Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act gives people the right to access information held by NELFT. Requests for personal information, such as medical records, should not be made as Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

You can submit an FOI request to NELFT by email to foi@nelft.nhs.uk. When making an FOI request, please ensure you provide a name, contact address, and contact email.

We always try to reply to you using email if this is your preferred method of communication. However, we advise you to include a postal address when contacting us so this can be used in case of delivery problems with your email.

Alternatively, you can send your FOI to:

Information governance team
North East London NHS Foundation Trust
Informatics department
Goodmayes Hospital site
157 Barley Lane
Goodmayes
IG3 8XJ

Freedom of Information complaints

If you are dissatisfied with how your request has been handled or would like to formally appeal against NELFT’s response to your FOI request, you can complain in writing by to head of information governance, Informatics department, Goodmayes Hospital site, 157 Barley Lane, Goodmayes , IG3 8XJ.

If, after we have addressed your complaint, you remain dissatisfied with how we have responded, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner on 01625 545 745. Further information is available on the Information Commissioner website.

For more information, please refer to: NELFT Freedom of Information Policy [pdf] 284KB

Re-use of NELFT information

NELFT information can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act. However, providing access to information does not give an automatic right to re-use it. ‘Re-use’ can include publishing information or issuing copies to the public.

Examples might be private sector companies wanting to re-publish our documents on their website as part of a commercial service, or wanting to publish our images in commercial publications.

The Public Sector Information Regulations provide a framework for public sector organisations to licence the re-use of their information, including the possibility of levying charges for re-use.

When we release information to you which you have requested under access to information legislation, such as the Freedom of Information Act, you may ask if you can re-use the information, perhaps for commercial purposes.  Without the necessary permission, you can breach our copyright. It is this situation with which the regulations are concerned.

Nothing in the regulations affects rights of access under other legislation, such as Freedom of Information.

We are not obliged under the regulations to make public sector information available for re-use, but if we do so, it must be done in accordance with the regulations. In these circumstances, the regulations place the following obligations on us:

  • We have 20 working days in which to respond to a request for re-use. This period may be extended where the request is extensive or complex
  • A licence fee can be issued if we do not wish re-use to be free
  • A licence must not restrict competition
  • Exclusive licensing arrangements will not be allowed, except for the provision of a service in the public interest. Such arrangements will be published
  • We should make available to the public our conditions for re-use and any standard charges for re-use
  • Information for re-use should be made available electronically where possible and appropriate
  • We must not discriminate between applicants making requests for re-use for comparable purposes

Copyright

The regulations do not affect our copyright. The supply of documents and information to you by us (for example under Freedom of Information and on our website) does not give you a right to re-use them in a way that would infringe that copyright.

Brief extracts of any material may be reproduced without our permission, under the ‘fair dealing’ provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; for the purposes of research for non-commercial purposes; private study; criticism; review and news reporting - all subject to an acknowledgement of ourselves as the copyright owner. Wider re-use requires our permission. This applies equally to the any of the NELFT logos.

Charging structure

Under Regulation 15(2) NELFT can charge sums for re-use that covers:

  • The cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of information; and
  • A reasonable return on investment.

The charge will not exceed the total cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of the requested information together with a reasonable return on investment.

You will be advised of any charge due to be paid and the terms of a specific Licence for Re-use for Commercial Purposes will be agreed. This licence will be in line with the requirements of the Regulations and licensing terms and fees as laid down by the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). Some licences will be free; however the NELFT reserves the right, in certain circumstances, to charge a fee for the re-use of information which it deems to be of commercial value.

In calculating a license fee the Trust will take into account the following:

  • NELFT’s intellectual property, i.e. Information that has a commercial value.
  • A charge for this would be determined on a case by case basis.
  • Charges for staff time. An hourly charge will be made in respect of the staff time in making the information available to the applicant for re-use. However, this will be dependent upon the seniority of the member of staff required to process the request.
  • Charges for materials. Photocopying or printing
  • Disbursements, i.e. postage and packing

Health records

Enquiries and applications for a copy of your own health records, paper records and those held on computer, fall under the Data Protection Act 1998, rather than the Freedom of Information Act.

There is a different procedure for requesting a copy of your own health records which you can find here: 
what happens to patient information A4 Feb 2015 [pdf] 85KB

Requests for your health records must be made in writing and must include your full name, address and date of birth. Requests for information should be made to:

Information governance officer
North East London NHS Foundation Trust
Informatics department
Goodmayes Hospital site
157 Barley Lane
Goodmayes
IG3 8XJ

For more information, see the Freedom of Information of Information Publication Scheme (link to informatics policy page)