Freedom of information
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI)
What is the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act?
It is a law passed by the Government in 2000 that gives you the right to request information from government services to encourage and increase the transparency of public sector and improve public trust. In 2005 the scope of the Act was extended to cover other public services including NHS Trusts.
The Act covers recorded information that is held by the public authority. The aim of the Act is to promote trust and confidence in our public services by providing clear information and being open about what we do. The Trust recognises the importance of the FOI Act in helping to transform the culture of the public sector to one of greater openness.
How do I ask for information?
All requests for information should be made in writing via email or post:
Freedom of Information (FOI) co-ordinator
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Information Governance Department
ICT Hub, First Floor Haleacre Unit
Bucks, HP7 0JD
You must clearly state what information you are requesting together with your name and postal or email address. You do not need to state why you are asking for the information.
However, you must give us enough detail about the information you require to allow us to correctly identify and find it.
We also have a publication scheme, which is an online facility that collates information that can be obtained via the FOI Act. The information we routinely make available, for example are our annual reports, financial information and clinical performance. It is a good idea to check the publication scheme before making a request for information under the FOI Act as the information may have already been published and could save you time. The Scheme is available at www.buckshealthcare.nhs.uk or please contact the Freedom of Information Co-ordinator.
What type of information can I ask for?
You can ask for any recorded information held by the Trust, for example our annual reports, financial information or clinical performance data, subject to certain exemptions listed in the Act. The right to obtain information may be limited by some exemptions, which are listed within the Act. The effect of the exemptions is that we may not be able to supply all or part of the information requested. If possible, we will supply the information requested with the exempt information removed.
When will I receive this information?
Where possible, we will acknowledge the receipt of your request within two working days, and the Act requires us to provide you with the information within 20 working days of the receipt of your request.
Can my request be declined?
We will provide you with the information unless the information you requested unless one of the exemptions under the FOI Act apply, for example if your request relates to someone’s personal details, or the information, if given, would provide an unfair commercial advantage. A full list of these exemptions can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on FOI and FOI legislation websites. If we decline your request, we will explain our reasons for doing so. If you do not agree with our decision you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered and, if the request is still declined, you can ask the ICO to review the decision. The ICO is an independent body that enforces the FOI Act, the Data Protection Act and the Environmental Information Regulations.
How much will it cost to make a request?
In most cases, the information is provided free of charge. However, sometimes you may have to pay a fee to cover administration costs, postage, photocopying or because of the expense involved in finding and supplying the information. You will be informed if a fee will apply.
If we require a fee, we shall inform you of this once we have received your request. When we have received your payment, we have 20 working days to send you the information you have requested.
For further information about the Act, please follow the below links:
- Information Commissioner’s Office: Guide to freedom of information | ICO
- Freedom of Information Act 2000 legislation: Freedom of Information Act 2000 (legislation.gov.uk)
- National Archives: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk