Board meetings in private, and management team meetings

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear NHS Commissioning Board,

At the end of the Commissioning Board meeting on 14 December 2012, the Chairman said "The Board itself will now move into a private meeting to deliberate on matters of a confidential nature".

(1) Please provide details of:
(a) all dates on which the NHS Commissioning Board Authority met in private
(b) all dates on which the NHS Commissioning Board has met in private
(2) Please provide copies of the agendas and minutes of each of those meetings

(3) Please also confirm whether:
(a) the Executive Directors of the NHS Commissioning Board Authority regularly met together as a management team (howsoever named)
(b) the Executive Directors of the NHS Commissioning regularly meet together as a management team (howsoever named)
(4) If so, please provide the dates on which those meetings have taken place, and the expected frequency of future meetings
(5) Please also provide copies of the agendas and minutes/notes of each of those meetings

If you intend to invoke any of the FOI Act exemptions in relation to any of the above information, I would ask that you only withhold those parts of documents to which exemptions apply and disclose the remainder of those documents, and that you clearly identify which exemption applies to each part that is being withheld and why.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Jones

Board Commissioning (NHS COMMISSIONING BOARD), NHS England

FOI.110-2012

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated 30 January 2013.

Please be assured your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Kind regards

Helen Douglas
Briefing Manager

NHS Commissioning Board

Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE
Website: www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Board Commissioning (NHS COMMISSIONING BOARD), NHS England

Dear Mr Jones,

Re: Freedom of Information request

 Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated 24
January 2013, in which you requested the following:

“At the end of the Commissioning Board meeting on 14 December 2012,
the Chairman said "The Board itself will now move into a private
meeting to deliberate on matters of a confidential nature.

(1) Please provide details of:

     (a) all dates on which the NHS Commissioning Board Authority met
in

     private

     (b) all dates on which the NHS Commissioning Board has met in

     Private

(2) Please provide copies of the agendas and minutes of each of

     those meetings

(3) Please also confirm whether:

     (a) the Executive Directors of the NHS Commissioning Board

     Authority regularly met together as a management team (howsoever

     named)

     (b) the Executive Directors of the NHS Commissioning regularly
meet

     together as a management team (howsoever named)

(4) If so, please provide the dates on which those meetings have

     taken place, and the expected frequency of future meetings

(5) Please also provide copies of the agendas and minutes/notes of

     each of those meetings”

I can confirm that the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) holds
information in relation to your request.

In assessing the information you have requested as it is currently
framed, would exceed the cost limit as set out in Section 12(1) of the
FOI Act. Section 12(1) states that a public authority can refuse a
request if complying with it would exceed the appropriate limit of
£450 (which represents 18 hours).  This represents the estimated cost
of one person spending this time in determining whether the
information is held, and locating, retrieving and extracting the
information. I have outlined reasoning for invoking Section 12(1)
below.

The NHS Commissioning Board Authority (NHS CBA) established in October
2011 and the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) established in October
2012. The two meetings you have referred to and request information
for meet regularly. The Board have met for a total of 8 private
meetings as the NHS CBA and the NHS CB. The executive management
meeting, which has over time taken on various titles and in its
current form is the Executive Team Meeting (ETM) endeavours to meet
weekly.

To locate and retrieve the information you have requested we would
need to access a number of computer files over a period of 15 months.
We have established there have been 8 private Board meetings, and
approximately 45 executive management meetings. We have further
estimated under section 12(1) of the FOI Act that to locate and
retrieve the information requested which is a combination of dates,
minutes and agendas which would include any time it may take to
extract information, that it may take up to 30 minutes per meeting and
therefore, potentially take up to 26 hours to complete. As a result,
this takes over the time and cost threshold in considering an FOI
request and any appropriate action to be taken.

Section 12(1) is an absolute exemption therefore we are not required
to assess the public interest test in its application. 

However, if you were to refine your request for information within
more specific margins, for example; specific meetings or over a
particular time period, then we may be able to continue processing
your request. Please note we cannot guarantee that Section 12(1) or
any other exemptions will not apply to any information requested. 

I hope this satisfactorily resolves your FOI request. However, if you
are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right
to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original letter and should be addressed to:

Corporate Development Team

Room 1W09

Quarry House

Quarry Hill

Leeds

LS2 7UE

Email: [1]commissioningboard@nhs.net 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you
have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can be contacted
at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

K9 5AF

 

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Email: [2][email address].uk  

Website: [3]www.ico.gov.uk

Please note there is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Helen Douglas

Freedom of Information

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ms Douglas

Re: FOI.110-2012

Further to your email of 27 February, I will refine my request to the dates, agendas and minutes of the 8 meetings when the Board or Board Authority met in private.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Jones

Board Commissioning (NHS COMMISSIONING BOARD), NHS England

FOI.131-2012

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your reply below; this will be taken forward as a new request and processed accordingly under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Your new reference is above and please can I ask you quote this in any future communications.

