What does the Freedom of Information Act mean to me?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) gives the public the statutory right of access to all non-personal information held by public authorities, including the NHS.
The underlying principle of the Act is that information held by a public body should be freely available with few exemptions.
It is about us being open, honest and accountable.
This means that you can now ask for information held by Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust and request access to it. The Trust will deal with all requests in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act Code of Practice.
For more information on these guidelines please visit http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/reference/statCodesOfPractice.htm.
How do I find something out about the Trust?
Before formally making a FOI request, please check this website to see if it contains the information you are looking for. In addition, the Trusts Publication Scheme provides a complete guide to what information is routinely published by the Trust, for example policies, procedures and minutes of meetings.
How do I request Information that is not available on the website?
You are entitled to request whether we hold information on a specific area and then copies of the information itself. To formally make a request under the Freedom of Information Act you must submit your request in writing (email is satisfactory) and include an address (postal or email) to which correspondence can be sent.
Please note that requests should include a clear and specific description of the information you are seeking. When asking for statistical or historical data please ensure you include the period in which you are interested.
Submitting your request
Please send your FOI requests to Publication.Scheme@dvh.nhs.uk
Alternatively, send in your requests by post to:
FOI Act Lead,
4th Floor, Information Dept,
Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust,
Darent Valley Hospital,
Darenth Wood Road,
Dartford, Kent, DA2 8DA.
When will my request be answered?
Once we have received your request we will aim to respond within 20 working days or sooner.
If we exceed this time limit we will apologise and explain the reasons for this delay and give you an estimate of how long it will take to meet your request.
When responding we will firstly state whether or not we hold the information that you have requested. If we do hold this information we will, in the majority of cases, send this information to you.
There is however, some information that is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, for example, information that may be of commercial interest.
Where an exemption is considered appropriate, we will explain the reasons why this is so and outline what steps you are entitled to take next.
Will there be a charge for my request?
Depending on what information you have requested, there maybe a charge for the copying of the materials that you are seeking. In the majority of cases the Trust will absorb this cost. If it is necessary to make a charge we will contact you to confirm whether you still wish to proceed with the request.
Where the time involved in us investigating whether we hold the information and then obtaining the information requested exceeds a cost of £450 we are entitled to refuse the request.
In this case we will contact you to establish whether you wish to:
- Amend the request so that the cost is reduced to below £450.
- No longer proceed with the request.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the response to my request?
If you are unhappy with the response to your request then in the first instance you should appeal directly to the Chief Executive. Appeals must be made in writing and sent to the standard Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust address.
If you remain dissatisfied following the appeals process, you have the right under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act to apply to the Information Commissioner to seek resolution to the matter. Further details on how to do this can be found at:
If you have any further questions regarding Freedom of Information, please email the Publication.Scheme@dvh.nhs.uk.