Access to information

The following acts of parliament have created access to information regimes which allow members of the public to ask the Department for the Economy (DfE) certain types of information:

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities including DfE. It does this in two ways:

  1. Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities
  2. Members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities

DfE has two separate duties when responding to requests for information:

  1. To tell the applicant whether the Department holds any information falling within the scope of their request
  2. To provide that information unless it is exempt from disclosure

The Act covers any recorded information that is held by DfE that is not environmental information or personal information.

Internal FOI/EIR policy

This article outlines the process for staff to follow on receipt of a request for information:

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 provides a similar access regime for environmental information to that above:

  1. Public authorities must make environmental information available proactively
  2. Members of the public are entitled to request environmental information from public authorities

As under the FOI Act, DfE has a duty to provide that information unless it is exempt from disclosure.

FOI, EIR and SARs Privacy Notice

A privacy notice outlining how personal data will be handled by the Department of the Economy when processing requests for information:

How to access information

The Access to Information Fact Sheet provides an overview of some of the main provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations, and also provides further information about FOI procedures.

Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 establishes a framework of rights and duties which are designed to safeguard personal data.  

The Act applies to a particular activity – processing personal data – rather than to particular organisations or people. As DfE processes personal data, the Department must comply with the Act.

The Act gives a right of access to individuals to a copy of their personal data.  This right, commonly referred to as subject access, is most often used by individuals who want to see a copy of the information an organisation holds about them. Under the right of subject access, an individual is entitled only to their own personal data.

If you wish to request a copy of your personal data please contact the DfE Data Protection Officer.

DfE Data Protection Policy

The Department for the Economy (DfE) is fully committed to complying with the Data Protection Act 2018 and has published a Data Protection Policy:

Requesting information

We already make a lot of information routinely available. Before you consider making a request please try:

  • searching our website for the information
  • checking our Publication Scheme and the Publications area, which details the categories of information made available by the Department on an ongoing basis.

If you still cannot find what you are looking for, or you require information available on the website in a different format (a hard copy, for example) you can ask for it under the appropriate access regime by contacting Information Management Unit.

Publication scheme

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires the Department for the Economy  (DfE) to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme that sets out the information we intend to pro-actively publish as a matter of routine. The purpose of a publication scheme is to ensure that a significant amount of information is available without the need for individuals to make specific information requests.

Departmental Board Minutes

The Department publishes the minutes of Departmental Board Meetings as soon as possible after they have been agreed by the Board. 

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