Freedom of Information Act (FOI)


Freedom of Information (FOI) aims to increase openness and transparency for the services we provide. However, there are some circumstances when information cannot be disclosed and they are detailed below. If the information you have requested constitutes “environmental information”, we will handle your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

If you would like to access information about you please see the Access Your Personal Data / Health Records page for more information.

Published information

Before making your request, please refer to our expenditure data, where you will find the information that we routinely publish. We also make all of our past FOI responses available on our disclosure log, so the information you are after may already be available in one of these locations. We also publish details of all approved Data Protection Impact Assessments.

How to request information

The FOI Act stipulates that you must put your request in writing and provide us with your name and a correspondence email / address. Please be as clear and as specific as possible about the information you want.

Please submit FOI and EIR requests to: rde-tr.freedomofinformation@nhs.net.

All requests or information will be handled centrally by the Trust’s Information Governance team.

How do I make a request under FOI or EIR?

The FOI Act stipulates that you must put your request in writing and provide us with your name and a correspondence email / address. Please be as clear and as specific as possible about the information you want.

Please submit your request, via email, to: rde-tr.freedomofinformation@nhs.net

If you are unable to use email you can visit the PALS office for support or can write to us at:

Information Governance Office
Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
Wonford Hospital
Barrack Road
Exeter
Devon
EX2 5DW

We only use your personal information for the purposes of processing your request and your information will not be disclosed to anyone outside of the Information Governance Team and the Chief Executive’s Office.

If the information you have requested constitutes “environmental information”, we will handle your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, please note EIR requests are dealt with in the same process as FOI.

When will I receive a response?

Under both pieces of legislation, we are required to provide you with a response as soon as possible, but no later than 20 working days after we receive your request.

If we are unable to provide the information requested within 20 working days, we will advise why, and provide a date by when we expect to be able to respond.

What does the Freedom of Information Act cover?

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act gives you the right to obtain information held by public authorities unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.

The Freedom of Information Act covers:

  • a general right of access to information held by the Trust subject to certain conditions and exemptions
  • a duty on us to inform any person who requests information whether we hold the information, and to communicate that information to the applicant unless one or more exemptions apply

What does the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 cover?

The Environmental Information Regulations allows the public to request environmental information from public authorities.

  • The information covered can be divided into the following six main areas:
  • The state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (including human beings)
  • Emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances
  • Policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment
  • Reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses
  • The state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain
  • Cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment)

Can I request information about myself, patients or staff under the Freedom of Information Act?

The FOI Act does not allow people to obtain personal information about individuals, whether that is you, patients or our staff.

If you require information about yourself, you will need to make a request in accordance with your Data Protection rights. To find out more about how to make a subject access request, please visit our Access Your Personal Data / Health Records page.

Can I access information without having to make a request?

We already actively publish a lot of information, therefore we recommend that you refer to the following sources on our website before making your request, as the information you are seeking may already be available:

  • Publication Scheme – we publish all kinds of information, on a routine basis. On this page, you should be able to see at a glance whether the information you seek is included as part of our publication scheme.
  • Expenditure Data – this is where we publish details of invoices, grant payments, expenses and other such payments (excluding payroll expenditure), for any costs over £25,000.
  • FOI Disclosure Log – copies of previous FOI responses, dating back several years.

Is there a fee?

The majority of information supplied will be free of charge, however, a fee may apply in some circumstances, such as where we seek to cover postage and photocopying expenses. If we intend to charge for your request, we will let you know the fee amount, and how to pay, before we begin to deal with your request.

Will I get all the information I ask for?

The Act aims to strike a balance between promoting openness, protecting the privacy rights of individuals and maintaining the right to confidentiality. This balance is achieved through use of the exemptions defined by the Act.
Exclusions in the Act require us to withhold information that is of a personal, confidential nature or that which may have a negative effect on the conduct of public affairs.

We are also not obliged to deal with requests that are repeated, intended to cause harassment, or would take an excessive amount of staff time to complete.

Where we decide to withhold information, we will advise you of the reason(s) why we cannot fulfil your request.

What if I am dissatisfied with the Trust’s response?

If you are not happy with the information that we have supplied, or if you feel that your enquiry has not been deal with appropriately, you are entitled to request an Internal Review. This should be made in writing within 40 days of receipt of our response. Please quote your FOI reference number on any correspondence.

To request an Internal Review please contact the Information Governance Team by emailing rde-tr.freedomofinformation@nhs.net.


The internal review will be carried out by the Trust’s Information Governance Manager. You can expect to receive the outcome of the internal review within 20 working days.


If you remain unhappy with the handling/outcome of your Internal Review, you also have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner within two months of receiving our response. You can write to the Information Commissioner's Office at the following address:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Where can I find out more?

More information is available on the ICO website at: ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/official-information.

If you have any other general questions or concerns you can contact the Information Governance team for further assistance at rde-tr.freedomofinformation@nhs.net.

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