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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 came into force on 1st January 2005.
The FOI Act was introduced so that public authorities, like the NHS are seen to be open and transparent in their business processes and to promote a culture of openness and accountability. The Act ensures that:
“Any member of the public has the ability to apply for access to recorded information held by public authorities - this could include policy details, procedures, minutes of meetings etc”
Please note that this is non patient identifiable information as in the majority of cases requests for patient identifiable information will be made under the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

Therefore, the FOI Act provides people with a legal ‘right to know’ and 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. The FOI Act gives people a right to obtain official information held by Hywel Dda Health Board unless the organisation can show there is good reason for the information to be exempt from publication. The FOI Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.

We have produced a More information on the following document  short guide on FOI.  

Publication Scheme

The Information Commissioner, Mr. Christopher Graham, who is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the FOI Act, has drawn up what is entitled a Model Publication Scheme for all public sector organisations which the LHB  has decided to adopt and formally commit to. The Information Commissioner has also published a Definition Document for NHS Organisations which sets out, in some detail, what his minimum expectations are as far as the Health Board is concerned.

More information regarding the FOI Act can be found clicking on www.ico.gov.uk.  The Information Commissioner has also published a number of Frequently Asked Questions about the FOI Act which you might find useful. 

Our Publication Scheme is a complete Guide to Information routinely published by Hywel Dda University Local Health Board, it specifies how the information is published and whether any charges are payable for accessing that information.  It sets out the type of information the Health Board produces and the associated decision making processes which are made publicly available.  Most of the information that the Health Board holds is routinely available and can be accessed through this website by using the search facility. This information is regularly updated. 
The Health Board has also produced a More information on the following document  short guide on the Publication Scheme.

Accessing Information which is not made routinely available

As an open and transparent organisation, the Health Board is committed to routinely publishing as much information as possible. However, if you want information which is not on the Health Board’s website or otherwise available through our Publication Scheme, you may ask the Health Board for it in accordance with further provisions of the FOI Act and of the Environmental Information Regulations 2005. 
If you would like to see information or documents which the Health Board does not routinely publish, then you have a right to make a request. This request must be made in writing by letter, fax or email to the Freedom of Information Officer: 
The Freedom of Information Officer
Hywel Dda Health Board Headquarters
Merlin's Court
Winch Lane
SA61 1SB
Tel: 01437 771 265
If you are unsure what information the Health Board might have about the matter you are interested in, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer who will be able to provide you with advice and assistance.
On receipt of your request, the Health Board will acknowledge receipt of this and make arrangements to determine whether it holds the information that you have requested. If the Health Board does not have any relevant information or if an exemption applies, it will let you know as soon as possible and try and advise you where else you might be able to access the information. If the Health Board does have the information you request and provided that no exemptions apply, you will be provided with this within 20 working days.
If you make a request and are not satisfied with the way in which the Health Board deals with this, you may ask for a review of any decision that has been made. If you wish the Health Board to undertake such a review, you should write to:
Assistant Director of Corporate Governance
Hywel Dda Health Board
Merlin’s Court,
Winch Lane
SA61 1SB
Any review will normally be under the control and direction of the Senior Information Risk Owner/Director of Corporate Services who had no involvement in the original decision or process. Although complaints about the Health Board’s alleged failure under the FOI Act are exempt from the NHS complaints procedure, complaints will be investigated by the Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO). A complaints panel will be established to hear and consider the complaint and the outcome will be formally documented and an outcome report provided.  This will be undertaken within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the complaint.

If you remain dissatisfied at the conclusion of any review, you may complain to the Information Commissioner at the address below. Generally, the Information Commissioner can’t make a decision unless you have exhausted the Health Board’s internal review procedure. 
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Telephone Number: 0303 123 1113
Fax Number: 01625 524510

Is there any information that will not be provided?

The Health Board will make every effort to provide you with the information you have requested. However, the FOI Act recognises that there will be valid reasons why some kinds of information may be withheld, such as if its release would prejudice national security or damage commercial interests.
To view the Health Board’s FOI Policy which includes guidance on exemptions, charges and fees, complaints, appeals process and others – please click on the links below: 
If the Health Board is unable to release some or all of the information you request, it will explain this to you.

Disclosure Log

In order to assist you further, the Health Board has developed a disclosure log which will give you details of the types of requests it has received and the information it has provided.  You will be able to download details pertaining to the requests that the Health Board has received from the 1st December 2010 to 29th February 2012. If you wish to receive a copy of the response that was provided at the time, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer (see contact details above) and quote the Reference Number given in the disclosure log - More information on the following document    Disclosure Log - 1st December 2010 to 29th February 2012

From 1st April 2012, the Health Board will develop the disclosure log by providing a direct link to the requests for information, responses given and any supporting documents.  

Fees and Charges

The FOI Act and the associated Fees Regulations stipulate that the Health Board cannot levy a fee for information unless there is a statutory basis for doing so or the amount of time taken to locate the information exceeds 18 hours. However, the Health Board is allowed to charge for disbursements related to the provision of information and any reformatting requested by the applicant provided it ensures that applicants are aware of any charges which may be made.
No charges will be made for any information accessed via the Health Board’s website.
For any information which is provided in hard copy and where there is no statutory provision for charges, the Health Board’s rates for photocopying, reformatting and postage will be provided in advance on application.
If you want any further information about the provision of information or have any difficulty accessing information provided on the Health Board’s website, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer.

Can I reuse the information?

Further guidance on when you can reuse the information you have received can be found in the Reuse and Copyright of Information section. 

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Last updated: 16 December 2013