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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. Disclosures are subject to the application of relevant exemptions contained within the Act.

Under the Act, East Cheshire NHS Trust must consider all requests for recorded information it receives and must:

  • Inform the applicant whether the information is held
  • And supply the requested information subject to the application of relevant exemptions contained within the Act

We remain committed to promoting a culture of openness and accountability to enable you to have a greater understanding of how we carry out our duties, how we make decisions and how we spend public money.

The FOIA is fully retrospective and covers all information held in a recorded format. The deadline for a public authority to respond to requests made under the Act is 20 working days, although there are some circumstances where this may be extended under the terms of the legislation.

The Information Commissioner’s website has further information about FOI, EIR and Data Protection.

There are three ways to obtain information under FOI:

  • You can make a formal request in writing
  • You can obtain information through our Publication Scheme
  • Online form
     
Postal applications

The Freedom of Information Team
Macclesfield District General Hospital
Ground Floor, Silk House
Victoria Road
Macclesfield
Cheshire
SK10 3BL

We may refuse your request if:

  • We cannot identify the information and require further clarification from you.
  • A specific exemption applies.
  • The cost of complying exceeds the set limit.
  • We think your request is vexatious (that is specifically being pressed on to cause an act of harassment, annoyance, frustration, worry, or even bring financial cost)
  • We have already provided you with similar information. 

If the information is covered by the Publication Scheme but cannot be downloaded from our website, it should be provided without delay.

If you make a formal request in writing or by email, the trust has up to 20 working days to respond to you. On some occasions, we may require further information or clarification from you.

At that point, the clock will stop until you reply to us.

The purpose of our publication scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at a minimum cost to the public. Material which is published and accessed on our website will be provided free of charge. You may require a hard copy of information or transfer of information onto portable media. It will be unusual for us to make a charge to you but any made will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum and may include the following costs:

  • Photocopying
  • Postage and packaging
  • The costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment will be requested prior to provision of the information.

You have the right to make a complaint to the trust if you feel that we have not handled your request adequately. For example:

  • If we have failed to respond to your request within the 20 working days.
  • If you feel that we have used an exemption inappropriately.
  • If we’re not publishing information in accordance with the Publication Scheme.

All appeals should be addressed to the Legal Services Manager in writing to the following address:

The Information Governance Department
Macclesfield District General Hospital
2nd Floor New Alderley House
Victoria Road
Macclesfield
Cheshire
SK10 3BL

We aim to complete a review of any appeal within 20 working days. In exceptional cases, we may require additional time to consider your case. In these cases we will provide you with an anticipated response date.

A Publication Scheme is a legal requirement under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act. It is a vital component in establishing a right of access to information held by East Cheshire NHS Trust and provides a guide to information that we routinely publish.

The scheme has been designed as a route map to make it easier for members of the general public to find information about our organisation. We shall review the scheme at regular intervals and monitor how it is operating.

The Publication Scheme commits East Cheshire NHS Trust to:

  • proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by us and falls within certain classifications;
  • specify the information which is held and falls within the classifications;
  • proactively publish or otherwise make available as matter of routine, information in line with statements contained in this scheme;
  • produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public;
  • review and update on a regular basis the information the trust makes available under this scheme;
  • produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available; and 
  • make this publication scheme available to the public

Key information published by the trust includes: 

  • Trust board agendas and minutes
  • Annual reports and quality accounts
  • The trust's disclosure log - a record of the information released in response to Freedom of Information requests

Data Protection Impact Assessments

The General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) introduced the obligation to carry out Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) to identify, assess and mitigate any potential privacy risks that may arise involving the processing of personal data when new projects are being considered. The Trust maintains a register of DPIAs undertaken.

Further information in relation to completed DPIAs can be obtained under the FOI process.

If you cannot find the information you require from our Publication Scheme, you can make a formal request to us in writing or by contacting the Freedom of Information Team by telephone or email.