Freedom of Information

What is Freedom of Information?

The Freedom of Information Act was passed on 30 November 2000 and the full Act came into force on 1 January 2005. The Act requires us to make a certain amount of information available to the public and to release information in response to specific requests. The Act sets out exemptions from that right, covering any information that may not have to be released.

How to make a Freedom of Information Request to NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group

The purpose of this guidance is to provide the general public an overall view of how to make a Freedom of Information request to NHS Nottingham City CCG.

Introduction
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to a wide range of information held by public authorities, including the NHS.  The purpose is to promote greater openness and accountability.  The Act sets out exemptions from that right, covering any information that may not have to be released.

Our duty to you - The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires us to:
  • Provide information to you about the organisation through a Publication Scheme
  • Provide a guide to this information
  • Respond appropriately to requests for information
Before you request information from NHS Nottingham City CCG
The CCG publishes information on its website.  We have a Publication Scheme setting out what information we currently release, or expect to release.

Before submitting a request for information, you should see if the information that you are seeking is already published.  If you request information from the CCG that is already published, then we will simply refer you to the published source.

NHS Nottingham City CCG offers a full disclosure log where you can see all the requests and responses that have been issued by the CCG under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You may well find the answer to your question is already published on our website.

Who can request information?
Anyone, anywhere in the world can made a Freedom of Information request to NHS Nottingham City CCG.

What can I request?
You can seek any recorded information that you think the CCG may hold.

If the information you seek is environmental then we will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations 204 (EIR).  You do not have to know whether the information you want is covered by the EIR or the FOI Act.  When you make a request, we will decide which law applies.

If the information you seek is your own personal data or information about yourself then you should make a subject access request under the Data protection Act 1998 (DPA), and not under the FOI Act.

How do I request information?
Your request must be in writing and can be either posted or emailed to the CCG.

For postal requests, please send to the following address:

Freedom of Information Coordinator
NHS Nottingham City CCG
Standard Court
1 Park Row
Nottingham
NG1 6GN
 
Email requests should be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Please write 'Freedom of Information' in the subject line. 

What information must I include in my request?
The FOI Act requires certain information to be supplied before the CCG can respond to your request:
  • Your real name - we do not have to respond to requests submitted under a pseudonym;
  • Your address (email addresses are acceptable);
  • A description of the information you wish to obtain, and
  • Any preferences for the format in which you wish to receive the information e.g. electronic or hard copy.  We will endeavour to meet your preferences but cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
What you do not need to do:
  • explicitly mention the FOI Act, although it may help to do so
  • know whether the information is covered by the FOI Act or the Environmental Information Regulations as we will decide this
  • say why you want the information, or
  • specify particular documents.  You have a right to information, however it is recorded.
How should I word my request?
Comprehensive guidance on submitting effective requests for information is available from the Information Commissioner's Office.  The dos and donts below provide a helpful guide for you in framing an effective request that will get you the information you want.

Do:
  • Clearly identify the information you want.  Be clear about date ranges or timescales.  If it is not clear what you are requesting we may need to seek further clarification,
  • Be as specific as possible.  If your request is too general it may be refused on the grounds that replying to it will exceed the cost limit laid down in the Fees Regulations, fees and charges, which is equivalent to one person working for 3 and a half days. If this happens we will ask you to re-submit a narrower, more specific request which could be met within the cost limits and give you advice and assistance to do so,
  • Ask questions such as "what" or "how much" as this is much more likely to result in a useful response
  • Use straightforward, polite language

Do Not:

  • Use open-ended questions such as "why".  We do not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgement that is not already recorded,
  • Base your request on assumptions or opinions,
  • Mix your request with complaints or comments

What happens when my request is received?
The CCG has a legal obligation to reply to your Freedom of Information request and must do so within 20 working days of receipt.  When you write to the CCG requesting an internal review, we will acknowledge your letter and inform you of the time by which we aim to complete the review.  We aim to complete all internal reviews within 20 working days, although cases that are complex may take longer.  Where internal reviews go over 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress.

We will do one of the following:

  • supply you with the information you requested,
  • inform you that we don't hold the information and, if we are able, advise you who does,
  • inform you that your request will exceed the cost limit specified in the Fees Regulations and invite you to submit a further narrower request,
  • inform you that we hold the information requested but refuse to provide all or part of it and explain why - this will involve citing one or more of the exemptions from the FOI Act,
  • inform you that we are refusing your request on the basis it is repeated or vexatious, or
  • inform you that we need more time to consider the public interest test in relation to your request and let you know when to expect a further response.  This should not be later than 40 working days after receipt of your request.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the reply I receive or the way in which my request was handled?
If you are unhappy with the reply you receive you can ask for an internal review to review any decision we make.  If you wish us to undertake a review, please write to:

Lucy Branson
Director of Corporate Development
NHS Nottingham City CCG
Standard Court
1 Park Row
Nottingham
NG1 6GN

or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you remain dissatisfied at the conclusion of any review you may write to the Information Commissioner, who will consider whether NHS Nottingham City CCG has compled with its obligations under the Act, and can require the CCG to remedy any problems.  You can find our more about how to do this, and about the Act in general, on the Information Commissioner's Website: www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Complaints to the Information Commissioner should be sent in writing to:
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
Full details of how to complain to the CCG will be included in our initial reply to your Freedom of Information request. Details of how to complain further to the Information Commissioner will be included in our response to your internal review request.