What is the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force on 1 January 2005. Its purpose is to ensure a better understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions that they do and how they spend public money. Under the Act, any person or organisation may request information from a public body in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
How do I make a request?
The Act requires all requests to be in writing, to state clearly what information is required and to include the name and correspondence address of the applicant. You may e-mail your request, write to the FOI Unit or use the Request Form provided. (The Request Form has been designed to make the process as easy as possible.)
Requests for information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 do not need to be in writing
If you wish, you may telephone the Assembly’s FOI Unit and discuss your proposed request or use our online request form (submit form).
Will all information requested be provided?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 details a number of categories of information that may be exempt from disclosure. The Assembly will adopt the principle that exemptions must be the exception rather than the rule and will only be applied where they comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, are fully justified and are approved at senior management level in the Assembly. If information is not disclosed, we will tell you why not.
What if you are not satisfied with our response?
You can write to ask the Assembly to review its decision and an Internal Review Panel will examine how your request was dealt with. We aim to complete this review within 20 days. If you are still dissatisfied after the review, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office at Wycliff House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.
The Freedom of Information Unit
Northern Ireland Assembly
TN: +44 (0)28 9052 1147
FAX: +44 (0)28 9041 8340
The Freedom of Information Unit will acknowledge all Freedom of Information requests within 1 working day of receipt. If an acknowledgement has not been received within this timeframe please contact us on the telephone number provided above.
Information provided in response to Freedom of Information requests. To view the Northern Ireland Assembly Disclosure Log follow this link.