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Make a PSI request for re-use in Poland

Our investigation to figure out how to make PSI requests this time focuses on Poland. The legal framework supporting re-use requests seems accurate although a bit bureaucratic.

Legal framework

The first stone on Polish legislation concerning access to public information is dated 2 April 1997, when the Constitution of the Republic of Poland established the right to public information in Article 61 (1):

A citizen shall have the right to obtain information on the activities of organs of public authority as well as persons discharging public functions. Such right shall also include receipt of information on the activities of self-governing economic or professional organs and other persons or organizational units relating to the field in which they perform the duties of public authorities and manage communal assets or property of the State Treasury.

Shortly afterwards, on 2001, the Polish parliament approved the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). It stated two important concept: the first one is that any information on public matters constitutes public information and the  second one is that everyone has the right of access to public information without the need to prove any legal or non-legal interest. However, the FOIA also came up with the principle that public information could be limited due to the need to protect classified information.

The Polish classification regime was first regulated with the the Protection of Classified Information Act dated 1999 but it lacked of clarity and functionality and was heavily reformed with the Protection of Classified Information Act of 5 August 2010.

The right to re-use was introduced for the first time with the 2011’s amendment of the Freedom of Information Act; it contained on chapter 2 a re-elaboration of the contents of Directive 2003/98/EC. In addition, it also provided for the creation of a Central Public Repository where placing public information. The details of the repository were defined with the Regulation of the Council of Ministers regarding the Central Public Information Repository of 2014, which was followed by the publication of the portal dane.gov.pl.

Afterwards, Directive 2013/37/EU was transposed through the adoption of the Act of 25 February 2016 on the re-use of public sector information.

In practice

The possibility to make a request for access to information was already foreseen in the first version of the Freedom of Information Act of 2001, but there were no operative guidance on it. With the amendment of 2011, more details have been added indicating, for instance, that the public sector body involved should answer to a request within 20 days. However it is within the Act of 25 February 2016 on the re-use of public sector information that you can find how to formulate a request.


As can be seen, article 21 also includes cases in which the information has already been made available but the conditions for re-use have not been determinated or provided under other access to information laws or the purpose of the re-use is not covered by the terms.
ARTICLE 21 of Act of 25 February 2016 on the re-use of public sector information  

A request for re-use, hereinafter referred to as a ‘request’, shall be submitted if public sector information:
1) has not been made available in the Public Information Bulleting or the central repository;
2) has been made available otherwise than as specified in paragraph 1 and conditions for re-use or charges for re-use have not been determined, or information about the lack of such conditions or charges has not been provided;
3) will be used on the terms other than those specified for this information;
4) has been made available or provided under other acts laying down the rules and procedure for accessing information constituting public sector information.

A request may concern the re-use, in a continuous and direct manner in real time for a period not exceeding 12 months, of public sector information gathered and stored in the IT system of an obliged entity. A request shall include in particular:
1) the name of the public sector body;
2) information about the applicant, including the full name or business name and address to make it possible to send a reply to the applicant or the applicant’s attorney in the manner or form specified in the request;
3) information about the public sector information that will be re-used and, if this public sector information has already been made available or provided, the conditions for re-use as well as the source of making available or providing;
4) information about the purpose of re-use (commercial or non-commercial), including the area of activity in which public sector information will be re-used, in particular goods, products or services;
5) information about the form of preparation of public sector information and, for electronic form, also about the data format;
6) information about the method of providing public sector information, unless it has been made available or provided in a different manner, or about the method of accessing information gathered in an IT system, as referred to in paragraph 2.


The public sector body has 14 days to answer the question; in particular cases the deadline may be extended to a maximum of two months. Articles 23 and 24 specify the available answer options.
ARTICLE 23 1. of Act of 25 February 2016 on the re-use of public sector information
After considering a request, except for a request as referred to in Article 21(2), an obliged entity shall:
1) provide public sector information for re-use without establishing conditions for re-use;
2) provide information about the lack of conditions for re-use if public sector information is held by the applicant;
3) submit an offer containing conditions for re-use or information about the amount of charges for re-use; 4) refuse, by means of a decision, to authorise the re-use of public sector information
ARTICLE 24 1. of Act of 25 February 2016 on the re-use of public sector information
After considering a request as referred to in Article 21(2), an obliged entity shall:
1) submit an offer containing conditions for re-use or information about the amount of charges for re-use, against which an objection cannot be filed;
2) inform the applicant that re-use in the manner specified in the request is impossible;
3) refuse, by means of a decision, to authorise the re-use of public sector information. Article 23(4) and (6) shall apply.


Then the applicant must then complete some formal steps; he has 14 days to accept the answer by the public sector body or to file a complaint.

From a practical point of view, looking at the website of the public sector body owner of the data you want to re-use is the first step. Often you will find a request form to compile; some examples below:

The Supreme Audit Office

Public Information Bulletin

Kielce city

Krakow city

In other cases, you need to have an account on ePUAP service, the Polish nationwide platform for communication of citizens and businesses with public sector bodies.

Anyway, If the bureaucratic details of the law seem complicated and you fear to be mistaken, don’t warry there is a good alternative.

 


The website informacjapubliczna.org has published a complete guide on how to make a request. Together with useful hints, you can find a template for the request, 7 different complaint templates and if all of this would not sufficient you can contact them to have free support.

 

Don’t forget to add your request also into the PSI Monitor repository, this action would ensure a wider exposure of your request at European level and that might contribute to a successful conclusion of the application.

 

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