Which organisations are covered by the Freedom of Information Act?
If an organisation is a public authority as defined by the Freedom of Information Act, it is covered by the provisions of the legislation. If it does not meet the definition, it will not be a public authority and will therefore have no obligations under the Act. NHS Leeds CCG, along with other NHS organisations, is covered by the Act.
Who can make a request?
Under the Freedom of Information Act, any individual, anywhere in the world, is able to make a request to public authority for information. An applicant is entitled to be informed in writing as to whether the information is held and have the information communicated to them, subject to a number of exemptions.
What information can I request?
You have the right to request any information that we might hold – including e-emails, minutes of meetings, research or reports, subject to a number of exemptions. However, before making a request, you should check to make sure the information you need isn’t available through our publication scheme.
How do I make a request?
You may make a request to us in writing using the information listed on Make a Request page. Requests must fully describe the information you need, and must include a name and address for correspondence.
Will I always get the information I want?
Not always. In some circumstances it may be that the information you have requested is exempt from disclosure. If we decide to refuse you access to any of the information, we will provide you with a refusal notice which clearly states why. We will also explain how you may appeal against our decision.
Is there a cost limit for each request?
There is no “flat rate” fee to receive information, and in many cases the information will be provided to you free of charge.
However, we may refuse a request if we estimate that it will cost us in excess of the appropriate cost limit to fulful. This limit is defined in the Act for NHS organisations as 18 hours, or £450, per request.
Provided your request does not exceed this limit, the only charges we may pass to you are those we incur for the physical provision of information – such as photocopying, and postage and packaging. These are collectively known as “disbursements”. If we decide to charge you for disbursements, we will issue you with a fees notice within 20 working days of receipt of your request. If we do not receive payment within three months of the notice, we shall no longer be obliged to comply with the request.
Can I choose how to receive the information?
When making a request, you may state whether you have a preference as to how we should communicate the information to you. You can specify whether you want a hard copy or a response by e-mail, or even request an opportunity to inspect a record containing the information on our premises.
We are required to give effect to such requests so far as is reasonably practicable – and will explain why if we are unable to comply.
How quickly will I receive a response?
We will inform you in writing whether or not we hold the information you have requested and, if so will communicate it to you within 20 working days of receipt of the valid request.
In some circumstances, a request for information may be refused. If this is the case, you will be issued with a refusal notice stating the exemption providing the basis for refusal. This will be communicated to you within the same 20 working day time period.
Does the Act apply to my personal data?
The Freedom of Information Act gives applicants the right to request information held by public authorities. It does not provide a right of access to personal information held about you.
You may request personal data held by us about you, but this will be processed a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018 rather than a Freedom of Information request.
Some personal data held by us about others may be available to you under the Freedom of Information legislation, provided that release of said information would not contravene any of our obligations und the Data Protection Act.