NITB Publication Scheme

NITB Publication Scheme

In order to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 public sector organisations such as ours have to routinely publish information whenever possible. 

1.      The Freedom of Information Act (2000) is designed to establish a new culture of openness and transparency in public administration.

2.      The Act provides a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, subject to certain exemptions, and imposes obligations on these authorities as to how they should respond to written requests for information. It also establishes the office of Information Commissioner with responsibility for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Act.

 3.      Under the Act all public authorities are obliged to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to ensure that information is readily available to members of the public without the need for specific consideration under the Freedom of Information Act and to inform the public of the extent of the material available.

 The Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s (NITB) commitment:

 4.      The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is subject to the Act and has put processes in place to ensure that it fulfils its obligations.

 5.      We will work with applicants so that we clearly understand what information they are seeking, to ensure that it can be provided in the format sought and as speedily as possible.

 6.      While we will endeavour to provide information as speedily as possible, in some circumstances it may require the full twenty working days stipulated under the Act. (This does not include time taken to translate a request into English should this be required.)

 7.      While normally there will be no fee for providing information, NITB reserves the right to charge in accordance with the terms of the Act. This will apply if the provision of the information will take more than two staff days to provide. In this case a fee of £450 will be charged.

 8.      All requests must be submitted in writing to:

Business Planning & Improvement
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Fax: 028 9024 0960

E-mail:
foi@nitb.com

 9.      If you believe that we have not made information available in the manner described under the Act, please write to:

Kathryn Thomson
Chief Operating Officer
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Fax: 028 9044 1634

E-mail: k.thomson@nitb.com

 10.  The Chief Operating Officer (COO) has overall responsibility for Freedom of Information within NITB. The COO will investigate your complaint and reply to you within 15 working days. If we have not resolved the issue to your satisfaction you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Information Commissioner at:

 The Information Commissioner’s Office – Northern Ireland
51 Adelaide Street
Belfast
BT2 8FE

Tel: 028 9026 9380

Fax: 028 9026 9388

E-mail:
ni@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Making a request for Information under the Freedom of Information Act:

What is a FOI request?

 11.  Any written request for information held by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) which is outside that of normal/routine business requests will be considered as a Freedom of Information request.

 12.  However, environmental information and subject access requests (the right of individuals to have access to data about themselves) are exempt under the FOI Act as these kinds of information have their own access regimes. If your request relates to environmental information it will be handled under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. If you are seeking information about yourself that is held by NITB, you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998.

What am I entitled to?

 13.  You are entitled to be told whether or not we hold the information you have requested. This is sometimes referred to as the duty to “confirm or deny”. If we do hold it you are entitled to have the information communicated to you. The Act is fully retrospective and gives you a right to request any recorded information held by NITB. However there are some exemptions to these rights.

Why is some information not available?

 14.  Whilst the FOI Act 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.

Absolute and Qualified Exemptions:

 15.  Some exemptions are absolute, which means that information falling within the terms of these exemptions does not have to be disclosed under the FOI request process. Where an exemption is qualified, NITB 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.

 16.  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.

 17.  The following is a list of the exemptions:

S21 Information accessible to the applicant by other means

S22 Information intended for future publication

S23 Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters

S24 National Security

S26 Defence

S27 International relations

S28 Relations within the UK

S29 The Economy

S30 Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities

S31 Law enforcement

S32 Court Records

S33 Audit functions

S34 Parliamentary privilege

S35 Formulation of government policy

S36 Prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs

S37 Communications with Her Majesty etc and Honours

S38 Health and Safety

S39 Environmental information

S40 Personal information

S41 Information provided in confidence

S42 Legal professional privilege

S43 Commercial interests

S44 Prohibitions on disclosure

 18.  For further information about the different categories of exemptions please see the guidance issued on the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) website: www.dca.gov.uk/foi

How do I make a request?

 19.  To ask for information under the Freedom of Information Act your request must:

·         Be in writing;

·         State your name and an address for correspondence; and

·         Describe the information you require.

 20.  To enable us to locate the information you require it will be helpful if you can define your request as clearly as possible, including for example any dates or timescales that may help identify relevant records. Please also include a daytime telephone number, if possible. This will help speed up the process should we need to contact you to clarify the details of your request.

 21.  For convenience you can download and complete the form by clicking here Request for Information Form and send it to the following address:

Business Planning & Improvement
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Fax: 028 9024 0960

E-mail: foi@nitb.com

What does it cost?

 22.  The FoI Act sets an “appropriate limit” below which public authorities are required to provide requested information free of charge. We will not charge where the cost of locating, retrieving and extracting the information is less than this limit, which is currently set at £450.

 23.  Where the estimated cost of providing information exceeds £450, NITB is not obliged to proceed with the request. However we may be able to provide some of the information requested if it can be supplied within the “appropriate limit” and in these circumstances we will contact you and assist you in redefining your request.

What happens when I make a request?

 24.  When we receive a request for information, we will respond as soon as possible and generally no later than 20 working days from the date of receipt. If we are unclear from your initial request what information you are asking for, we will contact you to clarify what you are seeking.

 25.  If your request is very wide and appears to be outside the “appropriate limit” for costs, we may contact you to see if you can be more specific about what you are seeking. This may enable us to answer your request within 20 working days.

 26.  If we need more time to weigh up public interest considerations relating to disclosure we will write to you within the 20 days to tell you when we estimate we will be able to provide a final response to your request.

What happens if the information I requested is not held?

 27.  NITB will contact you and advise you that the information requested may be held by another public authority and provide the necessary details to assist you in re-applying.

 28.  In some cases, NITB may automatically transfer the request on your behalf to the appropriate public authority, in these circumstances we will contact you to advise what has been done.

 29.  If we are unable to advise which public authority holds, or may hold the information requested, NITB will try to provide alternative assistance to facilitate you in pursuing your request.

Consultation with Third Parties:

 30.  Where are request is received under the FOI Act for information concerning the details of a third party or a document that has been prepared by a third party including another public body, individual or business, NITB is required to take reasonable steps to contact and consult with the third party regarding the release of the information.

 31.  Although the third party will be consulted, the decision as to whether or not to release the information will be taken by NITB alone on a case by case basis.

What happens if my request is refused or I am unhappy with the response?

 32.  You are entitled to ask for an internal review of NITB’s decision.

 33.  If your request is refused or information is excluded from the release, we will reply explaining why, identifying which exemption(s) has been applied, where appropriate. This letter will also give details of how to ask for an internal review of the decision.

 34.  If you remain dissatisfied after the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner and ask for a review of the decision.

How many requests am I permitted?

 35.  The Act does not specifically limit the number of requests you can make, however it does allow a public authority the right to refuse any vexatious or repeated requests. NITB may also take into account the number of requests received from an individual for the same or similar information when considering whether the “appropriate limit” has been reached.

Access to Information:

 36.  We are a transparent and open organisation and we publish a great deal of information about what we do on this website which you can access by using the search facility clearly marked on our home page. However there may be other issues about which you would like further information and in this part of our website we explain how you can get such information.

Environmental Information Regulations (2004):

 37.  Some information held by NITB may be subject to Environmental Information Regulations (EIR’S). Environmental Information covers a wide range of topics which relate to or affect the environment. Applications for information can be made by anyone, anywhere in the world.

 38.  New EIR’s (Environmental Information Regulations 2004) came into force on 1st January 2005. If you make a request which includes information falling within the EIR’s definition of environmental information we are obliged to consider this part of your request under these regulations rather than the FOI requirements. Unlike Freedom of Information requests, which need to be made in writing, EIR’s can be made orally. Subject to the exceptions provided for in the regulations we will seek to provide the information within 20 working days of receiving the request.

Data Protection Act (1998):

 39.  Under the Data Protection Act 1998 individuals have a right of access to information held about them by NITB (although this is subject to some exemptions). These requests are known as subject access requests. If you want to ask us for information which we may hold about you personally then this will be dealt with under the Data Protection Act 1998. This would include information relating to health records, employment and training records – anything which is limited to you as a person whether as an employee or partner of any kind.

Subject Access Requests under the Data Protection Act 1998:

 40.  If you want to ask us for information which we may hold about you personally then this will be dealt with under the Data Protection Act 1998. This would include information relating to health records, employment and training records – anything which is limited to you as a person whether as an employee or partner of any kind.

