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FOI Publications

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. The scheme commits FOI bodies to make information available as part of their normal business activities in accordance with this scheme.

Please find Ability West’s FOI Publication Scheme below. Each link in the table leads to a page comprising relevant information by category as well as links to relevant information on the Ability West’s website. If the information you require cannot be found here, you may wish to conduct a search on the Ability West’s website, or to contact Ability West at (enquiries@abilitywest.ie, 091-540900). If the information is not currently made publicly available by Ability West, you may consider making a Freedom of Information Request.

General Information about Ability West

Information on Functions and Services Provided

Information on Decision-making Procedures

Financial Information

Procurement Information

Miscellaneous Information


Ability West Publication Scheme


a. Information

Who we are and what we do

Establishment of Organisation
Ability West – Éirim An Iarthair, formerly known as The Galway County Association for Mentally Handicapped Children, was set up by parents and friends in 1962. Over the past 54 years Ability West has grown from strength to strength and we now provide high quality services and supports to over 500 children and adults with intellectual disability. Ability West is a voluntary organisation dedicated to enabling people with intellectual disability to realise their dreams and ambitions and to take their rightful place in society.

We are a grass roots organisation with local branches of Ability West located in Galway City and County. Membership of the branches mainly comprises of family and friends of service users, and the general public. These branches are the link to local people, businesses and communities and are vital in adhering to our ethos and vision which is to provide each person with opportunities, supports and services that will enable them to be an active and valued member within their community. The branches are also very important in that they are the link between the Board of Directors and the community. Ability West operates a vibrant volunteer programme who bring with them their talents, skills, commitment, enthusiasm and energy.

We currently have 55 centres located across Galway City and County. Services include day, residential, respite, rehabilitative training, work placements, active ageing, community support and multidisciplinary supports, such as Speech and Language, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Social Work. Ability West is also patron to the following schools:
St. Joseph’s Special School, Newcastle, Galway
• Tigh Nan Dooley Special School, Carraroe
St. Olivers Special School, Tuam
St. Teresa’s Special School, Ballinasloe

A range of community based services are provided throughout Galway City and County by Ability West to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. These include day services as well as residential and respite services. The work of the centres is complemented by a network of support services provided to both service users, their families and services.

3.3 ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

The Organisational Chart for Ability West reflects its structure, is contained below.

The main structures are detailed as follows:


Board of Directors

Number of Directors:

The number of Directors shall be no fewer than four and no more than twenty.

The Board shall consist of the following:
• Not more than two representatives nominated by each region.
• The outgoing Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer (if not already elected) but so that no one shall serve as an Officer of the Company for more than four consecutive years.
• Other members can be selected by co-option provided that the total number of Directors shall not exceed twenty.
Directors are non-executive and offer their services on a voluntary basis.

Elected Regional Directors:

There are currently 4 regions - Galway City, North Galway, South East Galway and Connemara. Each region will nominate 2 Directors to the Board, one of whom must be a family member which is defined as follows: family member means the parent, grandparent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse of sibling, child of a sibling, aunt, uncle, spouse of an aunt or uncle, or child of an aunt or uncle of a service user.
The maximum duration of the Regional Directors is four years.

Co-opted Directors:

The Board can from time to time co-opt any person to be a Director either to fill a vacancy or as an addition to the existing Board, but so that the total number of Directors shall not at any time exceed the number fixed in accordance with the Memorandum and Articles of Association, i.e. twenty. Directors so appointed will hold office only until the next annual general meeting and shall then be eligible for re-election.
Further details are contained in the Memorandum and Articles of Association which can be accessed via Ability West website – www.abilitywest.ie.

Term of office:

The term of office for an Elected Director and Co-opted Director are as outlined above. All directors are eligible for re-election, save that no Director may serve for more than four consecutive years as a member of the Board. For details regarding rotation of Directors, refer to Memorandum and Articles of Association (Nos. 49 –57), which can be accessed via the company’s website –www.abilitywest.ie.

Meetings of Board of Directors:

The Board of Directors meet once a month except in August, when there is no meeting.

Responsibilities and further information:

Ability West is a company limited by guarantee (No. 41317) and registered as a charity (No. 20011161). The Board of Directors are responsible for the overall governance of the organisation. The Directors delegate certain powers to the Chief Executive consistent with the day to day management of the organisation. The Chief Executive delegates some responsibility to the Senior Management Team to ensure that services are managed efficiently and effectively within the organisation’s directorate structure. The Chief Executive has overall authority and responsibility for the management of the organisation and implementation of the Strategic Plan.

