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Freedom of Information Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Publication Scheme for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has been adopted without modification from the model publication scheme prepared and approved by the Information Commissioner.

This publication scheme commits the Trust to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The information covered is included in the classes of information mentioned below, where this information is held by the Trust.

The scheme commits the Trust:

  • To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below

  • To specify the information which is held by the Trust and falls within the classifications below

  • To proactively publish, or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme

  • To produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public

  • To review and update on a regular basis the information the Trust makes available under this scheme

  • To produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available

  • To make this publication scheme available to the public

 Classes of information included in this publication scheme:

  • Who we are and what we do - organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance

  • What we spend and how we spend it - financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts

  • What are our priorities and how are we doing - strategy and performance information, plans, assessments, inspections and reviews

  • How we make decisions​ - policy proposals and decisions, decision making processes, internal criteria and procedures, consultations including the Board of Directors' and Board of Governors' meetings

  • Our policies and procedures - current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities​

  • Lists and registers - information he​ld in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority

  • Services we offer - advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases, descriptions of the services offered

The Trust will indicate clearly to the public what information is covered by this scheme and how it can be obtained. Where it is within the capability of the Trust, information will be provided on a website.  

Where it is impracticable to make information available on a website or when an individual does not wish to access the information by the website, the Trust will indicate how information can be obtained by other means and provide it by those means. In exceptional circumstances some information may be available only by viewing in person. Where this is the case, an appointment to view the information will be arranged at a mutually convenient time.

Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language that is legally required. Where an authority is legally required to translate any information, it will do so. Obligations under disability and discrimination legislation and any other legislation to provide information in other forms and formats will be adhered to when providing information in accordance with this scheme.

Charges which may be made for information published under this scheme are outlined in the paragraphs below. 

The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made by the Trust for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum. Material which is published and accessed on a website will be provided free of charge.

Charges may be made for information subject to a charging regime specified by Parliament. Charges may be made for actual disbursements incurred such as photocopying, postage and packaging and the costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information.

Written requests

Information held by a public authority that is not published under this scheme can be requested in writing, when its provision will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The Trust's freedom of information request coordinator is:

Mike Mann
Compliance Manager
(Data Protection Act & Freedom of Information Act)
Hellesdon Hospital
Drayton High Road
Norwich  NR6 5BE 
Tel: 01603 421421

Email: ​foi@nsft.nhs.uk

Caldicott Guardian

The publication scheme will help you to find all the information we publish. The Freedom of Information Act does not change the right of service users to protection of their patient confidentiality in accordance with Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention, the Data Protection Act and at common law. Maintaining the legal right to patient confidentiality continues to be an important commitment on our part. To help with this we have appointed someone called a Caldicott Guardian, who has responsibility to ensure the protection of patient confidentiality throughout the Trust in accordance with your legal rights. This Trust's Caldicott Guardian is:

Dr Jonathan Wilson
Deputy Medical Director
Hellesdon Hospital
Drayton High Road
Norwich  NR6 5BE 
Tel: 01603 421421

Feedback and complaints

Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to:

Robert Nesbitt
Trust Secretary
Hellesdon Hospital
Drayton High Road
Norwich  NR6 5BE 
Tel: 01603 421421

Rights of access to information

The Freedom of Information Act recognises that as a member of the public, you have the right to know how public services such as the NHS are organised and run, how much they cost and how you can make complaints if you need to. You have the right to know which services are being provided, the targets that are being set, the standards of services that are expected and the results achieved. 

From 1 January 2005 it has also obliged the Trust to respond to requests about the information which it holds and is recorded in any form, and has created a right of access to that information. The rights to request and access this information are subject to some exemptions which we have to take into consideration before deciding what information can be released.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are also entitled to access your clinical records or any other personal information held about you and you can contact Mike Mann to do this.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) provide a separate right of access to environmental information, in addition to the other rights you have under the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the EIRs, everyone has the right to access information about the environment. This includes information about the air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape, substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, emissions, discharges etc, as well as information about policies which affect these things. 

You can request this information in writing, in person or over the telephone. Please contact: 

Estates Department
Hellesdon Hospital
Drayton High Road
Norwich 
NR6 5BE
Tel: 01603 421421

Unlike the Freedom of Information Act, EIR requests cannot be refused just because of what it would cost the public authority to comply. The exceptions to the duty to disclose information also differ slightly from those under the FOI Act. However, both the EIRs and the FOI Act are enforced by the independent Information Commissioner. 

If you feel that your request for environmental information has been wrongly handled, you should first ask the public authority to review their decision. If you are still unhappy, then you may ask the Information Commissioner to investigate. 

Exemptions

Although the Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to access many documents there are some exceptions.

We are not obliged to confirm or deny whether the information exists. However we will make every effort to ensure you are aware of the exemption applied. Reasons include:

  • The information is available by other means

  • The information has been provided to us "in confidence"

  • The information is personal data (and therefore access requests should be made under the Data Protection Act)

  • The information has been supplied by or relates to security bodies

  • The information is subject to parliamentary privilege

  • The information is subject to a "prohibition on disclosure"

  • The information relates to a court hearing

Qualified Exemptions - within the FOI Act there are also 17 Qualified Exemptions clauses. This means if we believe the Trust meets the qualifying criteria we do not have to disclose the information. We would have to meet the Public Interest Test in deciding whether to disclose the information or not. Some examples include:

  • Information intended for publication

  • Investigations and proceedings

  • Law enforcement

  • Legal professional privilege

  • Commercial interest

  • Health and safety

If we deny your request for information, you will be told which exemption clause we have used. The Trust provides a complaints procedure to deal with complaints about the Trust's handling of requests for information. If you feel you need to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact a Non-executive director via the Chair of the Trust.  

If you feel you have exhausted our internal complaints procedure, you also have the right and may feel you wish to write to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted on 01625 545740 or at www.ico.gov.uk.


Robert Nesbitt
Trust Secretary​