Freedom of information (FOI) requests
The Freedom of Information Act (2000) legislation gives the right of access to all types of information held by the NHS and its partners.
It gives the public both the right to be told whether information exists and the right to receive the information, subject to certain exemptions, details of which are listed below.
This publication scheme commits us to make information available to the public as part of our normal business activities. The areas covered are included in the Classes of information section below - where the information is held by us.
The scheme commits an authority to:
Proactively publish or make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by us and falls within the classifications below.
Specify the information which is held by us and falls within the classifications below.
Proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme.
Produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public.
Review and update on a regular basis the information the authority makes available under the scheme.
Produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available.
Make this publication scheme available to the public.
Classes of information
There are various exemptions to disclosing information under the Freedom of Information Act.
These come into play:
- if the information can easily be accessed by other means – e.g. the internet or published documents
- if the information is personal information
- if the information is provided in confidence (but only if legally enforceable)
- when there is a legal reason not to disclose
- if the information is about national security, defence, the economy, law enforcement, formulation of Government policy, health and safety, communications with Her Majesty or other royalty, international relations, intended for future publication and commercial interests. However, all exemptions in this group must be tested to see if disclosure is in the public interest.
In addition to these exemptions, the PCT can withhold information if it will take more than two-and-a-half days to provide it, or we cannot identify what information is needed (although we have to work with the requester to clarify what is being requested). The PCT can also withhold information if it is considered that the request is vexatious.