The Powys Teaching Health Board’s Access to Information Charging Regime aims to set out the fees and disbursements which can be charged by public authorities for access to information and how they should be calculated.
Any requests for access to information concerning the environment must be dealt with in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Alternatively, if the request is for any other information held by or on behalf of Powys Teaching Health Board (the Health Board), then it will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
Should a request for information attract a fee, the Health Board, under it’s obligation in the Disability Discrimination Act (2005), Race Relation (Amendment) Act 2001 and forthcoming legislation on equality strands, will attempt to help applicants understand or access the information required in different formats. The Health Board agrees to discuss the requirement of the applicant on a case by case basis.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) gives individuals the right to access recorded information held by a public authority. These requests will arise from two main sources, through the Health Board’s Publication Scheme or through general rights of access. Requests through general rights of access must be dealt with within 20 working days from receipt of the request.
The Health Board intends to provide as much information as possible free of charge. However, if a request is particularly complex or voluminous, or has a commercial implication, the Health Board will request a fee in accordance with the Fees Regulations, which have been issued by the Department of Constitutional Affairs.
The Act contains provision for the Health Board to make charges when responding to a request which costs over £450. The Act also contains provisions for the Health Board to refuse a request should the cost of the request exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450.
The standard costs which the Health Board can charge are as follows:
If the requestor requires the information translating into another language, providing the information is non-medical then the Health Board may use the facilities offered by Language Line.
The approximate cost for this service is:
The Health Board may waive the charge for requests under £10.00, but reserves the right to charge on a case by case basis.
The Publication Scheme sets out the classes of information the Health Board has available, how it makes the information available and any charges issued for such information. Generally information available through the Publication Scheme will be free of charge, although the Health Board may charge if the information is required in a hard copy or to be copied onto a different type of media (e.g. CD Rom) [see standard charges outlined above]
The charges will vary according to how information is available:
Under the Environmental Information Regulations, the Health Board can charge a “reasonable fee” for complying with a request, therefore the full cost of retrieving and providing the information can be recovered. Unlike the FOI Act, there is no appropriate cost limit and all requests must be dealt with regardless of cost unless an exception applies. (See Freedom of Information Act Fees above)
A mixed request is when part of the information requested is regulated by one access to information regime, and other parts by different information regimes. The most likely regimes to be encountered are:
When responding to a mixed request, the Health Board will ensure that the request is dealt with within the closest timescale. For example, a request which contains information which is both personal information under the Data Protection Act and information to be considered under the FOI Act will be dealt with within 20 working days (under the FOI Act regime). If the Health Board is unable to comply within the 20 working days, the FOI Act information will be provided first within the 20 working days and an acknowledgement in a letter will be sent to the applicant. This letter will inform the applicant that the Health Board will be considering the release and the expected date of release on the remainder of the request under the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
When calculating the costs for mixed requests the Health Board will separate out the constituent parts of the request. The maximum fees will be determined according to each separate regime. For example, where a request is for a mixture of an applicant’s own personal data and other information to which the FOI Act applies, then the maximum fee will be the sum of the maximum subject access fee and the maximum fee for providing the remainder of the information calculated under the FOI Act Fee Regulations.
Some of the information supplied under the Freedom of Information Act will be subject to copyright protection under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998. Unless expressly indicated on the material to the contrary, it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium, provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading manner. Where any of the copyright items are being re-published or copied to others, applicants must identify the source of the material and acknowledge the copyright status. Failure to obtain permission may result in an infringement of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998. Permission to reproduce material does not extend to any material that is the copyright of third parties. You must obtain authorisation to reproduce such material from the copyright holders concerned.
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If a fee is applicable, a fees notice will be issued to the applicant stating the exact fee before any costs are incurred in preparing to communicate the response. All fee notices will advise applicants to make their cheque or postal order payable to ‘Powys Teaching Health Board’.
Care will be taken to ensure estimating fees are as accurate as possible. If the actual cost is lower that the amount charged, the Health Board will refund the excess amount if it is greater than £5.00.
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