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Freedom of information

Part three: appendices

Appendix 1: Information exempt from disclosure under FoIA
Appendix 2: Information governance
Appendix 3: External review bodies


Information exempt from disclosure under FoIA


A: Qualified exemptions
These apply in situations where the Trust has a legitimate interest in not releasing information to ensure its proper functions can be performed.


They will include commercially sensitive information and information held as part of the Trust’s regulatory function.


The following sections of FoIA are relevant: 

s22 Information intended for future publication
s30 Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
s31 Law enforcement
s33 Audit functions
s35 Formulation of government policy
s36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (except information held by the House of Commons or the House of Lords - where an absolute exemption applies)
s37 Communications with The Queen (e.g. over honours)
s38 Health and safety
s39 Environmental information
s40 Personal information 1
s42 Legal professional privilege
s43 Commercial interests


Where these sections apply the Trust will subject the request for information to a public interest test, by which it will consider whether or not the public interest in withholding the information is greater than the public interest in releasing it. If the information is withheld the applicant will be informed.


1 If the institution believes that disclosure would not breach any of the data protection principles, but the individual who is the subject of the information has properly served notice under s.10 DPA 1998 that disclosure would cause unwarranted substantial damage or distress, or the individual who is the subject of the information would not have a right to know about it or a right of access to it under the DPA 1998, there is no absolute exemption, and the institution should consider the public interest in deciding whether to release the information.


B: Absolute exemptions
Absolute exemptions apply to situations when to respond to a request for information would lead the Trust to be in breach of another legal obligation. The following sections of FoIA are relevant: 


s21 Information accessible to applicant by other means
s32 Court records
s34 Parliamentary privilege
s40 Personal information 2
s41 Information provided in confidence
s44 Where a disclosure is prohibited by an enactment or would constitute
contempt of court


2 There is an absolute exemption from the provisions of the FoIA if an applicant making a request for information under the FoIA is the subject of the information requested and they already have the right of 'subject access' under the DPA 1998.


There is also an exemption from the provisions of the FoIA if the information requested under the FoIA concerns a third party and disclosure by the institution would breach one of the data protection principles.


Information governance


Statutory authorities
The websites below will provide details on governance relating to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the office and functions of the 

relevant statutory authorities:



This Publication Scheme refers to certain publications which provide advice and information about the Freedom of Information Act 2000. They can be found at the following websites:




  • Code of Practice Under Section 45 FoI Act 2000 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/45)
    The Code gives advice on the discharge of public authorities' functions under the Act, such as handling requests for information, consultation with third parties, refusing requests and handling complaints.



Other resources
The following websites also provide advice about the Freedom of Information Act, its operation in the NHS and the development of freedom of information.


The company is project advisor to the NHS on the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.


  • The Campaign for Freedom of Information (www.cfoi.org.uk/)
    The Campaign for Freedom of Information campaigns against unnecessary official secrecy and for freedom of information. It monitors access rights and provides practical guidance to help people use them.


External review bodies


























Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121