Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (2000) gives you the right to ask us for all the recorded information we have on any subject. Anyone can request information; there is no restriction on your age or background. You can also ask for information about yourself, this is handled under the Data Protection Act (1998).

Making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request:

You can contact us directly by letter or e-mail to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request:

Marc Vannucci
Corporate information Officer
Tourism Northern Ireland
Linum Chambers
Bedford Square
Bedford Street
BELFAST
BT2 7ES
Tel: 028 9044 1655
E-mail: foi@tourismni.com

When making your request, you should include:

• Your name;
• An address where you can be contacted;
• A detailed description of the recorded information you want; and
• The format you want the information in.

You can ask for the information in a number of different formats. This could be paper or electronic copies of any original documents, or alternative formats like large print, audio format or Braille.

Depending on the nature of your request, you can ask for all the information or just a summary.

If you plan to reproduce the information you receive, make sure you check the copyright status of it first.

(i) Most requests are free but you might be asked to pay a small amount for photocopies or postage. You will be told by us if you have to pay anything.

You should receive the information within 20 working days. If we need more time, we will contact you and tell you when you can expect the information.

Find out more about accessing information from a public body.

Request for Information Form:

If your request is turned down:

Some sensitive information might not be available to members of the public. If this is the case, we must tell you why we have withheld some or all of the information you requested.

Whilst the Freedom of Information Act (2000) creates a right to request information it also creates a number of exemptions from that right, in recognition that certain types of information may need to be protected from disclosure. This means that we may withhold some information requested. Exemptions fall into two categories, absolute and qualified.

What exemptions are there?

Some exemptions apply only to a particular category or class of information, such as information held for criminal investigations or relating to correspondence with the royal family. These are called class-based exemptions.

Some exemptions require us to judge whether disclosure may cause a specific type of harm, for instance, endangering health and safety, prejudicing law enforcement, or prejudicing someone’s commercial interests. These are called prejudice-based exemptions.

This distinction between ‘class-based’ and ‘prejudice-based’ is not in the wording of the Act but many people find it a useful way of thinking about the exemptions.

Where an exemption is qualified, Tourism NI must also decide whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure when considering whether or not to apply the exemption. This is known as the Public Interest Test.

Where information has been withheld we will inform you which exemptions have been applied and why, unless to give this information would in itself reveal the exempt information.

The exemptions can be found in Part II of the Act, at sections 21 to 44:

Part II Exempt information:

• 21. Information accessible to applicant by other means
• 22. Information intended for future publication
• 23. Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
• 24. National security
• 25. Certificates under ss. 23 and 24: supplementary provisions
• 26. Defence
• 27. International relations
• 28. Relations within the United Kingdom
• 29. The economy
• 30. Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
• 31. Law enforcement
• 32. Court records, etc.
• 33. Audit functions
• 34. Parliamentary privilege
• 35. Formulation of government policy, etc.
• 36. Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
• 37. Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours
• 38. Health and safety
• 39. Environmental information
• 40. Personal information
• 41. Information provided in confidence
• 42. Legal professional privilege
• 43. Commercial interests
• 44. Prohibitions on disclosure

Disproportionate Cost:

We can turn down your request if we think it will cost us more than £450.00 to deal with your request.

We might then ask you to be more specific so we can provide the information you are looking for.

Internal Review:

If we do not provide you with the information you request, you should first contact us and ask us to review our decision.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):

If you are still not satisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) can help you understand what the Data Protection Act (1998), Freedom of Information Act (2000) and related issues mean to you. It can advise you on how to protect your personal information and how to gain access to official records.

If you think an organisation has failed to abide by the legislation the ICO regulates, you may be able to get help. You can find out how to make a complaint and more on the ICO website.

Data Protection Act (1998):

The Data Protection Act (1998) controls how we use your personal information. Everyone who collects data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’.

We must make sure the information is:

• Used fairly and lawfully;
• Used for limited, specifically stated purposes;
• Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive;
• Accurate;
• Kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary;
• Kept safe and secure; and
• Not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection.

There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information, such as:

• Ethnic background;
• Political opinions;
• Religious beliefs;
• Health;
• Sexual health; and
• Criminal records.

Find out what data an organisation has about you:

The Data Protection Act (1998) gives you the right to find out what information we store about you.

You can write to us and ask for a copy of the information we hold about you:

Brian Gillanders
Computer Services Manager
Tourism Northern Ireland
Linum Chambers
Bedford Square
Bedford Street
BELFAST
BT2 7ES
Tel: 028 9044 1536
E-mail: b.gillanders@tourismni.com

We are legally required to provide you with a copy of the information we hold about you – If you request it.

We may charge you for providing the information. The cost is usually no more than £10.00 but it can be more if there is a lot of information or if it is held in manual (paper) records.

Find out how to access your personal information.

Withheld information:

There are some situations when we are allowed to withhold information, for example if the information is about:

• The prevention, detection or investigation of a crime;
• National security or the armed forces;
• The assessment or collection of tax; and
• Judicial or ministerial appointments.

We do not have to say why we are withholding information.

Worried about your data:

If you think your data has been misused or that we have not kept it secure, you should contact us and tell us:

Brian Gillanders
Computer Services Manager
Tourism Northern Ireland
Linum Chambers
Bedford Square
Bedford Street
BELFAST
BT2 7ES
Tel: 028 9044 1536
E-mail: b.gillanders@tourismni.com

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO):

If you are unhappy with our response or if you need any advice you should contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO can investigate your claim and take action against anyone who has misused personal data. You can also visit their website for information on how to make a data protection complaint.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) can help you understand what the Data Protection Act (1998), Freedom of Information Act (2000) and related issues mean to you. It can advise you on how to protect your personal information and how to gain access to official records.