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Freedom of Information (FOI)

On 1 January 2005 the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was fully implemented within the NHS, allowing a general right of access by members of the public to all kinds of information held by public organisations, including Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG). Generally BCCG will be expected to meet any requests for information within 20 working days. 

The FOI Act is enforced by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), an independent body.  Any person, anywhere in the world is able to make a request for information. The FOI Act is retrospective in nature and applies to any information the BCCG holds and places a duty on the BCCG to provide information unless there is a valid legal reason; why we should not.

Information held by the BCCG (and which is not already available to the public, such as information published on this website) can be requested in writing, when its provision will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.  There may be rare occasions when we are not able to provide information, for example if the information requested is personal information; business sensitive; or relates to national security. 

In 2015/16 the BCCG received 346 FOI requests and 1 EIR request. During this period 90% of requests received a full response within 20 working days; reaching a performance and compliance level of 100% by the end of Q4. In five cases, the requestor asked for an internal review of our response; however, one review request was withdrawn. All 4 review cases were upheld and the final decisions were sent to the requestors within 20 working days. The BCCG has had no challenges or complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

BCCG makes a great deal of information routinely available on this website, which functions as its Publication Scheme under the Freedom of Information Act.  New and updated information is added on an on-going basis.

 

Information on the FOI requests we have received, and our compliance levels, is available in our FOI Dashboards - which can be found on this page. 

If you cannot find the information you require within the publication scheme, you might wish to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.   Before submitting an FOI request, it might save you time if you:

  • Read the section Who we are to see if Bedfordshire CCG is likely to hold the information you require. For example - Bedfordshire CCG is not a hospital trust and does not directly treat patients or employ hospital doctors or nurses;
  • Remember that the CCG does not commission Primary Care (GP practices, dental practices, opticians ...) - Primary Care is commissioned by NHS England;
  • Remember that Public Health is now the responsibility of the local authorities (in the BCCG area, that's Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council);
  • Note that you cannot access your own medical records via an FOI request (click here to find out how you can access those);
  • Check through this Publication Scheme, and try the 'search site' function to see if the information you require is already available via this website; 
  • Be aware that a wealth of information on health services is available from the Health & Social Care Information Centre.

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