Northern Ireland

NIO 'too slow' to respond to some information requests

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has been identified as being too slow in responding to some Freedom of Information requests.

It is among more than 30 public bodies in the UK on a list of organisations singled out by the Information Commissioner.

Others on the list include the Ministry of Defence and the Metropolitan Police.

The Information commissioner said they need to "get their houses in order".

Christopher Graham also said they must demonstrate that they take freedom of information requests seriously.

"The Northern Ireland Office in their last year's report showed that they responded to 92% within 20 working days so they're not on the list for that reason but there have been one or two cases, probably very difficult, intractable cases that have gone on for a very long time and that's why the NIO is on the list," he said.

"It's interesting that no other public authority in Northern Ireland has come to our attention."

A spokesperson for the NIO said: "We welcome the Information Commissioners acknowledgement that the department is responding to 95% of all information requests within time.

"We will be meeting with the Information Commissioner's Office to provide assurance on how we have managed the two cases that they have listed."

Anyone can make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.