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 Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 requires us to:
• Provide information to you about NHS Mid Essex CCG through a publication scheme
• Provide a guide to this information
• Respond appropriately to requests for information
Before you request information from NHS Mid Essex CCG please check whether it is already available. NHS Mid Essex CCG publishes information on this website and you may well find the answer to your question is already here. We have a publication scheme setting out what information we currently release or expect to release.
If you request information from NHS Mid Essex CCG that is already available, we will refer you to the published source.
If the information is environmental, we will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. 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 is your own personal data, then you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998, and not under the FOI Act. See below for how to make DPA requests.
Who can request information?
Anyone, anywhere in the world, can make a FOI request to NHS Mid Essex CCG.
What can I request?
You can seek any recorded information that you think NHS Mid Essex CCG may hold.
How do I request information?
Your request must be in writing and can be either posted or emailed to NHS Mid Essex CCG.
For postal requests, please send to the following address:
NHS Mid Essex CCG
Hedgerows Business Park
Essex CM2 5PF
What information must I include in my request?
The FOI Act requires certain information to be supplied before NHS Mid Essex 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. email or hard copy.
We will endeavour to meet your preferences but cannot guarantee that we will be able to.
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 EIR 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 [https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/official-information/]. However, to frame an effective request for the information you should:
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 would exceed the cost limit laid down in the Fees Regulations, which is equivalent to one person working for three 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 language.
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 judgment 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?
NHS Mid Essex CCG has a legal obligation to reply to your FOI request and must do so within 20 working days of receipt. 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 narrower request;
inform you that we hold the information requested but refuse to provide all or part of it and explain why, 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 my request was handled?
You can ask NHS Mid Essex CCG for an internal review of your FOI request. When you write to us requesting an internal review, we will acknowledge your letter and tell you how long we think the review will take. We aim to complete internal reviews within 20 working days, although cases that are more complex may take longer. Where internal reviews go over 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress.
If, after an internal review, you are still not satisfied you can then complain to the Information Commissioner (ICO). Details of how to do this are available at the ICO website.
Full details of how to ask NHS Mid Essex CCG for an internal review will be included in our initial reply to your FOI request. Details of how to complain further to the Information Commissioner will be included in our response to your internal review request.
How do I request information held about me?
The Data Protection Act allows you to find out what information we hold about you on computer and in some paper records. This is known as the ‘right of subject access’. All requests for access to your personal data held by NHS Mid Essex CCG should be made in writing to:
NHS Mid Essex CCG
Hedgerows Business Park
Essex CM2 5PF