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How To Make A Freedom Of Information Request

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to a wide range of information held by public authorities, including the NHS. The purpose is to promote greater openness and accountability.

Our duty to you

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 requires the Trust to:

  • Provide information to you about Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust through a publication scheme
  • Provide a guide to this information
  • Respond appropriately to requests for information

 

Before you request information

The Trust publishes information on this website and you may well find the answer to your question is already available. Prior to making your Freedom of Information request, please check whether the information you seek is already available via our Publication Scheme or Frequently Asked Questions sections. If you request information from the Trust that is already published, you will simply be referred to the published source.

 

Who can request information?

Anyone can make a FOI request to Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

 

What can I request?

You can seek any recorded information that you think the Trust may hold.

If the information is environmental, the Trust will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. You do not have to know whether the information you want is covered by the EIR or the FOI Act. When you make a request, the Trust will decide which law applies.

If the information is your own personal data, then you should make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, and not under the FOI Act.

 

How do I request information?

Your request must be in writing.

Email requests should be sent to foi.foi@mcht.nhs.uk. 

For postal requests, please send to the following address:

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Leighton Hospital

Information Governance

MD38 – Residences

Middlewich Road

Crewe

CW1 4QJ

 

What information must I include in my request?

The FOI Act requires certain information to be supplied before the Trust can respond to your request:

  • Your real name – the Trust does 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. The Trust will endeavour to meet your preferences but cannot guarantee that it will be able to.

 

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 to consider the following:

  • Clearly identify the information you want. Be clear about date ranges or timescales. If it is not clear what you are requesting, the Trust 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, the Trust 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
  • Avoid using open-ended questions such as “why”. The Trust does not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded
  • Do not mix your request with complaints or comments.

 

What happens when my request is received?

The Trust has a legal obligation to reply to your FOI request and must do so within 20 working days of receipt. The Trust will do one of the following:

  • Supply you with the information you requested
  • Inform you that it does hold the information and, if it is 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 it holds the information requested but refuses to provide all or part of it and explain why, citing one or more of the exemptions from the FOI Act
  • Inform you that it is refusing your request on the basis it is repeated or vexatious; or
  • Inform you that it needs 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 Trust for an internal review of your FOI request. When you write to the Trust requesting an internal review, it will acknowledge your letter and tell you how long the review will take. The Trust aims to complete internal reviews within 20 working days, although cases that are complex may take longer. Where internal reviews go over 20 working days, the Trust 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 (external link, opens in new window).

Full details of how to ask the Trust 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 the Trust's response to your internal review request.

 

How do I request information held about me?

View more information on requesting information held about me.