The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 came into effect on 1 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 to 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 Wigan Borough CCG 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.
The Information Commissioner 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 CCG 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 details what his minimum expectations are as far as the CCG is concerned.
More information regarding the FOI Act can be found at 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.
Accessing information which is not made routinely available
As an open and transparent organisation, the CCG is committed to routinely publishing as much information as possible. However, if you want information which is not on this website or otherwise available through our Publication Scheme, you may ask the CCG for it, in accordance with further provision of the FOI Act and of the Environmental Information Regulations 2005.
If you would like to see information or documents which the CCG does not routinely publish, then you have a right to make a request. This request must be made in writing by letter or email to the Governance Team:
The Freedom of Information Officer
Wigan Borough CCG
c/o GMCSU Patient Services
St James’s House
Freedom of Information requests are handled by Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit on behalf of Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group.
If you are unsure what information the CCG 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.
When your request is received, it will be acknowledged and arrangements will be made to determine the information requested is held. If the CCG does not have any relevant information, or if an exemption applies, you will be informed as soon as possible and we will try and advise you where else you might be able to access the information. If the CCG does have the information you request, and provided that no exemptions apply, you will be provided with the information within 20 working days.
If you made a request and are not satisfied with the way in which it is dealt with you may ask for a review of any decision that has been made. If you wish the CCG to undertake such a review, you should right to:
Mr Tim Collins
Assistant Director of Governance
Wigan Borough CCG
Wigan Life Centre
Any review will normally be under the control and direction of a senior member of staff who had no involvement in the original decision or process.
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 CCG’s internal review procedure.
Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone Number: 0303 123 1113
Fax Number: 01625 524510
Is there any information that will not be provided?
The CCG 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.
If the CCG is unable to release some or all of the information you request, it will explain this to you.
In order to assist you further, the CCG maintains disclosure logs which will give you details of the types of requests it has received and the information it has provided. We are just in the process of making it possible for you to download details pertaining to the requests that the CCG received.
Fees and Charges
The FOI Act and the associated Fees Regulations stipulate that the CCG 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 CCG 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 CCG website.
For any information which is provided in hard copy, and where there is no statutory provision for charges, the CCG’s rates for photocopying, reformatting and postage will be provided in advance on application.
If you would like any further information about the provision of information or have any difficulty accessing information provided on the CCG’s website, please contact the Governance team.