Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of 'recorded' information held by the Trust, sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on the Trust.
The objective of The Freedom of Information 'Act' is to promote a culture of openness and accountability.
The Right to Information
Individuals already have the right to access information about them ('Personal data'), which is held on computer, and in some paper files, under the Data Protection Act 1998. This is known as the 'Subject Access Right'.
The Freedom Of Information Act will extend this right to allow access to all types of corporate, business information held
Making a 'Request for Information'
Applicants will not be required to mention the FOI Act when making a request for information.
Before the Trust is required to respond, a request will have to satisfy certain conditions. A request for information under The Act's general right of access must be:
- In permanent form, (in writing or by e-mail - which is received in legible form and is capable of being used for subsequent reference)
- State the name and address of the applicant for correspondence
- Include sufficient information to enable the Trust to identify the information requested
Under the terms of "The Act" a request for information can be received and should be dealt with by any employee of the organisation in receipt of a request.
However, North Bristol NHS Trust has implemented a procedure whereby any request received for should be forwarded immediately to the Information Governance Manager (FOI Lead) or in the case of the Media requesting information the Media Relations Manager.
Dealing with a 'Request for Information'
All information, not covered by an exemption must be released to the applicant within 20 working days* of receipt of the request (NB: Which starts the 1st working day after receipt).
*Working Days: Do not include Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking & Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the UK.
A charge may be made for dealing with the request. The details of the charging regime are to be set out in the Freedom of Information & Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007.
The Trust does not have to action the request for information if it estimates that the cost of complying will exceed the limit of: £450.00
- A national rate of £25.00 per person, per hour
- Photocopying at 25p per sheet
- Postage & Packaging
These provisions also apply to the 'unstructured' data element of the Data Protection Act 1998, Principle 6 – Subject Access Requests'.
The applicant must be issued with a 'Fees Notice' within 20 working days*.
The Act lists 23 exemptions to the duty to disclose. These are not exhaustive. If information is withheld, the applicant will be given reasons for this decision and will also be informed of their right to appeal to the Information Commissioner.
Reuse of Public Sector Information & Links with FOI
July 1 2005 new regulations came into force covering the re-use of public sector information (Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No. 1515)
These regulations take Freedom of Information (and other access legislation) on to the next logical stage. Responding to an FOI request by supplying information does not confer an automatic right of re-use.
Scheme Accountability (NBT Website) The Director of Information Management & Technology is the senior lead for this Scheme. The day to day maintenance of the Publication Scheme (this website) is the responsibility of Helen Williamson, Head of Information Governance & IT Security, Information Management Directorate.