Freedom of Information
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests can be made by anyone from anywhere in the world. The Act is one of the ways to make sure that all public organisations are open and accountable. The FOI’s Section 46 Code of Practice details what recorded information we have a duty to provide when we receive a request. We will always try to provide the details that you request but sometimes this will not be possible because the Act says the information is ‘exempt’
Scroll down this page to find out all you need to know about FOIs and making an FOI request. All the details you need are contained under the following headings:
- How to make an FOI request
- How we will deal with your request
- FOI publication scheme
- Our FOI policies and procedures
- When and why we need to change for FOIs
- How to make an FOI complaint
How to make an FOI request
Before making an FOI request, look at our Publication Scheme as the information may already be there.
If you can’t find the information you want, you can make a request:
- By email –
- By fax -
- In writing – Patient Advice and Liaison Service
Customer Solutions Centre
Cheshire & Merseyside Commissioning Support Unit
65 Stephenson Way
Merseyside L13 1HN
FOI requests must be in writing, as we cannot accept telephone requests. Remember to include your contact details and describe the information that you require in as much detail as you can.
How we will deal with your request
We will send you written acknowledgement of your request by email or post within 2 working days.
You will be given a unique reference number that you should use in any correspondence concerning your request.
- We will let you know if we do not hold the information requested as soon as we can
- We may need to contact you to ask you to clarify what information you are requesting if it is not clear enough
- We will try to provide you with the information that you have requested within 20 working days
- Occasionally, it may take longer than 20 days because we need to consider if the information you are asking for is exempt from disclosure
- If some or all of the information that you have requested is exempt from disclosure we will let you know why it is not available, with a reference to the relevant sections of the Act
The FOI Act requires public authorities to have an approved publication scheme. A publication scheme is designed to help members of the public find information which CCG proactively publishes.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has developed approved model publication schemes that public authorities must adopt.
The Publication Scheme:
- sets out the types of information that we as a public authority routinely publish;
- explains the way we can provide the information;
- states what charges we can make for providing information; and
- provides and maintains a guide to the information we will provide, how we will provide it, and details any charges that apply
See our FOI publication scheme.
Our FOI policies and procedures
Read our policy for handling FOI requests
When and why we need to change for FOIs
Most of the information we provide is free. However, if we need to make a charge we will notify you as soon as possible and issue you with a fee note and how to pay if you want to go ahead.
Sometimes the information you are requesting may take longer to gather than the ‘appropriate limit’. When this happens we will tell you that we will need to charge a fee. There may be ways to get the information you need without a cost by changing your initial request and we will help you to try and do that.
The appropriate limit is set out in the FOI Fee Regulations as being £450 for an NHS body. This means that we have to consider if it would take staff more than 18 hours to:
- Retrieve and extract the information
An NHS body can also make an appropriate charge for:
- Putting into a different format for instance where requested to transfer to CD
- Providing a reasonable opportunity to inspect the information
- Postage and packaging
How to make an FOI complaint
If you have a complaint regarding our publication scheme or any aspect of the way that we have dealt with your request you should contact Insert contact details
If you are not happy with a decision to apply an exemption to some or all of the information that you have requested, you should ask for an internal review of the decision. You can do this by sending a letter to the insert contact details or by e-mail to the FOI mailbox:
If you are still not happy following a formal internal review you have the right to ask for a review by the Information Commissioner. You can contact the Information Commissioners Office at the following address:
Office of the Information Commissioner
The Freedom of Information Act does not change your rights and the rights of our staff to confidentiality. Maintaining your legal right to confidentiality continues to be an important commitment on our part.
To help with this, we have appointed someone who is called a Caldicott Guardian, and who has responsibility to ensure the protection of service user confidentiality. Our Caldicott Guardian is Debbie Fagan, Chief Nurse
You can find out more about the role of the Caldicott Guardian on the Department of Health website.