Thank you,

Kind regards

Helen Douglas
Briefing Manager

NHS Commissioning Board

Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE
Website: www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Board Commissioning (NHS COMMISSIONING BOARD), NHS England

7 Atodiad

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Re:         Freedom of Information request (FOI.131-2012)

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated 27 February
2013 in which you requested the following:

 

“Further to your email of 27 February, I will refine my request to the
dates, agendas and minutes of the 8 meetings when the Board or Board
Authority met in private”.

 

I confirm that the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) holds information
relevant to your request. We have been experiencing problems with our IT,
which has meant that there has been a delay in getting this response to
you. We unsuccessfully attempted to respond yesterday and I must apologise
for the delay in providing you with this information.

 

The NHS CB has considered your request for Part II of the meetings and
outlines below the decision we have taken in regards to disclosing any
information relevant to your request under section 36 of the FOI Act.

 

1) Agendas presented to the NHS CB in Part II of Public Board meetings

 

The NHS CB has determined these can be disclosed; please find these
attached to this response. Please can I confirm the agendas also provide
information on dates of the meetings held, as you have requested.

 

2) Minutes of Part II of NHS CB Public Board meetings

 

You have requested a copies of minutes from Part II of the NHS CB Public
Board meetings and having considered this, the NHS CB has decided that
section 36(2)(b)(i), 36(2)(b)(ii) and 36(2)(c) apply so as to exempt this
information.  Section 36(2)(b)(i) applies where disclosure would or would
be likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice. Section
36(2)(b)(ii) applies where disclosure would, or would be likely to inhibit
the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
Section 36(2)(c) applies where disclosure would otherwise prejudice, or
would be likely to otherwise prejudice, the effective conduct of public
affairs.

 

In considering the application of section 36, the NHS CB’s qualified
person has provided his reasonable opinion on the application of this
exemption to the information requested. In the case of your request for
copies of all Part II minutes of the NHS CB Public Board meetings, the
qualified person’s reasonable opinion is that this information is exempt.
The information contained within the minutes reflect discussions held in
private, of which reasons for doing so is to enable free and frank
discussion on issues.

 

In addition, the qualified person’s reasonable opinion is that the NHS CB
should be able to internally exchange views for proper purposes of
deliberation and, to assist with this, to receive and consider appropriate
advice, over the distribution of NHS CB resources. It is important that
the NHS CB has the ability to make sensitive and complex decisions, such
as those regarding allocations, in a “safe space”. This includes the need
to receive and consider relevant advice. Knowledge that such information
may not be protected in the foreseeable future could affect the robustness
and directness of advice on complex issues. The qualified person’s
reasonable opinion is that this would prejudice the free and frank
exchange of views and provision of advice.

 

Also, it is important that the NHS CB is able to deliberate and discuss
advice received and issues for decision in a free and frank manner.
Disclosure of minutes of private discussions would be likely to prejudice
the NHS CB’s ability to carry out such deliberations and this, in turn,
would be likely to prejudice the robustness of the decisions made.

 

For these reasons, the NHS CB’s decision is that section 36(2)(b)(i),
36(2)(b)(ii) and 36(2)(c) apply to the information requested.

 

As section 36 is a qualified exemption, the NHS CB has considered the
public interest factors favouring making the information available and
those favouring withholding the information in coming to its decision. In
particular, the NHS CB took into account the public interest in the NHS CB
reaching decisions, including information that the NHS CB took into
account when making decisions or discussing issues and the general public
interest in transparency in public affairs.

 

The NHS CB also took into account the public interest in enabling public
authorities like the NHS CB to make decisions in a robust and considered
manner, including the public interest in enabling the NHS CB to receive
and consider appropriately frank advice. 

 

Having carried out this analysis, the NHS CB’s view is that the public
interest factors favouring withholding the information outweigh those
favouring making the information available.

 

Please can I take this opportunity to highlight the commitment of the NHS
CB to be an open and transparent organisation. We take seriously all
requests for information and the commitment to provide as much information
in the public domain as possible.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews are to
be submitted, within two months of the date of this letter, to:

 

Corporate Development Team

Room 1W09

Quarry House

Quarry Hill

Leeds

LS2 7UE

 

Email: [1]commissioningboard@nhs.net 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can be contacted at:

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

K9 5AF

 

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Email: [2][email address].uk   

Website: [3]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Please note there is no charge for making an appeal.

