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Public Services Ombudsman Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Disclosure of information

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

49.—(1) The information to which this section applies is—

(a)information obtained by the Ombudsman

(i)in deciding whether to begin an investigation,

(ii)in the course of an investigation,

(iii)in resolving a complaint under section 10,

(b)information obtained by the Ombudsman which is obtained from a person mentioned in section 51(4),

(c)information obtained by the Ombudsman which is obtained from the Information Commissioner by virtue of section 76 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (disclosure between Information Commissioner and ombudsmen).

(2) The information must not be disclosed except—

(a)for the purposes of deciding whether to begin an investigation,

(b)for the purposes of an investigation,

(c)for the purposes of resolving a complaint under section 10,

(d)for the purposes of a statement or report made in relation to a complaint or investigation,

(e)for the purposes of any provision of section 51,

(f)for the purposes of proceedings for an offence under the Official Secrets Acts 1911 to 1989 alleged to have been committed in respect of information obtained by the Ombudsman,

(g)for the purposes of proceedings for an offence of perjury alleged to have been committed in the course of an investigation,

(h)for the purposes of an inquiry with a view to the taking of proceedings mentioned in paragraph (f) and (g),

(i)for the purposes of proceedings under section 33 or sections 54 and 55,

(j)in the case of information to the effect that a person is likely to constitute a threat to the health or safety of one or more persons, to any person to whom the Ombudsman thinks it should be disclosed in the public interest,

(k)in the case of information to which subsection (3) applies, to the Information Commissioner.

(3) This subsection applies to information if it appears to the Ombudsman to relate to—

(a)a matter in respect of which the Information Commissioner could exercise a power conferred by an enactment mentioned in subsection (4), or

(b)the commission of an offence mentioned in subsection (5).

(4) The enactments are—

(a)Part 5 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (enforcement),

(b)section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (practice recommendations),

(c)Part 4 of that Act (enforcement).

(5) The offences are those under—

(a)any provision of the Data Protection Act 1998 other than paragraph 12 of Schedule 9 to that Act (obstruction of execution warrant),

(b)section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (offence of altering records with intent to prevent disclosure).

(6) No person may be called upon to give evidence in any proceedings (other than proceedings mentioned in subsection (2)) of information obtained by that person as mentioned in subsection (1).

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