Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) came into force on 1 January 2005 and allows public access to information held by public authorities.

The act covers any recorded organizational information such as reports, policies or strategies, that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland, however it does not cover personal information such as patient records which are covered by the Data Protection Act.

Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. The act is enforced by the Information Commissioner who regulates both the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.

Under the FOI Tower House Surgery has produced a Publication Scheme leaflet which sets out the information which we have made available to the public. The leaflet can be obtained from the Surgery on request.

Who can Request Information?

Anyone can make a freedom of information request-they do not have to be UK citizens or resident in the UK. Anyone, anywhere in the world can make written requests for any recorded information.

Freedom of information request can also be made by organisations, for example a newspaper, a campaign group or a company.

Persons do not have to give a reason why they are requesting information.

Persons do not have to show identification, they could use a fictitious name, however we may decide to check their identity if it is clear they are using a pseudonym or if there are legitimate grounds for refusing their request e.g. if their request is vexatious or repeated.

People requiring information must put it in writing.

They must provide an address for correspondence; this can include a postal or email address.

What cannot be requested?

Personal data about staff and patients covered under Data Protection Act.