   

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Helen Douglas

Freedom of Information

 

NHS Commissioning Board

 

Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE

Website: [4]www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk

 

Enc. NHS CB Public Board meetings - Agendas of Part II

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FAO Corporate Development Team

Ref FOI 131-2012

I am writing to request an internal review of the NHS Commissioning Board's handling of my FOI request for copies of the minutes of Board and Board Authority meetings held in private. A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bo...

While I will mention a number of points below, I would ask you to reconsider all aspects of the application of the section 36 exemption, including the application of the public interest test.

Firstly, I note that you have not named the qualified person whose opinion has been sought, or provided confirmation that they are suitably authorised to give an opinion under section 36. I would therefore query whether the exemption has been properly invoked at all.

Secondly, I am disappointed that the Board has resorted to the blanket application of section 36 to withhold the minutes, without consideration of whether the individual items discussed were exempt (either under this section of the FOIA or others) in their own right or not. It flies in the face of the statement, at the end of the response, that the Commissioning Board is committed to being an "open and transparent organisation". Given the blanket application of the exemption, I would question whether the opinion can truly relate to the merits of each distinct topic included in the minutes, and so doubt whether it can be considered 'reasonable'.

Thirdly, what is your evidence for believing that the Directors and Members of the Board, who presumably have been chosen for qualities such as their experience, expertise and integrity, would feel unable to discuss topics such as "Programme Arrangements for Hosting CSSs, including Hosting Arrangements with the NHS BSA" or the Commissioning Board Authority's 2011-12 accounts and annual report freely and frankly if there was a possibility that the record of their discussions were to be published? Surely the possibility that discussions may become public should have the effect of encouraging members of the Board to ensure that their arguments are robust and backed up by evidence, and thereby have a positive effect?

Next, with respect to the public interest test, it would appear that you have given only cursory consideration to this. Given the considerable public and political focus on the recent reforms to the NHS, I would argue that there is a definite public interest in knowing (for example) what issues or risks were highlighted in the course of discussion about progress against critical success factors or the Mandate given to the Board by the Secretary of State. I would suggest that the public interest test should be applied to each topic included within the minutes separately, so that factors relevant to each item can be considered and weighed properly, rather than 'en masse' without regard to the level of public interest in each item.

Finally, please can you clarify a point: one of the files containing agendas which was attached to the response was named "2 February 2013", however the agenda stated that it was a Commissioning Board Authority meeting (and did not quote the year) - as the Authority ceased on 30 September 2012, presumably that agenda is from February 2012 not February 2013?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Jones

Contactus England (HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE INFORMATION CENTRE - X26), NHS England

With reference to Enquiry SDR 68190

 

Thank you for contacting the NHS Commissioning Board.

 

Your enquiry has now been passed to the Case Management Team and a Case
Officer will contact you within 2-3 working days.

 

If you require any further information or wish to speak to someone about
your enquiry, please contact the NHS Commissioning Board at the email
address and telephone number shown below.

 

Please quote reference number SDR 68190 in any communication.

 

Kind Regards,

 

NHS England

PO Box 16738

REDDITCH

B97 9PT

 

Tel: 0300 3 11 22 33

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear NHS England

Re: FOI 131-2012

On 12 April 2013 I asked that you carry out an internal review of your response to my FOI request regarding meetings of the Commissioning Board in private (see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...), but I have not yet been informed of the outcome of that review. I understand that the Information Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review - which would be 13 May. Please can you advise when you will complete the internal review, and what is causing the delay.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Jones

Shilling Heather (NHS ENGLAND), NHS England

Our reference: SDR 68190: Request for Internal Review

 

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Thank you for your email regarding the response to your Freedom of
Information (FOI) Act request. I sincerely apologise for the delay in
responding to your request. We have been experiencing extremely high
volumes of requests over the past several weeks and have been unable to
respond within our normal timeframes. However, I have noted your request
for an internal review and we will contact you again soon to update you on
the progress of this.

 

If you have any queries about this request or wish to contact us again,
please email [1][email address] and the message will be
forwarded appropriately. Please remember to quote the above reference
number in any future communications.

 

Please do not reply directly to this email. This message has been sent
from a central mailbox and incoming messages will not be received.

 

Heather Shilling

 

Freedom of Information

 

Tel: 0300 3 11 22 33

Email: [2][email address]

Website: [3]www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk

Address: NHS ENGLAND, PO BOX 16738, REDDITCH, B97 9PT

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk/

Gadawodd Paul Jones anodiad ()

I have contacted the Information Commissioner's Office and they have chased NHS England

Gadawodd Richard Taylor anodiad ()

A message sent to this request thread, citing the reference number used here, was in fact a response to a request made elsewhere so has been moved to:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

--

Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

FOI England (NHS ENGLAND), NHS England

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Re:      Internal Review of our response to your Freedom of Information
request 131-2012 (Our Ref: SDR - 68190 )

 

I am writing to you about your request for an Internal Review of our
response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated 26 February
2013 in which you requested the following:

 

“Further to your email of 27 February, I will refine my request to the
dates, agendas and minutes of the 8 meetings when the Board or Board
Authority met in private”.

