Freedom of Information Policy and Publication Scheme
Before submitting your freedom of information request, please check whether the information you seek is already available. The ICB publishes information on this website and you may well find the answer to your question is already here. We have a publication scheme setting out what information we currently release or expect to release.
If you request information from the CCG that is already published, we will simply refer you to the published source.
How to make a Freedom of Information request
If you need any information that is not provided in the publication scheme or have any questions about the Freedom of Information Act:
Access to Information Team
Christopher Martin Road
Essex, SS14 3HG
Please note that whilst the service can be contacted by telephone, it is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act that any requests must be submitted in writing.
What information must I include in my request?
The FOI Act requires certain information to be supplied before the ICB can respond to your request:
- your real name – we do not have to respond to requests submitted under a pseudonym;
- your address (email addresses are acceptable);
- a description of the information you wish to obtain; and
- any preferences for the format in which you wish to receive the information e.g. electronic or hard copy. We will endeavour to meet your preferences but cannot guarantee that we will be able to.
You do not need to:
- explicitly mention the FOI Act, although it may help to do so;
- know whether the information is covered by the FOI Act or the EIR as we will decide this;
- say why you want the information; or
- specify particular documents. You have a right to information; however it is recorded.
How should I word my request?
Comprehensive guidance on submitting effective requests for information is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office. However, to frame an effective request for the information you need:
- clearly identify the information you want. Be clear about date ranges or timescales. If it is not clear what you are requesting, we may need to seek further clarification;
- be as specific as possible. If your request is too general, it may be refused on the grounds that replying would exceed the cost limit laid down in the Fees Regulations, which is equivalent to one person working for three and a half days. If this happens, we will ask you to re-submit a narrower, more specific request which could be met within the cost limits and give you advice and assistance to do so;
- ask questions such as “what” or “how much” as this is much more likely to result in a useful response;
- use straightforward, polite language.
Please try not to:
- use open-ended questions such as “why”. We do not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded;
- base your request on assumptions or opinions;
- mix your request with complaints or comments.
What happens when my request is received?
The CCG has a legal obligation to reply to your FOI request and must do so within 20 working days of receipt. We will do one of the following:
- supply you with the information you requested;
- inform you that we don’t hold the information and, if we are able, advise you who does;
- inform you that your request will exceed the cost limit specified in the Fees Regulations and invite you to submit a narrower request;
- inform you that we hold the information requested but refuse to provide all or part of it and explain why, citing one or more of the exemptions from the FOI Act;
- inform you that we are refusing your request on the basis it is repeated or vexatious; or
- inform you that we need more time to consider the public interest test in relation to your request and let you know when to expect a further response. This should not be later than 40 working days after receipt of your request.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the reply I receive or the way my request was handled?
You can ask the ICB for an internal review of your FOI request. When you write to us requesting an internal review, we will acknowledge your letter and tell you how long we think the review will take. We aim to complete internal reviews within 20 working days, although more cases that are complex may take longer. Where internal reviews go over 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress.
If, after an internal review, you are still not satisfied you can then complain to the Information Commissioner (ICO). Details of how to do this are available at the ICO website.
Full details of how to ask the CCG for an internal review will be included in our initial reply to your FOI request. Details of how to complain further to the Information Commissioner will be included in our response to your internal review request.