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Frequently asked questions

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What is the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is a law which gives anyone the legal power to request any information that the Trust holds. This may be minutes of meetings, access to service requirements or how the Trust has spent money. Anyone can request information that the Trust holds under Freedom of Information and can expect a reply within 20 working days, although there are a few exemptions.

The exemptions protect against the disclosure of information that would be inappropriate for disclosure and include personal information, information provided in confidence, commercial interests and other important interests.

Information held may be in various forms, for example, paper documents, computerised information, printouts, maps, microfilm and audio-visual material. The Freedom of Information Act provides a right to ‘information’ rather than to records or documents. Although you are not required to specify any particular document, you must describe the information you are requesting in as much detail as possible.

There is no flat rate fee to receive information and in many cases the information will be provided to you free of charge. An authority can refuse a request if it estimates that it will cost them in excess of the appropriate cost limit to fulfil your request. The limit is £450 for public authorities.

What is a Publication Scheme?

Under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Trust has a legal duty to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme.

A Publication Scheme is a complete guide or catalogue to the information routinely published by a public authority, in this case The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.

The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness by public authorities (of which the Trust is one).

What was the Data Protection Act 1998?

The Data Protection Act 1998 was the main piece of legislation that governed the protection of personal data in the UK.

Under the terms of the Act, you could request information about yourself, your child or someone that you take care of (within certain limits). The Act gave you the right to request information about you and expect a response for the information within 40 days, unless there was a good reason why this could not be done.

The Trust was and is still under a lawful duty to hold all your information in a confidential manner. The Trust must ensure your information is safe, accurate and only available to others who need your information to assist with your medical needs or to plan future health requirements.

What is the Data Protection Act 2018?

“The Act”) implements a commitment in the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto to repeal and replace the UK’s existing data protection laws to keep them up to date for the digital age in which ever increasing amounts of personal data are being processed. It sets new standards for protecting personal data, in accordance with recent EU data protection laws, giving people more control over use of their data. The Act also helps prepare the UK for a future outside the EU.

The four main matters provided for in the Act are general data processing, law enforcement data processing, data processing by the intelligence services and regulatory oversight and enforcement.

What to do if you think data protection/confidentiality has been broken?

If at any time you feel that the Trust has not protected your information appropriately or has given this information to individuals that you feel should not have it, please contact the Information Governance Manager. You can find their number in the Useful Contacts section.