Freedom of Information
Read about Freedom of Information and Access to Information on the Environment, and how to make an application.
Freedom of Information
What is Freedom of Information?
Freedom of Information, or FOI, is the right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies. This right is defined by the FOI Act, 2014. Visit the Irish Government Freedom of Information website for detail.
How Do I Submit a Freedom of Information Request?
You can make a Freedom of Information request by email, by post, or by using our form.
Freedom of Information request form
Léargas staff are working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, so it is best to use email or the form during this time. Your application must include:
- A statement that the request is being made under the FOI Act;
- As much information as possible about the records being sought;
- The format in which you wish to receive any records released (for example, scans or photocopies).
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What Type of Records Can I Request?
These records come within the scope of the FOI Act:
- all records relating to personal information held by Léargas, irrespective of when they were created
- all other records created from the commencement of the FOI Act for Léargas, 31 May 2006
- any records necessary to the understanding of a current record, even if created prior to 31 May 2006
- personnel records of serving staff created from 31 May 2006 and those created prior to that date where being used or proposed to be used in a way which adversely affects or may affect the person involved.
In order to allow Government business to be properly conducted, it is sometimes necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These exceptions are set out in the FOI Act. Key exemptions include records relating to:
- Government meetings
- law enforcement and security
- confidential and commercially sensitive information
- personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).
Your request may also be refused if it is considered unclear or too voluminous. If this is case, we will contact you to help clarify your request.
What Happens Next?
You will receive confirmation that we received your request, and your assigned FOI reference. We will respond to your request within the required period set out in the FOI legislation. This is usually four weeks.
What is the Charge for a Request?
There is no charge for submitting an FOI request.
If you submit a non-personal request, there may be a charge for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs (search, retrieval and copying charges).
Details of actual charges relating to your request will be notified to you in writing. Payment should be made by way of Electronic Funds Transfer. Please contact the FOI Unit for bank details. A list of relevant fees is set out below:
List of Fees
- Search, Retrieval and Copying – €20 per hour*
- Photocopying – €0.04 per sheet
- Internal review fee – €30, reduced to €10 for medical card holders
- Appeal to the Information Commissioner – €50, reduced to €15 for medical card holders.
Limits on Search, Retrieval and Copying fees:
- If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is less than €101, there is no charge.
- If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €500 but less than €700, the maximum charge is €500.
- If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €700, Léargas can refuse to process the request.
FOI Organisation Details for Léargas
What is Léargas?
Léargas is a public agency, established in 1986. We operate under the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Skills.
What Are Léargas' Roles and Responsibilities?
Léargas manage exchange and cooperation programmes in the formal, non-formal and informal education, training and youth sectors. To manage programmes, we gather information from applicants and beneficiaries which is stored online in European Commission databases, online on Léargas’ servers, and locally in the Léargas office.
What Types of Records Do Léargas Keep?
We hold different types of records, depending on whether they are used in programme administration or day-to-day organisational work.
For programme administration, the types of records we hold are:
- Programme information
- Workplans and budgets for each programme
- Application and report forms
- Contact details for organisations and individuals
- Eligibility and assessment records
- Minutes of National Selection Committee meetings
- Signed contracts
- General correspondence
- Financial records (grants payments, invoices etc.)
- Narrative, financial, statistical and qualitative reports on projects and programmes
- Reports on monitoring and audit visits
- Responses to Requests For Information (RFIs) by National Authorities and other public bodies.
For day-to-day organisational work, the types of records we hold are:
- General correspondence
- General administration records
- Financial records
- HR records
- Bids and tenders
- Operational and other contracts
- Minutes of Board meetings
- Observations and responses to National Authorities.
Much of this information is not shared publicly. Staff in Léargas, the relevant government departments, the European Commission and other agencies and evaluators with whom Léargas works have access to the information for work purposes.
Information on funded organisations is provided in:
- the Programme Results section of this website, as required by programme rules
- the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform
- the European Solidarity Corps Project Results Platform.
These platforms do not display contact details for organisations, unless the organisation itself has chosen to do so.
How is Léargas Governed and Managed?
Visit our Governance section for information.
Does Léargas Have a Strategy Statement?
Visit our About Léargas – Our Mission section for information.
Does Léargas Produce Annual Reports?
Visit our About Léargas – Annual Reports section for information.
Can Léargas Provide an Overview of Staff Pay Grade?
As of June 2021, the number of staff at each pay grade is:
Principal Officer: 1
Assistant PO: 5
Higher Executive Officer: 10
Executive Officer: 24
Clerical Officer: 4
Visit our About Léargas – Our Team section for information.
Does Léargas Have Links with Other Agencies?
Yes. The National Centre for Guidance in Education, or NCGE, operates under the aegis of Léargas.
Does Léargas Have Service Level Agreements?
A draft SLA is currently under review by the Department of Education and will be published here when approved. VERIFY BEFORE PUBLICATION
Does Léargas Have a Customer Charter?
See our Quality Customer Charter 2018-2020 for information.
Does Léargas Have a Code of Practice and Guidelines?
What Do You Do Exactly?
What Services Does Léargas Provide?
Léargas manages exchange and cooperation programmes in the formal, non-formal and informal education, training and youth sectors.
The Léargas remit does not include making decisions on policy in education or youth work. However, Léargas provides input into policy making at both national and European level as requested by the relevant Government Departments or the European Commission.
How Are These Services Accessed by the Public?
Most programmes have annual application deadlines to apply for funding. Visit the section for each programme on this website for information. See our About Léargas – Our Team section for staff assigned to each programme or network.
How Does Léargas Administer These Services?
We administer the programmes according to European Commission and/or Departmental guidelines. For more details, see the section for each programme or network.
What Impact Have These Services Had?
We carry out regular impact and evaluation studies on our services. Visit our Impact Stories section for information or read some key studies below:
- Erasmus+ International Work Placements for Vocational Learners from Ireland
- Impact of Foreign Languages on Participants in Erasmus+
How Does Léargas Manage Appeals?
See our Governance section for information on Appeals and Complaints. We also operate under the guidelines of the Office of the Ombudsman.
What Do You Spend and How Do You Spend It?
Where Can I Find Financial Statements?
Financial Statements are included in each year’s Annual Report.
Does Léargas Have Plans for Capital Expenditure?
N/A at present.
What About Payments for Goods and Services?
N/A at present.
Do Board Members Receive Remuneration?
No. Details of the Board’s travel and subsistence expenses are included in each year’s Annual Report.
What About Funding and Sponsorship?
Léargas does not provide funding or sponsorship directly to non-public bodies. Public and non-public bodies may apply for project-grants under the programmes we manage. Visit our Programme Results section for details of funded organisations.
What About Procurement Policies?
Léargas follows the guidelines set by the Office of Government Procurement.
Does Léargas Use eTenders?
Yes, as required.
What About Public Contracts?
One public contract was awarded in 2016.
Who Does Léargas Report to?
Léargas reports on FOI requests regularly or as requested to the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
Does Léargas Have an Internal Audit Process?
Yes. You can read more about it in the Léargas Internal Audit Charter.
Where Can I Find Funded Projects?
Visit our Programme Results section for details of projects funded by Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps.
Access to Information on the Environment
In addition to Freedom of Information requests, members of the public can request Access to Information on the Environment (AIE).
You can make an AIE request by email or by post. Léargas staff are working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, so it is best to use email during this time. Your request must state that it is submitted under the AIE Regulations 2007-2018. You can also use the Government AIE application form.
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The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications requests annual statistical information about AIE requests received by bodies that operate under Government Departments. Léargas provides statistics on any requests we receive to our parent department. We reported no requests in 2020.