Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed on 30 November 2000 and came into full power in January 2005. The Act applies to all public authorities including government departments, local authorities, NHS bodies, schools, colleges and universities, the police, House of Commons and House of Lords. It aims to promote a culture of openness and accountability in the public sector by providing people with a general right of access to all types of recorded information.
The Act applies in England, Scotland and Wales and is monitored by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
The Act ensures that all public sector organisations are publicly accountable and gives any person the right to request information about a public authority. As a member of the public you have a right to know what your local NHS are doing for you, what money we receive and how we spend it, what services we offer, what targets we are set and how we are working towards achieving them.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is part of the Government’s commitment to greater openness in the public sector, a commitment supported by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).
The Publication Scheme
The ICO has established a model publication scheme for all NHS bodies to follow. This provides you, as a member of the public, with a guide and description of information that is routinely published by EPUT and made available on its website. The publication scheme allows us to break down the information into seven classes:
- who we are and what we do
- what we spend and how we spend it
- what are our priorities and how are we doing
- how we make decisions
- our policies and procedures – download the full list, for copies please email Epunft.FOI@nhs.net or call 01268 407753
- lists and registers
- the services we offer
Download the Summary Disclosure Logs of Freedom of Information Act requests received by the Trust. This Log is updated quarterly.
We hold a detailed log of requests and responses by month / year for those requests identified in the summary disclosure log.
Should you wish to receive a copy of any one of these logs please contact the FOI Team – Epunft.FOI@nhs.net quoting the month / year required; they will arrange for a copy to be sent out to you.
You may first wish to search the Trust’s website to find out if the information you require has already been published before requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act.
How Do I Make a Request
If you wish to make an enquiry about the Trust and you cannot find the information you are looking for on our website then please write to us at:
The FOI Team (Legal Department)
The Lodge, Lodge Approach, Runwell
Wickford, Essex, SS11 7XX
Or email: Epunft.FOI@nhs.net
Requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act must be made in writing (including email) and in order for us to process your request you must provide us with:
- your name
- a contact address (email or postal)
- the information / documents you would like to access – giving as much detail as possible to allow us to identify it and provide you with as complete a response as possible
- the way you would like the information sent to you (e.g. email or post)
We are required to respond to requests for information within 20 working days of the date of receipt of your request – applicants will be kept informed if any delays appear likely. Once your request has been received we will write and acknowledge this.
We have a duty to provide advice and guidance to applicants who wish to make a request for information and need help in doing so – this is available from the FOI Team (Legal Department) who can be contacted as above or via 0300 123 0808.
Limits to Disclosure (Exemptions)
The Trust will disclose information wherever possible, however, in certain circumstances, it will be necessary to withhold some or all of the information requested under one of the Exemptions listed within the Act.
Where information is withheld under one of these exemptions the Trust will advise which exemption has been applied and why.
All requests for information will be considered on an individual basis and with due consideration of the public interest.
The FOI Act does not apply to requests for personal information (e.g. access to health or personnel records) and such requests should be requested, and will be processed, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
What if I Don’t Get the Information I Wanted / Complaints Procedure
If, when you receive your response from the Trust, you don’t feel you have received the information you requested / the Trust has not answered your query to your satisfaction, you have the right to appeal / complain. You can do this, in the first instance, by contacting the FOI Team as above.
If you are still not happy with the response following this appeal you can escalate with the ICO.
Details on how to appeal / complain are included on all Trust responses to FOI requests.
For more information please contact the FOI / DPA Lead Legal Department on 01268 407753 or 01268 407724 or email Epunft.FOI@nhs.net