What is the Freedom of Information Act 2000?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is a law which gives anyone the legal power to request any information that the Trust holds. This may be minutes of meetings, access to service requirements or how the Trust has spent money. Anyone can request information that the Trust holds under Freedom of Information and can expect a reply within 20 working days, although there are a few exemptions.
The exemptions protect against the disclosure of information that would be inappropriate for disclosure and include personal information, information provided in confidence, commercial interests and other important interests.
Information held may be in various forms, for example, paper documents, computerised information, printouts, maps, microfilm and audio-visual material. The Freedom of Information Act provides a right to ‘information’ rather than to records or documents. Although you are not required to specify any particular document, you must describe the information you are requesting in as much detail as possible.
There is no flat rate fee to receive information and in many cases the information will be provided to you free of charge. An authority can refuse a request if it estimates that it will cost them in excess of the appropriate cost limit to fulfil your request. The limit is £450 for public authorities.
What is a Publication Scheme?
Under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Trust has a legal duty to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme.
A Publication Scheme is a complete guide or catalogue to the information routinely published by a public authority, in this case The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.
The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness by public authorities (of which the Trust is one).
What is the Data Protection Act 1998?
The Data Protection Act 1998 is the main piece of legislation that governs the protection of personal data in the UK.
Under the terms of the Act, you can request information about yourself, your child or someone that you take care of (within certain limits). The Act gives you the right to request the information above and expect a response with the information within 40 days, unless there is a good reason why this cannot be done.
The Trust is under a duty in law to hold all your information in a confidential manner. The Trust must ensure your information is safe, accurate and only available to others who need your information to assist with your medical needs or to plan future health requirements.
What to do if you think data protection/confidentiality has been broken?
If at any time you feel that the Trust has not protected your information appropriately or has given this information to individuals that you feel should not have it, please contact the Information Governance Manager. You can find their number in the Useful Contacts section.