Freedom of Information complaints process

Our FOI complaint procedure is provided in conformity with the Section 45 Code of Practice on the Discharge of Public Authorities’ Functions under Part 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.”

Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of your request for information you have the right to complain, which will trigger an internal review. You will be informed of your right and how to exercise it in the Department’s initial response to your request.

The first step is to request an internal review of the initial response to your request by the Department. We recommend that you do this as soon as possible and within two months of receiving the Department’s initial response to your FOI request. This timeframe is in line with guidance from the Information Commissioner. Should your request for an internal review fall outside of the recommended 2 months we will exercise our right to refuse to conduct an internal review.

The review process involves an independent review of the initial response which will give rise to a full reconsideration of the handling of the case, as well as the final decision.

When you write to the Department requesting an internal review, we will acknowledge your letter and inform you of the time by which we aim to complete the review. We aim to complete all internal reviews within 20 working days, although more complex cases may take longer. Where internal reviews go over 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress.

If, once you have been informed of the outcome of the internal review, you are still dissatisfied, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office.We will explain the process for doing this when we tell you of the result of the review.

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