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Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (hereby known as the FOI Act), was introduced in January 2005 and provides people with the right to access official information held by all public authorities.
The FOI places a duty on public authorities to adopt a scheme for the proactive publication of information.
The main features of the FOI Act are:
- A general right of access to recorded information held by public authorities, subject to certain conditions and exemptions; in cases where information is exempted from disclosure, except where an absolute exemption applies, a duty on public authorities to:
- Inform the applicant whether they hold the information requested.
- Communicate the information to him or her, unless the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question outweighs the public interest in disclosure;
- A duty on every public authority to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme.
The FOI Act requires every public authority to publish a Publication Scheme that tells people what information is routinely available to them, and how to get it. Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust (hereby known as the Trust) has adopted the Information Commissioner's new Model Scheme for NHS Bodies in England.
Information is provided under the following seven class headings:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how we spend it
- What are our priorities and how we are doing
- How we make decisions
- Lists and registers
- The services we offer
Paper copies of the publication scheme are also available on request.
How do I make a request for information?
If the information you require is listed in the Publication Scheme but not available for download or if you require information which is not available through the Publication Scheme, you should make a written request to the Freedom of Information Office at the address shown below.
We ask that you provide the following information when sending your request:
- Your full name and contact address. This could be your postal or email address.
- A description of the information you wish to receive. If it is not clear what is being requested we will then contact you for clarification. Your request will be out on hold until this is received.
- The format you wish to receive it by. If you do not specify this we will send the information to you via the cheapest method to limit costs to the Trust.
St Nicholas Hospital
Tel: 0191 246 6890
The Trust must comply to any requests we receive and an acknowledgement of your request must be sent to you. We will then have 20 working days on receipt of your request to provide the information where applicable.
Will I always get what I ask for?
The Trust strives to be open and is normally able to satisfy requests in full. However the right of access is not absolute and some requests may have to be refused, for example where disclosure would breach confidentiality or put people in danger. Decisions will be made subject to the law and taking into account public interest. You as the applicant will have the right of appeal.
Information on the Publication Scheme can be downloaded free of charge. If the information is not on the website but can be made available easily it will be provided, free of charge, within the 20 working days required by the Act.
However under Section 12 of the FOI Act 2000, the Trust can charge a fee if it is estimated that the costs for searching for the information will exceed £450. This figure is calculated on 2 1/2 working days at £25.00 per hour. If this occurs the applicant will be notified of the charge. No information will be provided until the charge has been paid.
If you are unhappy with the response you receive, you must first complain to the Trust by contacting:
Information Governance Manager
Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust
St Nicholas Hospital
Newcastle upon Tyne
The material available through this Publication Scheme is subject to Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust's copyright unless otherwise indicated. Unless expressly indicated on the material to the contrary, it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium, provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading manner. Where any of the copyright items in this Scheme are being re-published or copied to others, you must identify the source of the material and acknowledge the copyright status.
Permission to reproduce material does not extend to any material accessed through the Publication Scheme that is the copyright of third parties. You must obtain authorisation to reproduce such material from the copyright holders concerned.
More about Freedom of Information
The Office of the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with Freedom of Information in England, publishes much useful guidance on its website. This guidance includes information on how to make a request, what exemptions exist and may be used under the FOI Act 2000.
The website can be found following this link.