Policies and Procedures

Freedom of Information

Access to Information

We are a transparent and open organisation and we publish a great deal of information about what we do on this website which you can access by using the search facility clearly marked on our home page. However there may be other issues about which you would like further information and in this part of our website we explain how you can get such information.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Publication Scheme

In order to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 public sector organisations have to routinely publish information whenever possible.

The Information Commissioner, who is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, has drawn up a model publication scheme for all public sector organisations which we have decided to adopt and formally commit to. The Commissioner has also published a definition document for NI Government departments which sets out in some detail what his minimum expectations are as far as we are concerned.

We have reviewed the information we routinely put into the public domain to ensure we are compliant with the definition document. You will be able to see where we don’t hold relevant information or where for some reason we have decided not to routinely disclose information identified in the definition document by referring to our Publication Scheme - Guide to Information

Most of the information we make routinely available can be accessed through our website by using the search facility. Such information is continually updated. If you cannot find information through the search engine and we have indicated in the definition document that the information is routinely available this may be because the information cannot be loaded onto our website. In such circumstances please contact Adele Boyle, Corporate Affairs Executive, Utility Regulator, Queens House, 14 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6ED, telephone: 028 9031 6343, email: adele.boyle@uregni.gov.uk, and ask for the information to be provided to you.

Accessing information which is not included in the Publication Scheme

As an open and transparent organisation we are committed to routinely publishing as much information as possible; however if you want information which is not on our website or otherwise available through our guide to information you may ask us for it in accordance with further provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and of the Environmental Information Regulations 2005. Requests for such information should be sent to Adele Boyle (see contact details above).

Fees and Charges

The Freedom of Information Act and the associated Fees Regulations stipulate that we cannot levy a fee for information unless there is a statutory basis for doing so or the amount of time taken to locate the information exceeds 18 hours. However we are allowed to charge for disbursements related to the provision of information and any reformatting requested by the applicant provided we ensure that applicants are aware of any charges which may be made.

No charges will be made for any information accessed via our website. For any information which is provided in hard copy and where there is no statutory provision for charges our rates for photocopying, reformatting and
Postage will be as follows:

- Photocopying and re-formatting @ 10p per single A4 Page
- Postage at full Royal Mail charge (Pricing in Proportion) depending on the applicant’s preference for 1st or 2nd Class post.

For further information on accessing information held by the Utility Regulator, please refer to our Freedom of Information Guidance document.

Whistleblowing policy

Whistleblowing is when a worker raises concerns about improper practices in their workplace. Whistleblowing can inform those who need to know about health and safety risks, potential environmental problems, fraud, corruption, cover-ups and many other problems. It is sometimes the only way that such information comes to light. If the concern is raised early enough, it can help to avoid serious damage being done.

Our policy applies to external whistleblowers (individuals who do not work for the Utility Regulator) who, as workers in companies in the electricity, gas and water industries, want to disclose certain concerns or wrongdoing to us relating to the activities of companies or individuals operating in those industries.

The Public Interest Disclosure (NI) Order 1998 (PIDO) protects workers who ‘blow the whistle’ about wrongdoing. It mainly takes the form of amendments to the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996, and makes provision about the kinds of disclosures which may be protected; the circumstances in which such disclosures are protected and the persons who may be protected.
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