Freedom of Information

This page provides information about the Freedom of Information Act and HSENI's responsibilities under these regulations.

Note

This page gives an overview of some of the main provisions of the Act and should not be regarded as a legal interpretation.

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives you the right to request information from public authorities.  From the 1st January 2005, you will have access to information on how HSENI works, spends public money, and reaches decisions.

Information may also be obtained under:

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) - This allows you access to information held about you by both public and private organisations, and gives you the right to make sure it is correct.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) - This legislation gives you access to environmental information held by organisations that perform public functions.

How do I get information about HSENI under the FOI Act?

You can find information on the HSENI website. If you can’t see what you’re looking for you can email: foi@hseni.gov.uk or write to: 

Debby McAllister

Information Manager
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland
83 Ladas Drive
Belfast
BT6 9FR

Please state your name, address, telephone number and specific details of the information you require.

How long does it take to get information?

Once a written request for information is received, we will respond promptly, and at any rate, within 20 working days. This time can be extended where we are obliged to consider the public interest.

Is there a cost?

This depends on a number of factors including the volume and complexity of material requested.

Responses to enquiries that cost HSENI less than £450 to process will be provided free of charge, although there may be a small charge for disbursements.

HSENI has a right to refuse a request if the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceed £450.  

We will not refuse a request for environmental information on the grounds of cost alone, however we have the right to charge a reasonable amount to cover processing costs.

 In all cases, we will notify you of any estimated costs before proceeding with the request.

What happens if the information I want is not available?

HSENI cannot provide information that does not exist, but we have a duty to assist you.  We will contact you with what relevant information we do hold, or may offer to transfer your request to another public authority that might help.

Can I have any information at all?

The FOI Act allows you access to almost all information that a public body holds.  But some information cannot be revealed to the public, like information about national security, law enforcement or personal information about others.

Re-use of information

The supply of information under the FOI Act 2000 does not give the recipient the automatic right to re-use it in any way that would infringe copyright. This may include, for example, making multiple copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public.

The copyright in some material has been waived, meaning you can reproduce this material freely, however permission to re-use certain information must be obtained in advance, where appropriate.

What if I am refused information?

We will tell you if information is being withheld and why. If you are unhappy with our decision you have the right to request an internal review. This request should be made in writing within 40 working days to:

Louis Burns

Deputy Chief Executive
HSENI
83 Ladas Drive
Belfast
BT6 9FR

Or by email to: louis.burns@hseni.gov.uk

If you are not satisfied with the result of the internal review you may appeal to the Information Commissioner (details below).  The Commissioner will normally expect an internal review to have been carried out prior to appeal.

How do I find out more?

More information is available from the Office of the Information Commissioner at: 

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF