Freedom of Information
Bringing about greater openness, transparency and accountability
We are committed to openness relating to our work and organisation, and routinely publish as much information as possible. Please visit our Publications page to find the information you need. All information published on this website can be assessed free of charge.
If you require information which is not published on our Publications page you may ask for it in writing in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives everyone the right to obtain information from all public authorities- including NIFRS. You can ask for information about how NIFRS works, how we carry out our duties, why we make the decisions we do, and how we spend public money. Freedom of Information is an important step in bringing about greater openness, transparency and accountability and increasing public confidence in the service we provide.
You can also obtain information from us under The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs)– we routinely monitor environmental information such as electricity and gas usage and recycling figures. If you wish to request information which we may hold about you personally, this request will be dealt with under our Data Protection Policy 2018 (DPA).
The ‘right’ to obtain information is subject to certain conditions and exemptions. The intention of the Acts is to provide transparency in how we conduct our business, and so these conditions and exemptions are therefore limited. The Acts place a legal duty on public authorities to provide advice and assistance to applicants.
How to make a request for information or assistance
Write to- The Information Unit, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, 1 Seymour Street, Lisburn, BT27 4SX
Phone- (028) 9266 4221
FOI Form- You can fill in the FOI form here.
The FOI team will be able to provide you with assistance and advice if you have made, or are thinking of making, a request for information. They will help you understand your rights under the FOI Act and identify the information you require.
The request must-
- Be written or electronic
- State in what format the reply must be made
- Give the applicant’s name, address and telephone number if applicable
- Full details of the nature of the information required.
If the request can be dealt with in the normal course of business, this will be responded to by the relevant Department within NIFRS as soon as possible.
Applicants requesting information of a personal nature should be advised that their request would be dealt with under and according to the rules of the Data Protection Act 2018. Requests of this nature will be dealt with by NIFRS’s Information & Security Manager.
In dealing with an FOI request, NIFRS may need to consult other public authorities and/or third parties in order to reach a decision on whether the requested information can be released.
Completed requests for information may be published, but we will not publish applicant details.
What happens if the information I want is not available?
The FOI Act does not require us to gather information that is not already there. However, we will do our very best to help you with your request and contact you to explain what information we do hold that might help answer your query.
Where NIFRS does not hold the information we will transfer the request to the public authority which will best be able to assist the applicant, and we will notify the applicant. Applicants who wish to be notified before any transfer is made should say so in their application.
How long does it take to get information?
Once a written request for information is received, we will respond promptly and in any event not later than 20 working days of receipt of your request. Working days will be defined as Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays and other Public Holidays. However, there are circumstances when this time can be extended. Sometimes we may need to contact you to be sure about what information you require. You can help us with this by being as clear as possible in your request for information as well as providing your name, address and a contact telephone number. Please also let us know what form you would like to receive the information in, and we will do our very best to respond to your request.
Is there a cost for this service?
Whilst most information can be accessed free of charge, certain publications and other classes of information will only be available on receipt of payment, for example, if what you are requesting is not contained within the Publication Scheme we may charge a fee to cover the cost of gathering and/or copying the information. If this is the case we will notify you of the charge and seek your approval first. The request cannot be actioned until the fee is paid and that the 20 day response time will be suspended and we will not proceed until we have received your fee. If the fee is not paid within 3 months, we will assume that you no longer want the information. Once the detailed request and the fee have been received, the search for information can begin.
The fee should be no more than 10% of the total cost involved in researching the request. The cost should cover searching, copying and disbursement costs. In such cases the charge will be calculated, the applicant advised and approval to proceed obtained.
If the cost amounts to more than £450, the request can be refused. This amount is based on a calculation of £25 per hour per person therefore this means that the appropriate limit will be exceeded if it would require more than 18 hours work.
Where the request could be considered exempt on cost grounds, NIFRS will consider providing an indication of what information could be provided within the cost ceiling.
Applicants are not allowed to make several requests for “bits and pieces” of information in order to escape the £450.00 limit rule.
Can I have any information at all?
FOI is all about making as much information available to the public as possible in an open and transparent manner. There will also be exemptions where information cannot be given to the public. For example, information about national security, law enforcement or personal information about others – although you can obtain your own personal information through the Data Protection Act.
FOI Disclosure Logs & Responses
Below you will find a list of FOI/EIR Requests processed by NIFRS, together with a selection of requests and responses which may be of wider public interest, or includes information that is frequently requested.
Personal details such as names and addresses are redacted to protect the requester’s privacy.
Please note that the supply of information in response to an environmental request does not confer an automatic right to re-use the information. Under UK copyright law you can re-use any information supplied for your own purposes, the purposes of private study or non-commercial research without requiring permission. Similarly, information supplied can also be re-used for the purposes of news reporting, with the exception of photographs.
Most documents produced by a government department or agency can be re-used under the Open Government Licence (OGL). For further information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website. Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party and you may need to apply for permission to re-use it. For information about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website.
|4 October 2019||Operating Procedures at Enniskillen Fire Station|
|19 August 2019||Attacks on Firefighters|
|11 June 2019||Malicious False Alarms|
|16 May 2019||Telecommunications Information|
|18 February 2019||White Goods Incidents|
|4 December 2018||Bariatric Incidents|
|14 November 2018||Animal Rescues|
|27 September 2018||Cost of Bonfires|
What should I do if I am refused information?
We will contact you to explain if the information you have requested is being withheld and the reasons why.
If you are not satisfied with our decision, you have the right to seek a review about the lack of information disclosed or appeal against the reasons for not disclosing.
A request for review should be made in the first instance within Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service by writing to Governance, Information and Business Support Services Manager, Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, 1 Seymour Street, Lisburn, BT27 4SX within two calendar months from the date of the response letter.
If you remain dissatisfied or a complaint has not been resolved you should then make a formal complaint. You can find our Complaints form here.
If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner will only investigate appeals that have failed to be resolved by using NIFRS’s official procedure.
The Information Commissioner’s contact details are-