We remain committed to upholding your information rights during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes your right to ask for information about this organisation (a freedom of information request) or for your personal information (a subject access request).
Our information rights staff are working remotely as our offices are closed. We will try to continue to meet statutory deadlines for requests for digital information or electronic records, though this may not always be possible. It will be harder for us to respond to requests and many responses will need to be postponed until after the pandemic.
We will let you know if there will be delay in responding to your request. If you need information held by PHSO within a specific timeframe, please let us know when you make your request.
There are some circumstances in which we cannot meet statutory deadlines during the pandemic:
- If you are requesting information relating to health services responses may take longer than usual or be postponed until after the pandemic. This is because when we handle these kind of requests we often need to contact the organisation involved to make sure that we are protecting the privacy of third parties who may be identified in the information requested. In these cases, we will not be contacting health services for confirmation or clarification until after the pandemic so as not to increase the workload for the NHS.
- We cannot respond to requests for paper documents, send printed responses or recordings of calls on CD. Again, we ask for your patience and understanding and we will try to respond after the pandemic.
- We continue to accept requests made under GDPR, such as the right to be forgotten or to have inaccurate data corrected. In these cases, the request will be recorded and the pertinent information or records locked down or ‘frozen’ as we may not be able to complete the request during this time. We will try to complete these requests, although significant delays are likely until after the pandemic. In these circumstances the contested information will be kept confidentially.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an excellent source of advice on your information rights and regularly updates its guidance for the public.
For more information please email the Information Rights team.