Freedom of Information

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 19th October 2005.

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Photo of Iris Robinson Iris Robinson DUP, Strangford

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many individuals in each Government Department in the Province are employed to deal with freedom of information requests.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

It is not possible to identify precisely the number of officials who deal with freedom of information issues, since it is potentially part of every civil servant's role to respond to Freedom of Information requests. However, one of the primary support functions of Information Management staff is to deal with these requests, plus requests made under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The number of Information Management staff who help to process requests within each Department is cited in the following table.

Department Information Management (including FOI) staff
Northern Ireland Office 2.5
Department of Environment 6
Department for Regional Development 5
Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (40)8.5
Department of Education 4
Department for Social Development 3
Department for Employment and Learning 4
Department of Finance and Personnel 4
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 6
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment 2
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety 4
Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (41)5

(40)This figure includes 5.5 people processing requests in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

(41) This figure includes 2 people from the central FOI team.

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