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Freedom of Information

FOI logo

What is the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000?

The Freedom of Information Act was passed on the 30th November 2000 and came into force on the 1st January 2005. It aims to promote a culture of openness and accountability in the public sector, by providing people with a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. The Act replaces the Open Government Code of Practice which has been in operation since 1994.

The Act requires all public authorities to produce publication schemes, setting out what information they will make available as a matter of course, and when and how they will make it available.

Who is covered by the Act?

The Act applies to all public authorities. This includes government departments, local authorities, NHS bodies, schools, colleges and universities, and the police, House of Commons and House of Lords.

What does it mean for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust?

The Act affects everyone in the Trust

There is a statutory duty to implement the Act

It allows anyone to find out whether information is held, and if it is, to have access to it

There are no time limits on how far back someone can gain access to information, it is as far back as we hold the information

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are committed to providing timely and accessible information to the public and responding to reasonable requests for information.

What is an FOI request and how do I make one?

An FOI request is a request for information under the FOI Act. Your request for information must be in writing, include a name and address for correspondence (email address is also acceptable) and describe the information that you are requesting, giving us enough detail about the information in order to allow us to correctly identify and find it.

Where possible, responses to requests for information will be supplied in the format requested by the Applicant. However, responses may be supplied by providing a copy of the original document, a summary of the original or by allowing the Applicant to visit Trust premises to read the document(s).

Your request must be dealt with within twenty working days of receipt (or after the payment of any relevant fee). Copies of our FOI responses are uploaded onto our website.

There are three main ways of making a request for information:

  • directly to the  Freedom of Information Act Officer;
  • via the Trust's Freedom of Information email address - or to a member of Trust staff.

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital