The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives members of the public certain rights to request information from public authorities. The individual right of access applies to all types of recorded information held by public authorities regardless of the date of the information.
The Act does, however, set out some exemptions to this right. It also places several obligations on public authorities about the way in which they provide information. Subject to the exemptions, anyone making a request must be informed whether the public authority holds the information and, if so, be supplied with it - generally within 20 working days. There is also a duty to provide advice or assistance to anyone seeking information (for example to explain what is readily available or to clarify what is wanted).
More information on the Freedom of Information Act is available on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website here.
You can submit a Freedom of Information request in the following ways:
- Online form: https://
geh.disclosure-log.co.uk/ forms/ foi
- E-mail: geh
@infreemation.co.uk(clearly mark as a Freedom of Information request)
- By post: Freedom of Information, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Old Ambulance Station, Nuneaton, CV10 7DJ
Guidance for Requestors
To be valid under the Act, the request must:
- be in writing.
- include the requester’s real name.
- include an address for correspondence, this can be an email address.
- describe the information requested.
The ICO advises that requests should:
- State clearly that you are making a request for information. This helps the public authority to instantly know how to deal with your letter or email.
- Make your request as specific as possible Where possible.
a. ask for specific information or ask clear questions.
b. Avoid vague or general statements.
c. Try to include details such as dates and names, if you can.
d. You may want to include the reason why you are asking for the information. This may help you get what you need.
e. Don’t submit catch-all requests such as “send me everything about x”. Public bodies can refuse requests that they think are too broad or burdensome.
- Ask for help.
a. If you are unsure, the public body should provide you with advice and assistance, within reasonable limits.
b. You can always contact the public body before submitting a request to ask for advice and assistance. They can help you reduce the scope of your request or include specifics. This increases the likelihood of you getting what you want and cuts down the cost of compliance.
- Protect public money.
a. Gaining access to public information is your right and public bodies must respect that.
b. However, requests do cost public bodies time and money to respond to. This is public money and we need to make sure it’s spent responsibly.
c. It is important that you don’t submit frivolous or trivial requests.
d. You should not make requests for the same information more than once, unless the information has changed a lot.
e. You should not make requests as a way of ‘punishing’ a public body if you think they have done something wrong. If you do any of the above, the public body could consider your request ‘vexatious’ and refuse to action it.
- Make requests, not complaints.
a. Don’t combine a request for information with a complaint about the public body or a comment about their actions. This could make it hard to interpret what you’re requesting and you may not get a response you are happy with.
- Be polite.
a. Do not use threatening, offensive or accusatory language.
b. Do not be offensive about individual members of staff.
c. The public body can refuse your request if you are.
Click here to view previous FOI requests. To save you time please check before submitting a request as your query may have already been answered.
If you are dissatisfied with how your request has been handled or would like to formally appeal against the trust’s response to your FOI request, you can complain to firstname.lastname@example.org
If, after we have addressed your complaint, you remain dissatisfied with how we have responded, you are entitled to appeal to the Information Commissioner on 01625 545 745. Further details are available on the Information Commissioner website.
Trust information can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act. However, providing access to information does not give an automatic right to re-use it. ‘Re-use’ can include publishing information or issuing copies to the public.
Examples might be private sector companies wanting to re-publish our documents on their website as part of a commercial service or wanting to publish our images in commercial publications.
The Public Sector Information Regulations provide a framework for public sector organisations to licence the re-use of their information, including the possibility of levying charges for re-use.
When we release information to you that you have requested under access to information legislation (such as the Freedom of Information Act), you may ask if you can re-use the information, perhaps for commercial purposes. Without the necessary permission, you can breach our copyright. It is this situation with which the regulations are concerned.
Nothing in the regulations affects the rights of access under other legislation, such as Freedom of Information.
We are not obliged under the regulations to make public sector information available for re-use, but if we do so, it must be done in accordance with the regulations. In these circumstances, the regulations place the following obligations on us:
- We have 20 working days in which to respond to a request for re-use. This period may be extended where the request is extensive or complex
- A licence fee can be issued if we do not wish re-use to be free
- A licence must not restrict competition
- Exclusive licensing arrangements will not be allowed, except for the provision of a service in the public interest. Such arrangements will be published
- We should make available to the public our conditions for re-use and any standard charges for re-use
- Information for re-use should be made available electronically where possible and appropriate
- We must not discriminate between applicants making requests for re-use for comparable purposes
Under Regulation 15(2) the trust can charge sums for re-use that covers:
- The cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of information; and
- A reasonable return on investment.
Because of the potential diversity of requests we have taken the view that it is not reasonably practicable to publish standard charges, but in any case, the charge will not exceed the total cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of the requested information together with a reasonable return on investment.
You will be advised of any charge due to being paid and the terms of a specific Licence for Re-use for Commercial Purposes will be agreed upon. This licence will be in line with the requirements of the Regulations and licensing terms and fees as laid down by the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). Some licences will be free; however, the Trust reserves the right, in certain circumstances, to charge a fee for the re-use of information which it deems to be of commercial value.
Under Section 19 of the FOIA we have a legal duty to adopt and maintain a publication scheme for the publication of the information we use.
The publication scheme can help you find the following information:
Class 1 - Who we are and what we do
Class 2 - What we spend and how we spend it
Class 4 - How we make decisions
Class 5 - Our policies and procedures
Class 6 - Lists and registers
Class 7 - The services we offer