Freedom of Information

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Current COVID-19 Situation

Due to the current situation with COVID-19 there may be a delay in replying to any FOI requests received by Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust. 

The collation of information to respond to a request can require data from many members of staff within Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust. The Trust will always aim to action all requests received within the timescales set out, however the priority at this time has to be managing the outbreak and supporting frontline operations and staff.  Please be assured that we will respond to all requests and enquiries when we can. We ask for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented situation.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has advised that although they are unable to extend statutory timescales, they will advise people that they may experience understandable delays when making FOI and EIR requests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is your request urgent?

The Government’s directive is that people should work from home wherever possible and not come into the office unless absolutely essential. We are aware that your statutory right of access remains unchanged, our resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or information rights work at this time. Therefore, we would ask that where possible, before submitting any requests for information that you check our website first, as it may be already published and available on our disclosure logs.

Prioritising essential services

If you cannot find the information under freedom of information request, please be aware that under current circumstances and our need to prioritise essential services to ensure the wellbeing of our patients, you may experience a delay in your response.

Following guidance from the ICO, we will keep requestors informed of any delays and will respond as soon as resources allow. We will also be keeping up to date on guidance from the ICO as the situation changes to ensure that we comply with any changes or amendments to information rights practice.

For further information on your information rights at this time please see;

https://ico.org.uk/

 

Right to know

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give the public the right to request information held by the Trust. This legislation does not apply to requests for personal information in Medical (Health) or Personnel Records.

If you would like to request access to your personal health records, please see our Access to health and staff records page.

The Right to know allows the public access recorded corporate information held by the Trust, including information in minutes of meetings, reports, policies and procedures. The Environmental Information Regulations apply specifically to information related to the environment.

The legislation gives two related rights:

  • The right to be told if information exists, and
  • The right to receive the information (where possible in the format requested), subject to certain exemptions.

 

Datasets

The Freedom of Information Act also puts obligations on the Trust with regards to datasets. Under the Right to Know, the public may request that a dataset is released in a format that can be re-used.

A dataset is a collection of factual information in electronic form to do with the services and functions of the [public] authority that is neither the product of analysis or interpretation, nor an official statistic and has not been materially altered.

Once a dataset has been released, the Trust has an obligation to publish the dataset in its Publication Scheme and keep it updated, unless we believe it is inappropriate to do so (e.g. publication is resource intensive).

 

Requests for Re-Use

The Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations allow the public to ask the Trust for permission to re-use its information. This information could have been released in response to a Freedom of Information request or it could be available in a leaflet, on the website or be produced as part of the Trust’s public task.

 

How to make a request

The Trust has an obligation to publish certain information. Before submitting a request you may want to check if the information is already available in our Publication Scheme

Requests under the Right to Know, for Datasets or Re-use can be made in the following ways:

By Email: FOI.LG@nhs.net

By Post:

FAO: Freedom of Information Officer

Information Governance Department

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

First Floor, Estates and Facilities Building

Lewisham

London SE13 6LH

 

What to provide when making a request:

  • Make it clear if you are making a re-use request;
  • Make your request as clear as possible, providing as much detail as you can to enable us to understand and identify the information you are looking for and to respond promptly;
  • Tell us your preferred format for receiving information – electronic or hardcopy.

 

How we process your request (in brief)

The Trust will:

  • Log your request with a unique reference number which should be quoted if you have any queries about your request;
  • Send you an acknowledgement;
  • Assess your request and contact you for clarification on any points that are too vague or which are likely to cause difficulities, eg you have asked for a large volume of information which may mean we cannot provide it all;
  • Process your request and respond fully within 20 working days, unless we need more time to consider exemptions.

Please note

  • A re-use request can only be considered once it has been assessed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Complaints and appeals

If you are unhappy with how we deal with your request you may:

  • Send us a complaint about how we have dealt with your request.
  • Ask us to carry out an internal review of our decision about what information has been released, or because we have refused a request to re-use.

All requests for internal review must be received within 3 months of you receiving our response.

If you remain unhappy with the response to your complaint or internal review decision you may contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Website: https://ico.org.uk

Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113

Post:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF