Freedom of Information

Act XVI of 2008 refers to the Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Act aims to establish a right to information held by public authorities in order to promote added transparency and accountability in Government.

Freedom of Information Act (Cap. 496)

Requests in terms of the Freedom of Information Act can be made by e-mail on foi.hor@parlament.mt and a scanned copy of the applicant’s identity card must be provided. Freedom of Information Requests charges are applicable as per Legal Notice 158 of 2010. Payments, in cash or by cheque, are to be made at the Accounts Section, House of Representatives, Valletta. The Freedom of Information website can be accessed on www.foi.gov.mt.

Specific requests for information may be made by filling out and sending one of the following forms:

  1. Information Request as per FOI Act (English)                               
  2. Information Request as per FOI Act (Maltese)                               
  3. Complaint to the Authority regarding an FOI Act request (English)       
  4. Complaint to the Authority regarding an FOI Act request (Maltese)       
  5. Complaint to the IDPC regarding an FOI Act request (English)             
  6. Complaint to the IDPC regarding an FOI Act request (Maltese)            
     

Information relating to Freedom of Information

Structure, Functions and Responsibilites

The House of Representatives is composed of The President of the Republic, The Speaker and 69 Members of Parliament.

The Maltese House of Representatives, through its elected representatives, is accountable to the people of Malta for the provision and conduct of representative government in the interest of Maltese citizens.

Towards this end the Office of the Clerk is duty bound to deliver effective, apolitical, professional and innovative services to support the efficient conduct of the House of Representatives, its committees as well as a range of services and facilities for Members of Parliament.

The Maltese House of Representatives is committed to remaining an organisation that:

  • Provides a venue to allow the people's representatives to participate in the democratic process;
  • Promotes sound financial management via the examination of public sector financial statements;
  • Provides a safe work place;
  • Provides for the smooth running of the debates in Plenary and those held by the Parliamentary Committees;
  • Provides logistical support for
    • Parliamentary delegations attending conferences abroad;
    • Hosting Parliamentary Conferences/Committees in Malta; and
    • Foreign parliamentary delegations invited to visit Malta;
  • Provides for the autonomy of two Parliamentary Officers:
    • The Auditor General who is committed to provide sound and independent assurance to Parliament on the adequacy of accountability and resource management practices in the public sector;
    • The Ombudsman who is committed to:
      • Investigate and resolve citizens' grievances about government departments and public bodies;
      • To promote the right to good public administration and the right to complain against maladministration.

The key responsibilities facing the Office of the Clerk in assisting the House of Representatives attain the above mentioned objectives are:

  • The delivery of services requested by Members of Parliament, Ministries, Government departments, the press and the public within existing financial and human resources;
  • The ongoing task of ensuring that the Parliamentary Chamber and its precincts remain a functional working location that is accessible to the public within security constraints;
  • The provision of a wide range of services and facilities to ensure that Parliament function effectively.  While these services primarily consist of the keeping and publishing of Parliamentary minutes and transcripts, they also include research services, audio broadcasting of parliamentary and committee sitting and the provision of IT services to Members of Parliament.


Internal Complaints Procedure House of Representatives

An applicant whose request for information is refused, or who is otherwise not satisfied with the information provided, its format or the extension of the deadline for the submission of the notification indicating whether a request would be met or not, may address a complaint to the House of Representatives.

The complaint should be addressed to the institution’s FOI Officer, who shall bring the complaint to the attention of the Clerk of the House, who shall reply to the applicant within 10 working days from the receipt of the complaint. The applicant shall also be informed that he or she may appeal the decision or otherwise address a complaint to the Information and Data Protection Commissioner in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (Cap. 496 of the Laws of Malta).

The Clerk of the House shall inform the applicant of the decision taken with respect to his or her complaint, and in the event of confirmation of a decision not to release the pertinent information, shall explain the reasons thereof. Whenever the applicant’s complaint is related to the format of the information provided or to an extension of the deadline for the submission of the notification indicating whether a request would be met or not by the institution, and the original decision is upheld, the applicant shall be given an explanation as to why his or her complaint cannot be positively addressed.

An applicant may also make use of the Internal Complaints Procedure to report failure to meet deadlines or to send notifications.


General Description of the categories of Documents held

The Office of the Clerk holds documents falling under the following categories:  

 

  • Details regarding benefits given to Members of Parliament and former Members of Parliament.
  • Documents issued by EU institutions referred to Parliament for scrutiny.
  • Documents relating to the day to day running of the House of Representatives, including documents pertaining to the procurement of products and services.
  • Information regarding subscriptions to international memberships.
  • Papers laid on the Table of the House by Members of Parliament during the parliamentary sittings held in Plenary.
  • Parliamentary questions submitted by the Members of Parliament together with the Minister's reply.
  • Personal files of all employees at the House of Representatives.
  • Register of Members' interests.
  • Schedules of service of current Members of Parliament and former Members of Parliament.
     
     
    Some of the information listed above is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (Cap. 496)
     

Contact Details

The House of Representatives is housed in Republic Street, Valletta VLT 1115.  The Freedom of Information Officer and the Alternate Freedom of Information Officer for the House of Representatives may be contacted on 25596000 or by email on foi.hor@parlament.mt