The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act)
The FOI Act gives the public the right to access information held by central government, local government, police services, the NHS and the education sector. The FOI Act is intended to improve openness and accountability in the public sector.
Further information about the FOI Act can be found at www.ico.gov.uk
Our publication scheme
- The FOI Act requires that each public authority adopts and maintains a publication scheme that describes the classes of information that the Authority publishes or intends to publish. We will regularly review this publication scheme and update it where necessary, subject to approval from the Information Commissioner.
Classes of information
In line with the Information Commissioner's Officer (ICO) definition document for health regulators, our publication scheme is classified under the following headings:
- who we are and what we do
- what we spend and how we spend it
- what are our priorities and how are we doing
- how we make decisions
- our policies and procedures
- lists and registers
Rights of Access to Information
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.
The right to request and access this information are subject to some exemptions which the Authority has to take into consideration before deciding what information can be released.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are entitled to access personal information held about you, subject to any exemptions that may apply.
Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) came into force on the 1 January 2005. These enable similar access to environmental information, as under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI).
Information the HRA will not publish
We are committed to the principles of freedom of information. However, guided by the exemptions listed in Part ll of the FOI Act 2000, we have identified certain types of information that we will not normally make publicly available, either as part of our scheme or in response to a specific request:
- personal information about individuals
- information which would endanger the health, safety or security of individuals
- information that we are prohibited from publishing by any law or court order or which would constitute a contempt of court if made public
- information which has been provided to us in confidence and is of a genuinely confidential nature
- information which is covered by a claim to legal professional privilege
- information which would prejudice the commercial interests of the HRA or another person or organisation
- information which would adversely affect the effective running of the HRA. This will include, for instance, confidential briefing to directors and senior staff; details of ongoing negotiations; draft plans, policies and reports unless they are intended to be subject to public consultation before being finalised
- information about investigations being carried out which may lead to criminal or civil proceedings
The FOI Act does not change the right of patients to protection of their patient confidentiality in accordance with the Human Rights Convention, the Data Protection Act and at common law. We do not generally hold patient related information but maintaining the legal right to patient confidentiality continues to be an important commitment on our part for any information that we may hold.
We have appointed a Caldicott Guardian, Ian Cook, who has responsibility to ensure the protection of patient confidentiality throughout the Authority in accordance with your legal rights:
HRA Caldicott Guardian
Health Research Authority, Ground Floor, Skipton House, 80 London Road, London, SE1 6LH
Tel: 020 797 22545
Accessing information not listed in the HRA publication scheme
Requests to the HRA for information not listed in this publication scheme should be sent in writing to the HRA Freedom of Information email address email@example.com. Requests must include your contact details and a description of the information that you are requesting.
The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Material which is published and accessed on the website will be provided free of charge.
Charges however may be made, subject to a charging regime specified by Parliament, for actual disbursements incurred such as:
- postage and packaging
- the costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information
Charges are as follows:
- Via the HRA web site – free of charge, although any charges for use of an internet service provider and personal printing costs would have to be met by the individual.
- For those without internet access, a single print-out, as on the website, would be available by post or by personal application to the HRA free of charge. Requests for multiple print outs or for archived copies of documents which are no longer accessible or available on the website may attract a charge for retrieval, photocopy, postage etc.
- We will not provide printouts of other organisation’s websites.
- Leaflets and brochures, glossy booklets or other bound paper copies or in some cases CD-ROM, video or other media, may be charged for.
- Email responses will also be free of charge unless otherwise stated.
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.
Any questions, comments or complaints should be sent in writing to:
Health Research Authority, 2nd Floor, 2 Redman Place, Stratford, London, E20 1JO .
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.