Response issued under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000
CQC IAT 2013 0135 Date of Response: 1 March 2013 Information Requested:
“Please provide the following information for all nursing and
domiciliary care agencies within England and Scotland.
I request a list of names and email addresses for all agencies within
England and Scotland.
Please provide the information in a spreadsheet.”
The Information Access Team can confirm that CQC hold some, but not all of the
requested information, and that we consider that some information is exempt
We can provide you with a list of domiciliary and nursing agencies in England-
please see the attached spreadsheet.
However, as the regulator of health and adult social care providers in England
only, Care Quality Commission does not hold information of this nature for
In Scotland, social care providers are regulated by Care Inspectorate and you can find their contact details at http://www.careinspectorate.com
Health care providers are regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland- http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/home.aspx
Also, CQC can not provide you with email addresses for providers.
It may be helpful to explain to you the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act
2000. The purpose of the Act is to ensure transparency and accountability in the
public sector. It seeks to achieve this by providing anyone, anywhere in the
world, with the right to access any recorded information held by, or on behalf of,
a public authority.
A disclosure under the Act is described as “applicant blind” meaning that
disclosure under Freedom of Information is a disclosure into the public domain
and not to any one individual.
The Act also recognises that there may be valid reasons for withholding
information by setting out a number of exemptions from the right to know, some
of which are subject to a public interest test.
We consider that the email addresses of providers to be subject to exemptions
from the right to know under Section 21, 40(2) and 41(1) of the Act. CQC and our regulatory function
In the course of our regulatory function, CQC receives contact e-mail addresses
of the care services we regulate.
In accordance with section 38 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, CQC is
required to provide copies of our registers to the public.
We do this through our "latest checks" care directory and the csv file in the "Use
our data" sections of our website. These are available via these links: http://www.cqc.org.uk/ http://www.cqc.org.uk/cqcdata
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 does not make any requirement that e-mail
addresses are provided as part of this register. CQC has taken the decision that
we do not publish e-mail addresses of the care services that are registered with
When individuals and providers apply to be registered with CQC they provide
their contact details with an expectation that CQC will only use the information in
relation to registration and monitoring of compliance with the relevant regulations
and government standards.
The individuals and providers would therefore have a reasonable expectation
that CQC would only use their e-mail addresses for those purposes and would
not disclose their e-mail addresses into the public domain under Freedom of
When individuals and providers apply to become registered with CQC they are
required to submit a relevant registration application.
We include a statement on the Data Protection Act 1998 within our application
form which explains how we will use the personal data that is supplied.
The statement specifically advises that we will use the information provided for
the purposes of performing our regulatory functions. This includes our
assessment of the registration application and, if the registration is subsequently
approved, our ongoing monitoring of compliance with the relevant regulations
and government standards.
This statement acts as a privacy notice explaining how we will process the
personal data of the individuals named within any application.
The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the use of "personal data" and the
processing of that data. There are eight Data Protection principles which are
listed with schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
We believe that release of e-mail addresses relating to the care services we
regulate would potentially be a breach of principles 1, 2 and 6 (where personal
data is contained within those e-mail addresses, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
S40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Commission considers this information to be subject to the exemption from
disclosure under section 40(2) of the Act, because it is personal data relating to
This exemption applies in any case where disclosure of the requested
information into the public domain would be a breach of any of the Principles of
the Data Protection Act 1998. In particular, the first Principle requires that
disclosure of the information must be fair and lawful.
The Commission considers that it would be a breach of the Principles of the Data
Protection Act 1998 to disclose the requested information because the persons
to whom the information relates would have a reasonable expectation that it
would not be disclosed to a member of the public and disclosure is likely to be a
breach of their privacy or rights.
No public interest test is required for this exemption. Section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
We consider the e-mail addresses provided to CQC to be given with an
expectation of confidentiality and the exemption from the right to know provided
at section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to be engaged.
Section 41(1) states:
“(1)Information is exempt information if— (a)it was obtained by the public authority from any other person
(including another public authority), and (b)the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than
under this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a
breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.”
Section 41 can apply where information has been obtained in confidence and
where disclosure could constitute an actionable breach of confidence.
A duty of confidence arises when one person (the “confidant”) is provided with
information by another (the “confider”) in the expectation that the information will
only be used or disclosed in accordance with the wishes of the confider. If there
is a breach of confidence, the confider or any other party affected (for instance a
person whose details were included in the information confided) may have the
right to take action through the courts.
As explained above, when the individual or provider supplies their contact details
to CQC, there is an explicit expectation that CQC will only use this information for
the purposes of registration and compliance.
In addition, CQC does not publish the e-mail addresses of care services that are
registered with us. If we did decide to publish the e-mail addresses we would
need to seek the consent of each and every one of the registered care services.
These number in the tens of thousands therefore any such exercise would be
extremely time consuming and use an extensive amount of our limited resources. Section 21(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
We consider some of the e-mail addresses to be reasonably accessible to you by
Section 21(1) states: “Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise
than under section 1 is exempt information.”
Some providers publish their contact e-mail addresses on their websites; you can
access these websites from the spreadsheet you have already accessed on our
website. You can then visit the website of each provider to determine what their
contact e-mail address is. CQC Complaints Procedure:
If you are not satisfied with the information that you have been provided then you
may request a review of the Commission’s handling of your information request.
Please clearly indicate that you wish for a review of your information request and
it would be helpful if you could state the reason for requesting the review.
Please be aware that this review process will focus upon our handling of your
information request and should not be used to raise further concerns about the
provision of care or the internal processes of other CQC functions.
If you are unhappy with other aspects of the Commission's actions, or of the
actions of registered providers, please see our website for information on how to raise a concern or complaint. http://www.cqc.org.uk/contact-us
Internal Review of your Freedom of Information Request:
To request a review please contact:
Legal Services & Information Rights
Care Quality Commission
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4PA firstname.lastname@example.org
Further rights of appeal exist to the Information Commissioner’s Office
) once the internal appeals process has been exhausted.
The contact details are: -
Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone Helpline: 0303 123 1113