The Office of the Information Commissioner is an independent body that reviews decisions public bodies make on requests for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act 2014. This document sets out our commitments and the service standards you can expect from us.

Contact by telephone

If you contact us by telephone we will aim to:

  • Answer your call promptly
  • Give you our name when we answer your call
  • Be courteous and helpful to you at all times
  • Answer your query in full
  • If we cannot do so immediately, we will take your details and call you back as soon as possible
  • Respond to all voicemail messages promptly                                              

Written correspondence

If you send us a letter, email or online enquiry we will:

  • Acknowledge your correspondence within 2-3 days
  • Ensure you receive a full reply within 10 working days
  • If we cannot provide a full reply within 10 working days, we will write to you and explain why. We will let you know when you can expect a full reply
  • Give a contact name and contact details as well as a reference number (where appropriate)
  • Write to you in simple and clear language and avoid using technical or legal terms where possible

Applications for review to the Commissioner

If you apply for a review of a decision taken by a public body, we will:

  • Acknowledge your application within 2-3 days
  • Keep you advised of progress on your case
  • Inform you as soon as possible and as clearly as possible of the outcome of our review

Visitors to the Office

If you visit us in person we will:

  • Treat you with courtesy, respect your privacy and be fair in our dealings with you
  • Meet you at the agreed time if you have an appointment
  • Provide appropriate facilities for meetings
  • Keep our public offices clean and tidy and ensure that they meet health and safety standards

Service through Irish

We will assist people who wish to carry out their business with us through Irish.

  • Correspondence received in Irish will be answered in Irish
  • We will publish key documents including our Annual Reports in Irish and English
  • We will ensure that information leaflets aimed at the public are available in both Irish and English
  • An Irish version of our website will mirror as far as practicable the English version
  • We will meet our other commitments under the Official Languages Act 2003 as published on our website

Equality / Diversity / Disability

  • We commit to dealing with you without discrimination or prejudice
  • We will respect equality and human rights in accordance with Public Sector Duty principles
  • We will aim to have our services and facilities easily available and accessible to you
  • We will respect your right to privacy
  • Contact email for our Access Officer under the Disability Act is
  • In developing this Customer Service Charter, the Office has had regard to the considerations regarding eliminating discrimination, promoting equality and protecting human rights identified in section 42(1)(a)-(c) of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014

Complaints about customer service

If something goes wrong and you are not satisfied with our service, please tell us. This refers to the issue of customer care and service in how you were dealt with by our staff.

  • In the first instance, please raise the matter with the person you are dealing with in the Office, so that we can respond and try to deal with the matter as early as possible
  • If you are not happy with the response and wish to make a formal complaint about the standard of services you received from this Office, you can write to the Director General Ms Elaine Cassidy by email to:
  • We aim to acknowledge such complaints in five working days and try to provide a full reply in 20 workings days

Please note that a disagreement over the outcome of our review in your case will not fall within the scope of this type of complaint. The decisions we issue following the completion of our reviews contain details of statutory appeal rights.

Help us to help you

You can help us as we try to give you a high quality service:

  • Please state why you want us to conduct a review as clearly and as concisely as you can
  • Please send us copies of key supporting documents when submitting your application for review
  • Quote any relevant reference number in all communications with us
  • As part of our customer charter, we commit to dealing with users of our service professionally and with respect. We also expect you to treat our staff and the service we provide with respect. Our Reasonable Conduct Policy sets out how we expect people to interact with us and also explains how we manage unacceptable actions against our staff and our process. Here is a link to the policy.

Consultation and feedback

We are always interested to hear suggestions on how we can improve our service. If you would like to comment or make a suggestion please e-mail us at

Where to get more information

You can also find details of our other services, policies and contact information on our website

What we expect from public bodies

We expect public bodies to:

  • Give people clear and timely decisions on their FOI requests
  • Make people aware of our service when giving them their decision
  • Treat people who make requests, and our staff, with courtesy and respect
  • Work with us to enable us carry out our reviews as quickly and effectively as possible
  • Give us all the information we ask for within the timescales specified

Where to find us

Our full contact details are available on the “Contact” webpage.

