Freedom of Information

Under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all public authorities (of which the Trust is one) have a legal duty to adopt and maintain a publication scheme to inform the public how those public authorities conduct their business.

This publication scheme is a complete guide to the information routinely published by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.  If you cannot find the information you are looking for here, you have the right to request that information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Contact us to make an FOI request at SC-TR.freedomofinformation@nhs.net

Right of Access to Information

The Freedom of Information Act recognises that as a member of the public, you have the right to know how public services such as the NHS are organised and run, how much they cost and how you can make complaints if you need to. You have the right to know which services are being provided, the targets that are being set, the standards of services that are expected and the results achieved.

The Act obliges the Trust to respond to requests about the information it holds, and it gives a right of access to that information - subject to certain exemptions (see below).  Before releasing any information, the Trust has to consider whether any of these exemptions apply.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 enable access to environmental information, in a similar manner to the Freedom of Information Act.

To make a request under the Freedom of Information Act, email or write to us stating what information you require, and we will endeavour to respond to you within 20 working days.

Email: SC-TR.freedomofinformation@nhs.net

Postal Address:
The Information Governance Team
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
Brighton General Hospital
Elm Grove
Brighton BN2 3EW

Note: the Freedom of Information Act does not cover personal records, such as clinical records. You have the right to see your own records, but this right comes from the Data Protection Act 1998, not the Freedom of Information Act.  If you want to see your records, contact a member of staff in the service where you were treated, and we will arrange a time to come in to view them.

If you want to see someone else's records (such as your child's records or a relative's records), or you want us to provide you with a copy of your records, you will need to write to the Information Governance Team.

Cost of Supplying Information

We will always try to supply any information you have requested for free - however, if your request is large and complex, we reserve the right to charge £25 per hour per staff member for time spent editing, copying, collating, summarising, or converting the information to your chosen format (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD).

We also reserve the right to charge you:

  • for the cost of printing or photocopying (10 pence per page)
  • the cost of any requested media (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD)
  • the cost of postage or other forms of transmission.
  • We will not charge you for time we have to spend locating, retrieving, or extracting the information, or in determining whether it is subject to an exemption.

Where we estimate that the total charge would exceed £450, we reserve the right not to comply with your request.  However, in this case, we will try to indicate to you what information we could provide for less than this amount.

Where we estimate that the cost to us is £450 or less, we will not normally charge you for supplying information, unless we have to do a large amount of administration work (e.g. copying or printing), or if the postage costs would be high.  If there is a charge for information, you will need to pay this in advance.

Exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act

Information that is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

  • Information that is accessible to you by other means
  • Information that is intended for future publication
  • Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
  • Information that is needed for the purpose of safeguarding national security
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the defence of the United Kingdom
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice international relations
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice administrative relations within the United Kingdom
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the economy of the United Kingdom
  • Information relating to investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice law enforcement
  • Court records
  • Information relating to audit functions
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to infringe Parliamentary privilege
  • Information relating to the formulation of government policy
  • Information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs
  • Information concerning communications with Her Majesty
  • Health and safety information whose disclosure would be likely to endanger the physical, mental health or safety of an individual
  • Personal information whose release would contravene the Data Protection Act
  • Information that was provided in confidence
  • Information that is subject to legal professional privilege
  • Information that concerns commercial interests and trade secrets
  • Information that has legal prohibitions on its disclosure.
  • We also reserve the right not respond to vexatious or repeated requests, where we have previously complied with a similar request from you.

We also reserve the right not respond to vexatious or repeated requests, where we have previously complied with a similar request from you.

Copyright

The material available through this Publication Scheme is subject to the Trust’s copyright unless otherwise indicated.  Unless expressly indicated on the material to the contrary, it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium, provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading manner. 

Where any of the copyright items in this Scheme are being re-published or copied to others, you must identify the source of the material and acknowledge the copyright status. 

Permission to reproduce material does not extend to any material accessed through the Publication Scheme that is the copyright of third parties.  You must obtain authorisation to reproduce such material from the copyright holders concerned.

Policies and procedures

The Trust publishes numerous policies, procedures, and guidelines, covering all elements of working life, including clinical procedures, employment issues, working with service users, and the way in which the Trust can spend money.

We have a system for managing policies, from development and consultation to ratification and subsequent review.  Policies are adopted by the Board, or by committees to which the Board has delegated that authority.

Copies of policies or procedures should be made via our Freedom of Information request process as above.