Publication scheme

The publication scheme explains the categories of information that the Northern Ireland Office publishes and explains how you can get that information.

The Freedom of Information Act asks government departments and other public bodies to make as much information as possible available to the public.

Under the act, we must have a publication scheme that tells you the information we regularly make available.

More information about this can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website. We have formally adopted the model publication scheme.

We publish the majority of our information on this website, and specific documents can be found using the publication search.

If the information you want is not routinely published, you can make an FOI request - see below for email and address details.

Classes of information

The publication scheme specifies the categories (or ‘classes’) of information that the department and its agencies publish and explains how to get that information. The classes are listed below.

Who we are and what we do

This includes:

  • outline of NIO’s roles and responsibilities
  • information about legislation relevant to NIO’s functions
  • Northern Ireland electoral policy
  • enquiries
  • legislation relating to flag flying in Northern Ireland
  • biographical details of ministers

What NIO spends and how

This class covers the range of financial information routinely available about NIO’s income and expenditure, its procurement procedures, costs of inquiries, political talks, contracts available for tender etc.

Types of information included under this category are:

Our policies and procedures

This class includes the range of information routinely available about NIO’s polices and procedures for conducting NIO services. Types of information included under this category are:

  • policies and procedures for conducting NIO business
  • records management and personal data policies

Lists and registers

This includes:

  • public registers and lists
  • disclosure log

The services we offer

This class covers routinely available information regarding NIO’s regulatory responsibilities and any services, advice or guidance it provides to public authorities, to commercial or non-commercial organisations and to members of the public.

  • regulatory responsibilities
  • leaflets, booklets and newsletters
  • advice and guidance
  • chargeable services
  • media releases

How we make decisions

This class covers the range of information routinely available about NIO’s major policy proposals and decisions, public consultations, internal communications guidance etc.

Types of information included under this category are:

Requests for information

Before making a request it is worth checking to see if the information is already available via the publication scheme.

If you can’t find the information you want after searching the publication scheme, you can make a request for it. This must be sent to:

Freedom of Information Officer
Northern Ireland Office
1 Horse Guards Road


You should provide:

  • your name (title, first name and surname)
  • your postal address and or email address for reply
  • a description of the information required (please be as specific as possible)

We will deal with your request as quickly as we can, and will aim to let you have a response within 20 working days. If for any reason we are unable to let you have a response within 20 working days we will contact you as soon as possible explaining the reason for this.

Most documents supplied by the Northern Ireland Office will have been produced by government officials and will be protected by Crown copyright.

You can re-use the Crown copyright protected material (not including the Royal Arms and other departmental or agency logos) free of charge in any format for non-commercial research, private study or internal circulation within your organisation.

The material must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and you must give the title of the source document/publication.

Please see The National Archives website for information on Crown copyright policy.

All the content on this website is under the Open Government Licence, except where otherwise stated.

Information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Information you receive which is not subject to Crown copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. You must obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non-Crown copyright) information.

For any other proposed use of the material please apply for a click-use PSI licence for core material from the Office of Public Sector Information:

Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Kew, Richmond