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Freedom Of Information

The British-Irish Agreement provides that a Code of Practice on Freedom of Information be drawn up by the Irish and Northern Ireland Ministers with responsibility for freedom of information for the North/South Bodies for approval by the NSMC. The Code is non-statutory and has been drafted with regard to the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003 in Ireland and the Freedom of Information Act, 2000 in the United Kingdom.

 

The Code facilitates public access to information held by the six North South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland Ltd in a number of ways. It provides that each body should publish certain types of information relating to its functions, structures, organization and services, together with a general description of the type of information held by that body.  It sets out the process under which a member of the public can request information held by a body, the steps that a body must take in handling such a request and the time period within which a body should normally respond to a request.  The Code also contains the facility for members of the public to obtain a statement of the reasons for an act of a body affecting the person.

 

The Annex to the Code sets out the categories of exempt information, if the information requested falls into a category listed in Part 1 of the Annex, the body is not obliged to release the information. If the information requested falls into a category listed in Part 2, the body must carry out a public interest test in deciding whether or not to release the information.

The Code provides for an internal review mechanism of decisions taken by the body under the Code.

 

Members of the public have recourse to an ombudsman if they consider that the administration of their request has not been handled appropriately by a Body.

 

The Ulster-Scots Agency holds both paper and electronic records pertaining to its operations. When requests are received which may be dealt with under the Code for Freedom of Information, they are registered and an acknowledgment sent to applicants. In cases where the request may be dealt with more easily or efficiently other than under the procedures of the Code, such possibilities may be discussed with the applicant at the earliest opportunity. Accordingly, the more contact information provided by the applicant, the better. Applicants are strongly advised to read The Freedom of Information Code of Practice before making an application.

 

 

Freedom of Information queries should be sent by mail to:

The Director of Corporate Services
The Corn Exchange
31 Gordon Street
Belfast
BT1 2LG

Email mccallumd@ulsterscotsagency.org.uk

In the event of the Director of Corporate Services not being available use the following:

E-mail: info@ulsterscotsagency.org.uk

“In addition to Freedom of Information requests, the above contact information should be used for “Non-Standard” Information requests and “Access to Information on the Environment” requests (AIEs)”.