The Board of Directors have a number of subcommittees in place, including
• Finance Subcommittee
• Visiting Subcommittee
• Audit Committee and
• Quality and Safety (Board) Committee

The members of these subcommittees are generally determined annually and subcommittees work to a specified brief.

The organisation has established Memorandum and Articles of Association which outline the regulations in relation to its Board of Directors, Regional Structure, Branches, Annual General Meetings, Accounts and Audit. This document can be accessed via the company’s website – www.abilitywest.ie

The composition of the Board of Directors and subcommittees is contained in the Annual Report, which can be obtained as per publications on www.abilitywest.ie

BRANCHES AND REGIONAL COMMITTEES

Branches

Ability West is a grass roots organisation and has a number of branches operating in geographical areas across the city and county. Branches generally comprise of family and friends of service users, and members of the general public. A branch can be established in a geographical area or a place of work. Members of branches must be over 18 years of age.

Each branch can nominate two people to the Regional Committee on an annual basis. One of the two nominees must be a family member. A family member is defined as the parent, grandparent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse of a sibling, child of a sibling, aunt, uncle, spouse of an aunt or uncle or child of an aunt or uncle of a service user. This ensures good representation for service users, family members and communities.

Regional Structures

There are currently four regions in the county; Connemara, Galway City, North Galway, South/East Galway. In total there can be eight representatives from the regions on the Board of Directors, four, at a minimum, must be a family member as defined earlier.


WORKING PARTIES, PROJECT TEAMS AND TASK GROUPS

Working Parties/Groups, Project Teams, Task Force Groups are established in Ability West, from time to time to oversee developments such as - building projects, relocation of an existing service, and developments in a particular service area etc. The groups are given a definite brief in terms of the Strategic Plan from the Chief Executive with relevant membership and terms of reference as deemed appropriate.

OTHER ORGANISATIONS

Ability West is affiliated to a number of organisations, including -

• Health Services Executive
• Health Information and Quality Authority
• National Federation of Voluntary Bodies
• Disability Federation of Ireland
• Inclusion Ireland
• IBEC
• National Standards Authority of Ireland
• The Wheel

Appendix I

Organisation Chart

Appendix II: ‘Key Personnel

Locations and contact details for the organisation Contact points and addresses for each of its functional areas covered by FOI are shown below. Contact details for the provision of information to the media and to the public are via the website and enquiries@abilitywest.ie

Title Name Phone Email
Ability West Head Office Blackrock House Salthill Galway 091 540900 enquiries@abilitywest.ie
Chief Executive Breda Crehan-Roche 091 540900 ceo@abilitywest.ie
Freedom of Information Officer Theresa Hendley 091 540900 foi@abilitywest.ie
Decision Makers Frances Murphy John McHugo Sinead Donnellan 091 540900 frances.murphy@abilitywest.ie john.mchugo@abilitywest.ie sinead.donnellan@abilitywest.ie
Internal Reviewer Breda Crehan-Roche 091 540900 ceo@abilitywest.ie
External Appeals Information Commissioner 01 6395689 or 1890 223030 info@oic.ie
Complaints Officers Marie Byron Mary Foyle Gerry Haslam Brian Hehir Aisling Heskin Theresa Hendley David Joyner Therese King 091 540900
Quality & Compliance Manager Eileen Costello Conneely 091 540900 eileen.costello@abilitywest.ie
Client Services Directorate Frances Murphy 091 540900 frances.murphy@abilitywest.ie
Human Resources Directorate Sinead Donnellan 091 540900 sinead.donnellan@abilitywest.ie
Finance Directorat John McHugo 091 540900 john.mchugo@abilitywest.ie

STRUCTURE AND CLASS OF RECORDS HELD

The structure and types of records held by Ability West are in accordance with our Records Management Policy including the following:

ORGANISATIONAL RECORDS

Ability West maintains records on the general operation of its services in Central Administration.

Records in relation to the Quality Management System in operation are maintained in the Quality and Compliance Department.
Financial records are maintained in Central Administration.

Documentation/records required under Statutory Instrument 367 for example. Statement of Purpose, Residents Guide, Directory of residents. These records are maintained in individual services and some records are also maintained in Central Administration.

Type of records – Quality Management System records, quality manuals, operating procedures, guidance documents, quality records, audit records, financial records, insurance records, health and safety statement and associated records, records/files on the operation of services, correspondence files, Board of Directors minutes and records, policy documents, reports from committees/groups, Senior Management Team minutes, other relevant minutes of committees/groups, internal memoranda, accident/incident records, complaints, compliments and feedback records, risk management records, records with regard to compliance, e.g. HSE, HIQA. This list is not exhaustive.

