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Freedom of Information

What does the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act do?

The Freedom of Information Act gives everyone the right to request official information from public authorities, including the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Can I have anything I ask for?

The FOI Act gives access to almost all official information that a public authority holds. We can withhold (keep back) some information under FOI ‘exemptions’. These include information that is commercially confidential or is about national security and law enforcement. Personal information is also exempt and cannot be accessed under the FOI Act. For more details about how you can access your own personal information – click here.

How do I get information about the Trust under the FOI Act?

We put a lot of information on this website and you can find further details on this in our Publication Scheme (click here). If the information you want isn’t readily available on our website, you can contact our FOI Office requesting the information. All requests for information need to be in writing (by letter or email or by using our online request form) with your full name and a return address so we can respond. Please help by telling us as clearly as possible what information you want. We may contact you to check that we understand what you want, so do make sure you give your contact details. Click here to submit an FOI request.

We also publish an FOI Disclosure Log which is a summary of the information requests we have responded to, with details on how to obtain a copy of any of the Trust’s FOI responses.

How long does it take to get information?

When we’ve received your written request for information, we have 20 working days to respond. We can extend that time in some cases. ‘Working days’ means Monday–Friday, but not bank holidays.

Are there charges for the information?

You can download information from our website free of charge. We’ll also provide most other information free, but we may charge for photocopying and postage. If you request a large amount of information, we may have to charge you for the time taken in gathering it. We will always tell you how much you will have to pay so you can decide if you want to go ahead with your request. If the cost is more than £450, we don’t have to provide the information, even if you are willing to pay. This is covered in the FOI Appropriate Limit and Fees Regulations 2004.

What if the information I want is not available?

The FOI Act only requires us to provide recorded information that we already hold. We are not required to create new information but we must assist you with your request. We will contact you and tell you what information we do hold that may help to answer your query.