The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed in 2000 and became fully effective in 2005. It allows any member of the public to request access to information held by public sector organisations in the UK, including the NHS.
Our response to Freedom of Information Requests (FOIs) and Subject Access Requests (SARs) may take longer for us to complete at the moment because of COVID-19 implications. FOI and SAR staff can work productively from home but are mindful that many CCG staff are involved in crucial work to support East Berkshire residents through this difficult time, and this may impact their ability to provide the information needed to respond to some requests in a timely manner.
Please be advised that requests received via the postal service will not be processed until such time that staff are able to return to their offices.
The Information Commissioner's 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 FOIs, EIRs or SARs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is your request essential?
While 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.
Prioritising essential services
If you cannot find the information, please be aware that under current circumstances and our need to prioritise essential services to ensure the wellbeing of our residents, 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 visit ico.org.uk.
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The Act differs from the Data Protection Act 2018. The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK's implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). So, for example, where you should use the Data Protection Act to access your medical records called a Subject Access Request, you would use the FOI Act to access general business information held by the CCG. If you would like to access your medical records, please refer to Subject Access Requests section below.
Requests made under the Act must be submitted in writing, including a name and contact address. Email requests are perfectly acceptable, as long as it is possible to reply to your email address.
Before you submit a request, please check the information you are looking for is not already published on this website, as it is regularly updated.
Contact details are as follows:
The FOI Coordinator
NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group
King Edward VII Hospital
St. Leonards Road
Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3DP
The CCG has an obligation to answer your request within 20 working days.
There are some exemptions to the disclosure of information under the Act, which may mean we cannot supply you with everything you have requested.
The Information Commissioner is the government official responsible for overseeing information laws in the UK. Any complaints or queries around the FOI Act can be directed to this office. The website of the Information Commissioner can be found at https://ico.org.uk/.
Under the Data Protection Act 2018 you, or someone acting on your behalf with your consent, have a right to request access to view or obtain a copy of any personal information we hold about you, this is called making a Subject Access Request.
An individual does not have the right to access information recorded about someone else, unless they are an authorised representative (acting under a Power of Attorney or a Court of Protection Order), have parental responsibility, or are acting on behalf of a deceased person (Access to Records Act 1990).
A subject access request must be made in writing and can be submitted via online forms, email, fax, post or social media. The requestor does not need to state or refer to “Subject Access Request” or the “Data Protection Act” when making a request; however, it may help to ensure requests are processed without delay if they do state “Subject Access Request” in correspondence. Please provide your name, address and details of what information you would like access to.
Organisations must respond to a subject access request promptly and in any event within 40 calendar days of receiving it. When responding to a request, it is an offence to alter the material before it is released. There may be a charge to have a copy of your record provided, however you will be informed of this prior to your record being disclosed.
Contact details are as follows:
Information Governance Officer
NHS South, Central and West
Southgate House, Pans Lane, Devizes, SN10 5EQ
If the CCG does not respond appropriately to requests for personal information, the requestor could make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.