SERVICE USER RECORDS
Records are maintained on each service user receiving or who received a service and supports from the organisation
Records are located for each service user in the individual unit which the person attends and
A main file is also located in central administration.
Type of records which inter alia include: Service user case notes, individual unit notes on service users, person centred plans, circle of support notes and action plans, reports on – case reviews; case conferences; Individual Programme Plan meetings; and progress reviews. Social work records; psychology records; physiotherapy records, speech and language therapy records, occupational therapy records, medical records, health notes; medication prescription sheet and administration records; service user’s personal property records; service users’
financial records, risk assessment records; admissions documentation, contracts of care (residential/respite). This list is not exhaustive.

PERSONNEL RECORDS
Records are maintained on staff members and former staff members, whether full time, part time, permanent, contract, temporary.
Staff training records are also maintained in the Administration Office and in the individual unit where the staff member is usually or most frequently employed.
• Individual checklist of specific records on file for each staff member is maintained in the individual unit where the staff member is usually or most frequently employed.
Recruitment files for vacant posts.
Type of records which inter alia include: Individual personnel records which may include application form/c.v., references, medical reports, probation reports, personal development reviews, general correspondence; training records, recruitment records, attendance records, payroll and salary records. This list is not exhaustive.
• Strategic Plan
• Annual Reports and Financial Statements

Ability West salaries are aligned to the HSE Consolidated Pay scales
Ability West also has links with the following agencies
• Link Galway
Blue Teapot Theatre Company
Brothers of Charity Services Roscommon
Brothers of Charity Services Galway
Western Care Association
Muintearas
• St. Hilda’s
Details of Service Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding, if any Details of Service Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding, if any, between two or more public bodies e.g. parent Department and Agency in relation to the provision of

• Health Services Executive
• Department of Education and Skills
• Department of Social Protection
• Link Galway
• Blue Teapot Theatre Company
• Brothers of Charity Services Roscommon
• Brothers of Charity Services Galway
• Western Care Association
• Muintearas
• Autism West
• St. Hilda’s

Customer Charters/Codes of Practice or Guidelines.
• Charter of Rights of Service Users
• Complaints Policy
• Donors Charter

B. Services Provided or to be provided to the Public
Ability West provides multidisciplinary and administration services and supports to over 500 children and adults with intellectual disability across 11 geographical areas in Galway. Since establishment in 1962 we have been to the forefront in developing community based services for people with intellectual disability.
Access to Services is in accordance with our Access, Referrals, Admissions and Transfers Policy
Ability West are from time to time is requested to undertake research projects, these are undertaken in accordance with our Ethics Research Policy.

C. Decision Making process for major policy proposals
The Board of Directors approve all of the organisations policies.
Access to Services is in accordance with our Access, Referrals, Admissions and Transfers Policy.

We endeavour to ensure that staff are recruited and appointed in line with best practice and legislative requirements. We do so in accordance with our Recruitment and Appointment Policy.

D. Financial Information
Financial Statements
• Our annual Financial Statements are prepared in compliance with accounting standards, including Financial Reporting Standard 102 (FRS 102), Statement of Recommended Practice for Financial Reporting by Charities (SORP) and the Companies Act 2014.
• Our annual Financial Statements include details of major Capital Expenditure and information on planned major Capital Expenditure is available when such arises.
• Information on relevant purchase invoices for Goods and Services of more than €20,000 will be made available on a quarterly basis.
• The Directors do not receive any remuneration for services provided to the company but are entitled to claim reimbursement of expenses e.g. travel.
• Funding to non-public bodies and/or individuals in excess €10,000 per annum primarily relates to grants given to families to defray the cost of obtaining support/respite care for their family member in the Galway City and County area.

E. Procurement
Please click on the following links for details of:
• Ability West Tendering Policy
Current tendering competitions and public contracts awarded

F. FOI Disclosure Log and Other Information to be Published Routinely
The Freedom of Information Act 2014 requires Ability West to publish a disclosure log, which contains details of the types of requests received under FOI and the decisions made by the body in response to those requests.
Ability West’s FOI Disclosure Log will be available for download from this page in due course. Disclosures are listed in order of the date the request was received by Ability West. Please note that, for privacy reasons, identifying information such as the name of the requester is not included in the disclosure log.
How to make an FOI Request and legislation links
Annual Reports
• Other information required can be sought through foi@abilitywest.ie or enquiries@abilitywest.ie

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (FOI Act) provides that every person has the following legal rights:
- the right to access records held by FOI bodies (as defined in the FOI Act);
- the right to have personal information held on them by an FOI body corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by FOI bodies that affect them.
Members of the public can seek access to:
- records relating to personal information held on them no matter when the record was created; and
- other records created on or after 21 April 1998
How does FOI work?
A member of the public can request access to records under the FOI Act by making a request to an FOI body and stating that he/she is seeking the records pursuant to the FOI Act. The FOI Act requires FOI bodies to respond to such requests from the public. In most cases, FOI bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it.
How can I make an FOI request to the Ability West?
You should send a request in writing (by post, hand delivery or email) to:
Freedom of Information Officer, Ability West,
Blackrock House,
Salthill,
Galway,
Co. Galway Phone: 091 540900 E-mail: foi@abilitywest.ie
Your request should include the following:
• A statement that the request is being made pursuant to the FOI Act;
• As much information as possible about the records being sought; and
• Details of the format in which you wish to receive any records released (e.g. photocopies).

Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Records that you can seek from Ability West include:
(a) all records relating to your personal information;
(b) all other records created on or after 21 April 1998; and
(c) any records necessary to the understanding of a record referred to in (b) above even if created prior to 21 April 1998.
However, in order to allow FOI bodies to properly conduct their business, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These exemptions are set out in the FOI Act and apply to all FOI bodies. Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
• law enforcement and security,
• confidential and commercially sensitive information,
• personal information of a third party (i.e. someone other than the person making the request).
Requests for access to records may also be refused if they are deemed to be unclear or of such a volume as to substantially or unreasonably interfere with or disrupt Ability West’s work

Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?
There is no charge for submitting a request. However, in respect of non-personal requests, section 27 of the FOI Act provides that fees shall be charged for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs incurred by Ability West in providing you with the material requested (search, retrieval and copying fees). The legislation specifies the search, retrieval and copying fees that may be charged. There are also some rules that apply in relation to the charging of fees:
• Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is less than €101, there will be no charge.
• Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €500 but less than €700, the total charge will not exceed €500.
• Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700, an FOI body can refuse to process the request.
Where fees apply, a deposit must be paid before the search and retrieval process is begun. An estimate of the search, retrieval and photocopying charges relating to your request and the required deposit will be notified to you in writing. Payment should be made by way of cheque. A list of relevant fees is set out below:

List of Fees
• There is no charge for submitting a request
• Search and Retrieval – €20 per hour
• €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
• Internal review fee €30 (reduced fee of €10 for medical card holders or dependents of medical card holders)
Notes:
1. There is no charge if your request relates to records containing only personal information relating to you, unless there is a significant number of records.
2. If you are claiming a reduced fee, the request must be accompanied by the Medical Card registration number, issuing HSE name and your consent to the verification of these details with that HSE.

What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?
If you are not happy with the decision that you receive you may ask for the decision to be reviewed. This will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by the Chief Executive of Ability West and a decision will be communicated to you within 3 weeks. You may seek a review of any decision issued by Ability West, by making a request in writing (by post, hand delivery or email) to the Freedom of Information Officer, Ability West, Blackrock House, Salthill, Galway, Co. Galway (foi@abilitywest.ie).
You should state that you are seeking an Internal Review of the matter. A fee of €30 (reduced fee of €10 for medical card holders or dependents of medical card holders) may apply for such an appeal. There is no fee for internal review applications concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.
You should make your request for an Internal Review within 4 weeks from the date of our response to you setting out our decision in relation to your initial request for records (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances). When seeking an Internal Review you need to ensure that you refer to your initial request and decision and that you quote the reference number. You also need to include the grounds on which you are seeking this review and any additional information which you feel is relevant.

What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?
If you are not happy with the outcome of the Internal Review, you may make an appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC). If you wish to make an appeal to the OIC, you must do so within six months of the date of our Internal Review decision. If you make an appeal the OIC, they will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision. All appeals should be addressed to:

The Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (1) 639 5689 Locall: 1890 22 30 30 Fax: +353 (1) 639 5674 E-mail: info@oic.ie
A fee of €50 (reduced fee of €15 for medical card holders or dependents of medical card holders) may apply for such an application. There is no fee for appeals to the Office of the Information Commissioner concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.

Can I get help in making a request?
Yes. If you require help in formulating your request, the Freedom of Information Officer will be happy to assist you.
Do I need to make a FOI request to get information from Ability West?
No. Ability West provides a great deal of information on the various pages of its website. This will continue. FOI provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records not made routinely available.
Where can I get more information on FOI?
Further information on FOI is available from:
The Freedom of Information Unit, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (1) 604 5388 Fax: +353 (1) 639 6281 E-mail: foi@per.gov.ie
The Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 Tel: +353 (1) 639 5689 Locall: 1890 253 238 Fax: +353 (1) 639 5674 E-mail: info@oic.gov.ie
More comprehensive information on Freedom of Information, including the text of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 is available at www.foi.gov.ie and www.oic.ie