 41.  If you wish to make a Subject Access Request you should write to:

Brian Gillanders
Computer Services Manager
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Fax: 028 9024 0960

E-mail: b.gillanders@nitb.com

 42.  Please specify the kind of information you wish to be made available to you and enclose your proof of identity e.g. a formal document or utility bill with your name and address on it, a driving licence or passport. You must also enclose a cheque for £10.00 for any kind of information personal to you. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 we have 40 working days to provide the information you ask for.

 43.  If you are unhappy with any aspect of the way in which we deal with your Subject Access Request you may complain to:

Kathryn Thomson
Chief Operating Officer
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Fax: 028 9044 1621

E-mail: k.thomson@nitb.com

Or to the Information Commissioner at:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

 44.  If you feel we have failed to disclose information without good reason you may apply to a Court for disclosure.

Publication Scheme:

 45.  In order to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 public sector organisations such as ours have to routinely publish information whenever possible.

 46.  The Information Commissioner, who is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, has drawn up a Model Publication Scheme for all public sector organisations:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/Home/what_we_cover/freedom_of_information/publication_schemes.aspx

NITB has decided to adopt and formally commit to this in its entirety.

 47.  The Commissioner has also published a ‘Definition Document for the Model Publication Scheme for Northern Ireland non departmental public bodies:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/Home/what_we_cover/freedom_of_information/publication_schemes/definition_document_ndpb_ni.aspx

This sets out in some detail what his minimum expectations are as far as we are concerned.

 48.  We have reviewed the information we routinely put into the public domain to ensure we are compliant with the Definition document. You will be able to see where we don’t hold relevant information or where for some reason we have decided not to routinely disclose information identified in the Definition document by referring to our Publication Scheme Guidance to Information at www.nitb.com/publicationscheme.

 49.  Most of the information we make routinely available can be accessed through our Industry website www.nitb.com or our consumer website www.discovernorthernireland.com by using the search facility. Such information is continually updated. If you cannot find information through the search engine and we have indicated in the definition document that the information is routinely available this may be because the information cannot be loaded onto our website. In such circumstances please contact the named NITB Manager in the scheme and ask for the information to be provided to you.

Accessing information which is not included in the Publication Scheme:

 50.  As an open and transparent organisation we are committed to routinely publishing as much information as possible; however if you want information which is not on our website or otherwise available through our guide to information you may ask us for it in accordance with further provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and of the Environmental Information Regulations 2005.

 51.  Requests for such information should be sent to:

Business Planning & Improvement
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

E-mail: foi@nitb.com

 52.  By law we have to deal with such requests within 20 working days. If you make a request and are not satisfied with the way in which we deal with it you may ask us to review any decision we make.

 53.  If you wish us to undertake such a review you should write to:

Kathryn Thomson
Chief Operating Officer
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

E-mail: foi@nitb.com

54.  Any review will normally be under the control and direction of a senior member of staff who had no involvement in the original decision or process.

55.  If you remain dissatisfied at the conclusion of any review you may complain to the Information Commissioner whose address is:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Fees and Charges:

 56.  The Freedom of Information Act and the associated Fees Regulations stipulate that we cannot levy a fee for information unless there is a statutory basis for doing so or the amount of time taken to locate the information exceeds 18 hours. However we are allowed to charge for disbursements related to the provision of information and any reformatting requested by the applicant provided we ensure that applicants are aware of any charges which may be made.

 57.  No charges will be made for any information accessed via our website. For any information which is provided in hard copy and where there is no statutory provision for charges our rates for photocopying, reformatting and postage will be as follows:

 Disbursement:  Rate:
 Photocopying: 10p per A4 sheet (Over 100 pages)
 Reformatting: £25.00 per person; per hour
 Postage:

Current Royal Mail rate for Recorded Delivery

 58.  If you want any further information about the provision of information or have any difficulty accessing information provided on our website please contact:

Freedom of Information:

Marc Vannucci
Corporate Information Officer
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Tel: 028 9044 1655

E-mail: foi@nitb.com

Data Protection Act (1998):

Brian Gillanders
Computer Services Manager
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Tel: 028 9044 1536

E-mail: b.gillanders@nitb.com

www.nitb.com:

Emma Meikle
Industry Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Tel: 028 9044 1632

E-mail: e.meikle@nitb.com

www.discovernorthernireland.com:

Brenda Murphy
Visitor Information Manager
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne’s Court
59 North Street
Belfast
BT1 1NB

Tel: 028 9044 1639

E-mail: info@nitb.com

Last updated: 5 November 2013

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