires close collaboration with all stakeholders, effective co-ordination across Government Departments and clear leadership from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The Department does not directly provide services, but has a range of policy and funding responsibilities across a wide spectrum of service provision, including: Childcare, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, Children in Care, Child and Youth Participation, Child Welfare and Protection, Adoption, Youth Justice, Youth Affairs, Play and Recreation, Area Based Childhood Programme, Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes), CYPSCs, and Research.
C. Decision Making Process for Major Policy Proposals
Major policy proposals including any public consultation exercises
Department’s approach to policy-making
The Department has a wide range of policy responsibilities which include discrete issues of policy relating solely to the remit of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs as well as a considerable cross-departmental mandate regarding children’s policy generally.
The development of policy is normally led at Principal Officer level and may include both cross-divisional as well as cross-department engagement at a very early stage. In general terms, the approach to policy-making in the Department contains a number of key stages/elements:
(i) identify the key policy imperatives;
(ii) scope the areas for change;
(iii) assess national and international approaches and evidence; and
(iv) undertake a consultation process.
These inputs form the basis for the policy. Consultation processes may include direct engagement through ‘round tables’ and bilateral meetings with key stakeholders; the holding of Open Policy Debates; the seeking of written submissions from the stakeholders and the public in hard copy and on-line. The Department includes consultation with children and young people in the development of all major policy documents. The implementation structures put in place under the National Policy Framework ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures’ including the Sponsors Group; Advisory Council; and the Consortium are also utilised to inform all cross-cutting policy developments.
Major policy proposals are assessed at Assistant Secretary level in consultation with the Secretary General and the Minister. Major policy initiatives including those that have a cross-departmental aspect are considered by the Management Board prior to final submission to Government for decision. From time to time, use is also made of the Senior Officials Group on Social Policy and Reform and the related Cabinet Committee structure in respect of all cross-cutting policy proposals.
Policy which is being developed for the purposes of legislative change is managed on a cross-divisional basis. Policy and Legislation Units work together on the development and finalisation of the General Scheme and Heads of Bill consistent with the policy proposal and throughout the legislative drafting process. The Department's legal advisors also have a key role in advising both sets of units on an ongoing basis as an integral part of these processes.
The Department is committed to positive public consultation, genuine engagement with stakeholders and to serving the Government and people of Ireland in accordance with the role we have been given.
Background information relating to major policy proposals and decisions - N/A at present
Reports on the operation of public services by the FOI body - N/A at present
Expenditure reviews, Policy assessments - N/A at present
D. Financial Information
What we spend
Financial information relating to income and expenditure
2016 Revised Estimates for the Department
2016 Appropiation Account 2016
Major plans for Capital Expenditure
N/A at present
Payments or Purchase Orders for goods and services
The Department routinely publishes information in respect of Purchase Orders for €20,000 or above
Governance Board Member remuneration - N/A
Funding/sponsorship of non-public bodies - N/A
How we spend
Information relating to how we procure goods and services
The Department’s Purchasing and Procurement arrangements. Further general information on procurement can be obtained on the website of the Office for Government Procurement.
A link to all current tender competitions on the eTenders website
N/A at present. Details of tender competitions over €10,000 for ICT and €25,000 for all other competitions are available on the eTenders section of the Office of Goernment Procurement's website.
Public contracts awarded including contract type, contractor, value, award date, duration and brief description (tabular format) over €10k for ICT and over €25k for other contracts
N/A at present
F. FOI Disclosure Log and Other Information to be Published Routinely
FOI Disclosure Log
Please see the Department’s Disclosure Log in respect of non-personal requests handled under Freedom of Information legislation.
Annual Reports – see under A. above
Information held by the body which is sought regularly
Information which is held by the Department includes:
Minutes of Management Board Meetings