NIAO Privacy Notice

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when the Northern Ireland Audit Office collects personal information and explains how we protect your privacy. It applies to information we collect about:

  •  job applicants and our current and former employees
  •  our statutory audit work
  •  complaints, correspondence and other communications such as data subject access requests or freedom of information enquiries
  •  visitors to our website
  •  use of cookies by the Northern Ireland Audit Office

This privacy notice was written with brevity and clarity in mind, so it does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of our collection and use of personal information. If you have any queries or concerns about our use of your personal information or this notice, please contact us at

Job applicants, current and former Northern Ireland Audit Office employees

The information you provide as part of the application process will be treated in confidence and will be shared only with members of the selection panel and Human Resources for the purposes of the recruitment process. Where we want to disclose information about you to other third parties, for example where we want to take up a reference, we will not do so without informing you beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.

Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for a 12-month period after the recruitment campaign has been completed and will then be destroyed or deleted. This information is used solely for monitoring purposes to form statistical reports on our recruitment activities.

Once a successful candidate has taken up employment with the Northern Ireland Audit Office, they should refer to the human resources staff data handling section in the staff handbook. Once employment has ended, we will retain your information in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it.

Our Statutory Work

When the Northern Ireland Audit Office undertakes audit work under our statutory powers, we may collect information from public bodies that contain some personal data.

Personal data may be used in audit tests (such as when testing payrolls or housing benefit systems) and to help form judgments and report on financial and Value for Money audits and to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public money. We will only use this information for the purpose it was collected. We will hold it securely and when it is no longer needed it will be disposed of in accordance with our retention schedule.

Please note that a privacy notice is available for our National Fraud Initiative (NFI) work and is available within the NFI section of our website here.

People who make a complaint or correspond with us

When we receive a complaint, correspondence or concerns about a public body we audit, data subject access or complex freedom of information request, we hold the correspondence in a file.

We will only use the personal information we collect to process the complaint, correspondence or request. However, we may have to disclose your details when investigating it. If you do not want your personal information disclosed we will try to respect this. However, it may not be possible to investigate your request on an anonymous basis. We compile and publish statistics showing information such as the number of complaints and corresondence we receive, but not in the form which identifies anyone. We will keep information provided to us in complaints, correspondence, data subject access or complex freedom of information requests in line with our retention policy.

Visitors to our website

There may be instances where it is necessary for us to communicate with visitors to our website for administrative or operational reasons. Where we collect specific information from you for this purpose, we will not pass it on to any other organisation.

We also collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns when someone visits our website. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of our site, to monitor the download of our reports and publications and to help improve the service we provide.

This data collection process is carried out electronically in the background and therefore  visitors to our website may not be aware that it is taking place. We believe that this process is not intrusive to the visitors’ privacy as we do not make any to find out the identities of visitors to our website. The standard internet log information collected will only be used for the aforementioned purposes and will not be passed on to any other organisation.

NIAO Cookie Compliance

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your computer, mobile phone or tablet. These are known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personllay.

What are cookies?

Cookies are used to improve services for you by:

  • enabling a service to recognise your computer so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task;
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested;
  • measuring how many people are using services, so that popular services can be  made easier and faster to use; and
  • analysing anonymous data to help us understand how people interact with government services so we can make them better.

What do cookies look like?

If you click on a cookie you'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the website server that gave you the cookie.

How we use cookies

This website uses the following cookies:

  •  _ga, _gat and _gid for Google Analytics
  • cookie-agreed and cookie-agreed-version for remembering your Cookies preferences

How to manage your cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you. However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by nidirect, or any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. Your browser is the way you access the internet for example Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari. The ‘Help’ function within your browser should tell you how you can restrict or block cookies.

For information on how to restrict or block cookies on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

About cookies website

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the way our website works for you.

Northern Ireland Audit Office’s website search engine

The search engine on our website is designed to be as powerful and easy to use as other popular search engines. It does not collect information from visitors to our website.

Other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites which are outside our control and are not covered by this notice. If you access other sites using the links provided, the operators of these sites may collect information from you which will be used by them in accordance with their privacy notice, which may differ from ours.

Access to personal information

You have a right to access the personal data that we hold about you by making a ‘subject access request’ under GDPR, for which you will be asked for proof of identity. A subject access request should be submitted in writing to the Data Protection Officer at:

Northern Ireland Audit Office,
106 University Street,

If we do hold information about you we will:

  •  give you a description of it
  •  tell you why we are holding it
  •  tell you who it could be disclosed to
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

This information will be provided without delay and at the latest within one month of

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy policy was last reviewed in May 2022.