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Freedom of Information Act

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives anyone the right to obtain information from public organisations including hospitals, health agencies and authorities such as the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). This means that you can access information about how RQIA works, how we conduct our business and how and why we make decisions.

How to request information from RQIA

Some information is available via our website:

Corporate Documents

If the information you are seeking is not available here, and FOI request can be made. More information is available on our website here: FOI Requests

You should also supply us with your name, address, email address and telephone number.

What information is available via FOI?

FOI gives you the right to access almost all information that RQIA holds; however, some 'exemptions' apply. For example, information given in confidence, relating to national security or law enforcement cannot be provided. Exemptions will be considered on a case by case basis, in accordance with the Act. Please note, personal information cannot be release under FOI. To request personal information you should submit a 'subject access request' under the Data Protection Act 1998.

What costs are associated with making an FOI request?

RQIA is obliged to provide information free of charge, where it will cost less than £450 to find information and prepare it for release. If it will cost more than £450, RQIA can refuse your request, or charge for the cost of gathering this information. However, these circumstances are rare and we will always assist you to narrow down your request.

What if the information is not available?

It may be that you are seeking information that we simply do not have. In these circumstances, we may be able to direct you to make your request to another authority that holds the information.

What if RQIA cannot release information?

RQIA will tell you why all, or part, of your request has been withheld. If you are unhappy with this decision, you should first ask for an internal review. You should direct this request, along with your name and contact details to: Or by email: FOI.BSO@hscni.net

If the matter cannot be resolved and you remain unhappy, you can ask the Northern Ireland Information Commissioner to decide if your request has been dealt with correctly.

The Northern Ireland Information Commissioner
51 Adelaide Street

Or by email: ni@ico.gsi.gov.uk

How long should it take to receive a response?

RQIA must respond to your request within 20 working days. If we require more time, we must write to you and tell you when we will be able to answer your request, and why we need more time.