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The Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order (Northern Ireland) 2009

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3.—(1) The person responsible—

(a)may only grant pre-release access where to deny such access would, in the opinion of the person responsible, significantly impede—

(i)the provision of responses to questions or the making of statements about an official statistic at or shortly after the time of publication of that statistic; or

(ii)the taking of action before, at the time of or shortly after publication of that statistic;

(b)may only grant pre-release access to an eligible person;

(c)may only grant pre-release access if in the opinion of the person responsible the public benefit likely to result from such access outweighs the detriment to public trust in official statistics likely to result from such access;

(d)is required to restrict pre-release access to the minimum number of persons consistent with the need for pre-release identified within paragraph (a);

(e)may, when deciding whether to grant pre-release access to an eligible person, take into account any failure by that person, in relation to a previous grant of pre-release access, to comply with paragraph 6, paragraph 7 or any conditions imposed by the person responsible;

(f)may grant pre-release access subject to conditions.

(2) For the purposes of this paragraph “eligible person” means—

(a)a Northern Ireland Minister, including the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland;

(b)a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly appointed as a junior Minister under section 19 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998(1);

(c)a Minister of the Crown;

(d)the head of a government department;

(e)a member of the Scottish Executive;

(f)a junior Scottish Minister;

(g)a member of the Welsh Assembly Government;

(h)a person who, in the opinion of the person responsible, is otherwise accountable to the public for the formulation or development of government policy or for the delivery of public services to which the statistic has direct relevance; or

(i)a person who needs pre-release access in order to advise a person referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (h).

(3) For the purposes of this paragraph, “government policy” includes the policy of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the policy of the Scottish Administration, the policy of the Welsh Assembly Government and the policy of the Government of the United Kingdom.

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