Frequently Asked Questions
What information can I request?
You have a legal right to request any recorded information held by the Health Board.
- You can ask for any information you think we may hold. This right only covers recorded information.
- Your request can be in the form of a question, but we do not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded.
- Your should clearly identify the information you want.
- Some information may not be given to you because it is exempt. For example, if it would unfairly reveal personal information about someone else.
If the information is environmental, then the Health Board will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). You do not need to know whether the information you want is covered by the EIR or the Freedom of Information Act. When you make a request, the Health Board will decide which process it needs to follow.
When can I request information?
You can ask for any information you choose, at any time, but you may not always succeed in getting it. Before you make a request, it may help to consider the following questions:
- Is the information you want already available? – For example, is it already published on our website.
- Is the information you want your own personal data? – If your request is for information about yourself, such as your medical records, you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act.
- ·Is the Health Board likely to have the information? – It may save time if you check with us whether we are likely to have the information you want.
How should I word my request?
Your request should set out clearly the information you want.
- Be as clear as possible. If we are unsure of what you want, we will have have to ask you for further information.
- Try to pinpoint what you really want. Your request may be refused if it would be too expensive for us to deal with. We may also charge you for some of the expenses associated with supplying the information, for example, photocopying.
- Where possible, ask for specific information rather than using open-ended questions. ‘What’ or ‘How much’ are more likely to get a useful response than ‘Why’.
- Say how you would prefer to receive the information. For example, whether you want the information electronically or in paper format.
What happens after I make my request?
We should reply to you within 20 working days. We may:
- provide you with the information you have requested;
- tell you we don’t hold the information;
- tell you that another authority holds the information;
- say that we have the information and offer to provide it on payment of a fee;
- refuse to provide you with the information, and explain why; or
- say that we need more time to consider the public interest, and tell you when to expect a response.
What if I want to complain?
If you are unhappy with how your request has been handled, you should complain to the Health Board in the first instance. If after this you are still not satisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Request for environmental information may be handled differently from other requests. However, we should still respond within 20 working days and give reasons if we refuse your request.
What if I need more help?
If you require further information about any aspect of freedom of information, please contact:
Corporate Services Department
Cwm Taf Health Board
Tel: 01443 744800