Information Access

Background

The Environmental Information Regulations 1992 (and 2004) created a right of access for all to Environmental Information subject to UK exceptions, while the Data Protection Act 1998 gave individuals the right of access to information held about themselves. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 has been designed to establish further this new culture of openness and transparency in public administration.
It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. A ‘Public Authority’ is defined in the Act, and includes but is not restricted to, central and local government, non-departmental public bodies, the police, the health service and schools, colleges and universities.  Any person who makes a request to a public authority for information must be informed whether or not the public authority holds that information and, subject to exemptions, be supplied with that information.
This page describes how to request information from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development including the use of our Publication Scheme.

How to access information from DARD

DARD will regularly and proactively publish and release information in response to the needs of the community, taking into account, areas where there is a recognised public interest in the information held by the Department.
The publication scheme is a web based directory of information released by DARD.

How do I request information from DARD?

If you have searched the Publication Scheme and have not found the information you are looking for you can ask for information through the following legislation.
Freedom of Information Act (FOI)- Applications for information must be in writing including email.
Environmental Information Request (EIR)– Applications for information can be in writing or verbally by phone or in person.
Data Protection Act - Under the Data Protection Act 1998 individuals have a right of access to information held about them by DARD (although this is subject to some exemptions). These requests are known as Subject Access Requests (SAR). 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
In certain circumstances you may be required to pay a fee before the information can be provided.
When requesting information please include the following details:
  • your name and address; (proof of identity is required for a Subject Access Request )
  • the information you would like to access; and
  • the way you would like the information to be sent to you (for example as hard copy, via email, etc.).
You can submit FOI, EIR and SAR requests via e-mail by using the following e-mail address: dard.informationmanager@dardni.gov.uk
A leaflet is also available explaining how we process requests for information.

How long will it take to get information from DARD?

The legislation requires us to respond to your request for information within 20 working days (40 calendar days for SAR) of the date of receipt. This timescale may be extended if the information requested is extensive, or if we have to consider if providing it is in the public interest, or if we are waiting for you to pay a fee.
Please be as specific as possible about what information you want. If necessary, we will contact you to ensure we understand your request clearly and this may add to the time we need to respond. It is also important to tell us whether you want the information sent to you on paper or by email, and whether you have any particular requirements. Information may be available in other languages or formats on request.
If you are uncertain of how to make a request or want guidance on the information held by the Department, you can contact the Information Management Branch and we will arrange for someone to assist you.
Information Management Branch
Room 507
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast
BT4 3SB
Tel: 02890 524999
Email: dard.informationmanager@dardni.gov.uk