Our address is Office of the Information Commissioner, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773. The Office is open Monday to Friday between 9.15 am and 5.00 pm.

Phone: +353 1 639 5689



How should I behave when making a complaint?

We understand that making a complaint/disclosure/appeal or request can be stressful and that, from time to time, this stress may show in how a person interacts with this Office. Our staff members know that managing these interactions is part of their job.

However, we expect people to act reasonably when interacting with our Office. Our staff are not expected to tolerate behaviour that is abusive, offensive, threatening or, due to the frequency of contact, takes up too much time and resources that could be spent assisting other customers.

What kind of behaviour is unacceptable?

The following types of behaviour are not acceptable:

  • Unreasonable persistence

If a file has been closed by this Office, it is unreasonable persistence to refuse to accept the decision or insist that another member of staff looks again at the case.

  • Unreasonable demands

An unreasonable demand can include a demand for action regarding a matter that is outside of the Office’s remit, looking for a solution that is not realistic or is disproportionate, demanding that a specific person must/must not deal with your case, or demanding that your case be dealt with within a specific timeframe or ahead of other customers.

  • Unreasonable lack of co-operation

This may be demonstrated by a failure to clearly define the matter you are raising with the Office, presenting large volumes of documentation in a disorganised way, changing the substance of the issue while the Office’s process is ongoing, withholding information and not being honest about facts. It also includes non-cooperation by you with the Office, which may hinder, obstruct or delay the process.

  • Unreasonable arguments

Unreasonable arguments should not be made to this Office. Examples include exaggerating issues, presenting irrelevant arguments, insisting your version of events is accepted as fact where there is no objective evidence to support it, or refusing to consider other versions of events.

  • Unreasonable behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour includes multiple phone calls, emails or letters about the same matter, threats of violence, abuse of the Office staff, rude or aggressive conduct, sending profane imaging and attempting to provoke staff into engaging in unnecessary and time-wasting argument. Inflammatory statements and unsubstantiated allegations are also considered to be abusive behaviour.

Please note if emails are received with profanities and/or unacceptable images, that such emails will not be acknowledged and your correspondence will be delayed, because they are automatically blocked by our firewall. If these emails persist the email address will be blocked.

Written correspondence

We will not accept correspondence that is abusive or threatening to staff. We will not respond to any correspondence containing such language.

Telephone calls

We will tell the person if we think their language during telephone calls is rude and offensive and ask them to stop using such language. Staff have the right to terminate the telephone call if the behaviour continues.

What happens if I behave in this way?

If we consider your behaviour to be unreasonable, we will tell you why and ask you to change it.

Unreasonable conduct may include one or two isolated incidents or may be the accumulation of incidents or behaviour over a period of time. If the unacceptable conduct continues or constitutes a serious risk (such as threatening a member of staff with violence), we will take action to restrict the complaint’s contact with our offices and staff.

This decision will only normally be taken after a more senior staff member has reviewed the situation. Restrictions will be appropriate and in line with the nature of the behaviour. The options we are most likely to consider are:

  • asking you to contact us by letter only
  • asking you to only make contact with a named staff member
  • asking you to call by telephone only on certain days and times
  • limiting your access to the office
  • additional correspondence relating to the same matter is read and then filed but no response is provided
  • as a final option, terminating all contact with you if this behaviour persists (the Director General will make this decision)

In all cases, we will write to tell you why we believe your behaviour is not reasonable and what action we propose to take. If the behaviour is so extreme that it threatens the immediate safety and welfare of the staff of the Office or others, we will consider other options. These could include, reporting the matter to An Garda Síochána or instigating legal action. In such cases, we may not give you warning of that action.

Regardless of your behaviour, our staff will act respectfully towards you and take an impartial attitude to the issues you have raised with this Office.

In developing this Reasonable Conduct Policy, the Office has had regard to the considerations regarding eliminating discrimination, promoting equality and protecting human rights identified in section 42(1)(a)-(c) of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.