Freedom of Information Act - Fees

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Weeping_Angel, Jul 14, 2010.

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  1. Tried to delete but theres no delete button!
     
  2. Are you sure mate?
    Have a gander at my last post here
     
  3. The edit button followed by delete is there if you have made a post in a thread, but there doesnt appear to be the delete option if you want to delete a thread youve started.

    No major drama, the thread was about being charged £50 by a NHS hospital for asking for a copy of patient notes (one sheet of A4 paper, one envelope and one stamp).

    Was told by hospital that it was to cover the costs of someone getting the information and copying it, however according to the FOI Act it states:

    I dont mind pay for the stationary:

    Where the hell do they get £50 from?
     
  4. They appear to think they're a bank!

    Seriously though, they are charging you an unfairly high fee for what is yours by right. They are probably charging that fee to discourage people from exercising their right to that information. I should challenge them and write to them to ask for an explanation/refund.
     
  5. The purpose of the fee is to compensate the public authority for the cost of production and postage which would otherwise have to be provided from public funds. It is not indeded that such fees should either compensate the authority for activities which are already covered by an established post-holder or to allow them to engage in a business for profit. The fees chargeable for information are governed by Regulations made by the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to section 9 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Currently, these are the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Applicable Limit on Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI: 2004/3244). The regulations do not set a monetary amount but limit the cost of production under Regulation 4 to those relating to the cost of producing the document and of posting it. They are forbidden under Regulation 6 of the said regulations for charging any amount of time anyone is employed on their behalf in retrieving it. If you are of the opinion that the price set is so unreasonable as to have the effect of limiting access to a restricted class of individual, then a reasonable inference may be drawn that the intended purpose of the public authority is to undermine and destroy the reality of the right Parliament has conferred upon ordinary citizens in making such information freely available to them within the statutory limits relating to the class of information to which they are entitled.
     
  6. Thanks for clarifying what the law has to say. Is this a case of 'in the eye of the beholder'? Does the individual have to feel that the price is prohibitive, according to their means, or may a general inference be drawn? What is your personal opinion?
     
  7. This qustion came up when banks were making silly charges for "admin costs" when people wanted full statements as to their previous charges. Royogtherovers post seems to fit the bill here.

    The solution given then by some was that if they said to the bank that all they wanted was computer printouts, that they would collect from the bank concerned, the banks seemed disinclined to risk charging for "extras and ovies". In may be worth a go.
     
  8. A Subject Access Request to a bank is £10 & they have to provide information on you that they hold as a person which covers all a/cs in your name, this will include copies of agreements, statements & letters sent to you, screenshots of online transactions & copies of telephone conversations etc.
     
  9. I emailed the chief exec to seek clarification on why the trust charges so much for so little, response back was that i would have an answer withn 48 hours, over 3 days later and no contact.
     
  10. Try here:

    Data Protection and Freedom of Information Advice - Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and follow the links.

    Here is one which may answer your question and yes £50 for medical files is mentioned in here. I really do suggest that you 'phone them for advice as FOI seems a strange route if it is your information. Likewise if you specify electronic copies they may not be able to charge so much. Ask the experts.

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/introductory/subject_access_rights.pdf
     
  11. Got email reply, says the trust decided in a meeting at the beginning of the year that £50 would be charged for all requests.

    You have to use the FOI to release medical info about yourself from the NHS (and the Army), you also have to state if it is to be used in legal action against the trust (or the Army if you are requesting it from your med centre).

    I see from the link you provided me that the 'maximum fee' for health records is £50, looks like the Hospital is going straight for the max! During my past I did a stint at a med-legal dept in a NHS foundation trust, it charged an admin fee of £10 and 10p per A4 sheet up to a maximum of £40. X-rays on CDs were £20 and was included in the £40 maximum. It very rarely ever made it up to the £40, sometimes the charge would be only £10.10, it was never waived though, always charged regardless of the amount.
     
  12. You really need to call the ICO. You do not need to use FOI to get access to your medical records and it is only £10 if you ask for electronic record. Do yourself a favour, read the document then call the ICO
     
  13. If a standard charge is being applied regardless of nature and quantity of that which the claimant seeks then in my view, that is ultra vires the regulations which confine it to an actual charge and not a standard charge.

    In any event, the charges incurred are recoverable in damages if the claimant succeeds.