 

Firstly, please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in providing
you with our response. NHS England has recently undergone a significant
transition to which has resulted in increased demands. These increases
have resulted in delays in some responses. We are constantly reviewing our
processes to ensure any increase in demand does not reduce the quality and
efficiency of our service.

 

In response to your initial request, our response to this specific element
of your request was that section 36(2)(b)(i), 36(2)(b)(ii) and 36(2)(c)
apply so as to exempt this information.  Section 36(2)(b)(i) applies where
disclosure would or would be likely to inhibit the free and frank
provision of advice. Section 36(2)(b)(ii) applies where disclosure would,
or would be likely to inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the
purposes of deliberation Section 36(2)(c) applies where disclosure would
otherwise prejudice, or would be likely to otherwise prejudice, the
effective conduct of public affairs.

 

I can advise that following guidance received from the Information
Commissioners Office (ICO), it is our understanding that in the event that
an issue has previously been the subject of an internal review, the
outcome of that review should be applied to any subsequent requests for an
internal review of the same issue, unless material facts or length time
relevant to the issue have changed.

 

I can confirm that an FOI Internal Review Panel has previously considered
the issues to which you raised in your request of 12 April 2013, and in
the interests of efficiency and consistency, we will not be undertaking a
further investigation of these issues.  Please find the outcome of the
Internal Review below.

 

The qualified person responsible for invoking Section 36, Sir David
Nicholson has reviewed the position, and a Panel was separately convened
to impartially review the request. In addition and again separate to the
Panel, the team who produced the information were advised of the review
and allowed time to reconsider the position.

 

The Panel, and those identified above have reviewed the position and I
outline the response below.

 

The Panel highlighted the need for transparency within the organisation to
the wider public and acknowledged that items discussed within a private
meeting by the Board were likely to be of significant interest. However,
the Panel also acknowledged the need for there to be a “safe space” and
the significant impact to the conduct of public affairs without a “safe
space” or colleagues being unable to internally exchange views which need
detailed consideration.

 

The Panel concluded that the response and exemption applied to the FOI
request had been done so correctly and upheld the original decision at the
time of the request for NHS England to withhold the private Board minutes.

 

In addition to the Panel convened to review the request. The policy team
and qualified person designated to approve invoking section 36 of the FOI
Act, re-reviewed the request and position. Both the policy teams and
qualified person maintain the position to withhold the information, under
the exemptions outlined.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of this internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can be contacted at:

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

K9 5AF

 

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Email: [1][email address].uk  

Website: [2]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Please note there is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Please do not reply directly to this email. This message has been sent
from a central mailbox and incoming messages will not be received.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Sean Gregory

Customer Contact Centre Case Officer

NHS  England

PO Box 16738

REDDITCH

B97 9PT

Telephone - 0300 311 22 33

E-Mail – [3][email address]

Website [4]www.england.nhs.uk

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.england.nhs.uk/

FOI England (NHS ENGLAND), NHS England

8 Atodiad

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Re:      Freedom of Information request

Our Ref: FOI.131-2012 / ICO Ref: FS50509939

 

I am writing further to your complaint sent to the Information
Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This is in relation to your Freedom of
Information (FOI) request for a number of NHS England’s private board
meeting minutes.

 

NHS England has reviewed its position.

 

The “qualified person” of NHS England is the Chief Executive, Sir David
Nicholson. The “qualified person”  invoked Section 36 of the FOI Act
predominantly in view of the time to which these minutes relate and the
sensitivity of decision making at the time in the infancy of NHS England
following the NHS transition.

 

Following a review of your FOI request in consultation with the
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), it has been agreed that time has
elapsed causing the majority of the information to be of a less sensitive
quality in contrast to when this was originally requested and at internal
review. It is therefore agreed that this information can now be disclosed
in full.

 

The information requested is attached.

 

Please note, the eight meetings outlined in the attached documents are the
meetings that were held at the time of the request and in private. There
are no other meetings held in private to which this request relates.

 

I hope this response and the information now concludes your request.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. If we can be of
any further assistance, please contact us at the following address:

NHS England

PO Box 16738

REDDITCH

B97 9PT

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

Please quote the reference number FOI.131-2012 in any future
communications.

 

Please do not reply directly to this email. This message has been sent
from a central mailbox and incoming messages will not be received.

   

Yours sincerely,

 

Helen Douglas

Customer Contact Centre Senior Case Manager

 

NHS England

PO Box 16738

REDDITCH

B97 9PT

 

Tel: 0300 311 22 33

Email: [2][email address]

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]