Freedom of Information
How to Make a Freedom Of Information (FOI) Request
The Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations.
Anyone can request information – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live.
Your request will be handled under different regulations depending on the kind of information you ask for, eg the:
- Data Protection Act if you ask for information an organisation holds about you
- Environmental Information Regulations if you ask for environmental information
- An organisation could refuse your request if the information is sensitive or the costs are too high.
Our duty to you
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 requires us to:
- Provide information to you about our practice through a publication scheme
- Provide a guide to this information
- Respond appropriately to requests for information
Before you make a request
You might not need to make a Freedom of Information request to get the information you need.
Our organisation might be able to give you information straight away, eg over the phone. You can also check our published response – link above.
Who can request information?
Anyone, anywhere in the world, can make a FOI request to NHS England.
What can I request?
You can seek any recorded information that you think NHS England may hold.
If the information is environmental, we will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. You do not have to know whether the information you want is covered by the EIR or the FOI Act. When you make a request, we will decide which law applies.
If the information is your own personal data, then you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998, and not under the FOI Act. See below for how to make DPA requests.
How to make an FOI request
Please contact our Practice Manager in writing to make a Freedom of Information request. This can be by:
- email to Healthcentre.firstname.lastname@example.org
What to include
- your name (not needed if requesting environmental information)
- a contact address
- a detailed description of the information you want – eg you might want all information held on a subject, or just a summary
You can ask for information in a particular format,
- paper or electronic copies of information
- audio format
- large print
When you’ll get a response
You should get the information within 20 working days. The organisation will tell you when to expect the information if they need more time.
Check the copyright status of information you receive if you plan to reproduce it.
If your request is turned down
Some sensitive information isn’t available to members of the public. If this applies, an organisation must tell you why they can’t give you some or all of the information you requested.
They might ask you to be more specific so they can provide just the information you need.
Reviews and complaints
If an organisation doesn’t provide you with the information you requested, you should first ask them to review their decision.
You can then complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if you’re still not satisfied.