Information Governance Office
London SE5 8AZ
Mr David Mery By way of email
28 May 2014
Dear Mr Mery ICO Complaint Reference – FS50514652
Date of Request – 11th June 2013 ('the Request')
I refer to previous correspondence in relation to the Request and more recently to your complaint to
I am writing to inform you that the Trust will publish a redacted version of the detailed report on the
Trust's website by the end of 28 May 2014. As I informed you in my email dated 14 May 2014, this is
a further document which was originally overlooked in the search for information falling within the
scope of the Request. The document in question is a detailed underlying report to which the
document disclosed to you on 29 August 2013 the "Report into Incidents which took place at River
For ease of reference, The Trust is aiming to publish the report in the ‘Policy and Publications’ section
of the Trust website under a sub-menu called ‘Reviews and Reports’. You will be able to find the
‘Policy and Publications’ section under ‘About Us’ when you visit the Trust website at
The detailed report contains patient identifiable data as well as some other information which the
Trust considers to be exempt from disclosure. Consequently, the Trust has redacted appropriate
sections of the document. The exemptions the Trust applied are explained in detail below: Section 38 – Health and Safety
1. The Trust exempted information that falls under sections 38 (b) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000(FOIA), as it considers that disclosure of the Report in its unredacted form, "Would or would be likely to –
(b) Endanger the safety of an individual."
2. The Trust considers that disclosure of the withheld information would be likely to endanger
the safety of both the staff and patients of River House. The Trust is concerned that
disclosure of detailed information regarding the procedures and techniques by which the Trust
will tackle patient disturbances could be used to undermine those procedures and ultimately
pose a safety risk to staff and to patients.
3. The exemption in section 38 FOIA is 'qualified' which means that the Trust is under an
obligation to apply the 'public interest test.' The Trust has considered the following public
interest arguments that would weigh in favour of disclosure of the unredacted Report:-
Further the understanding and participation in the public debate of issues of the day.
The Trust appreciates the importance of disclosing information which furthers the
understanding of the public in issues of the day, which is partially why it published the
Report, albeit in a redacted format. The Trust does not consider disclosure of the
redacted passages of the Report will go any further in promoting public understanding
of the incidents.
Promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken
by them. The Trust considers that it has disclosed as much of the Report as possible
in order to demonstrate accountability for issues which arose at the Trust and to show
how the Trust intends to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The Trust does not
consider that the addition of the redacted passages in the Report would further
demonstrate accountability, and would instead be more likely to cause significant
safety concerns for staff working in River House and in fact officers from other
Promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public money. Again,
the Trust has as far as it considers possible, disclosed the aspects of the Report
which demonstrate the way in which public money was spent on the incident and the
way in which it could be spent to avoid such incidents from occurring in the future.
Staff operating in a secure ward caring for patients with, in many cases, severe
mental health conditions, should be able to put in place confidential strategies for
dealing with adverse emergency circumstances. Disclosure of these types of plans
and strategies could significantly undermine the safety of the staff.
Allowing individuals, companies and other bodies to understand decisions made by
public authorities affecting their lives. Again, the Trust considers that it has disclosed
sufficient parts of the Report to demonstrate the decisions it has made regarding
security and staffing at River House.
Bringing to light information affecting public health and safety. The incidents referred
to in the Report did not directly relate to public health and safety, although they did
relate to the safety of both patients and staff of the Trust. The disclosure of the
redacted information in the Report will not bring to the public's attention any
information affecting public health and safety.
On balance, the Trust considers the public interest balance to lie in favour of maintaining the
exemption in section 38 (b).
Section 40 – Personal Data
1. Staff and patient details have been redacted in sections of the Report which relate directly to
the two incidents which took place at River House in October 2012. Whilst individuals are not
specifically named in the Report, it is very likely that in some or even all cases they could be
identified from job titles, confidential clinical details together with the description of the
incidents which took place.
2. Staff and patients would not expect their information to be disclosed, particularly in relation to
an incident of the kind described in the Report.
3. The damage and distress caused to individuals could be considerable if their details were to
4. It would be inappropriate to seek consent in these circumstances and in any event it seems
highly unlikely that the staff and patients involved would consent the disclosure of their
5. Disclosure of individuals’ details would not be warranted because the individuals concerned
could be targeted specifically and subjected to detrimental treatment if their details were to be
The exemption in section 40(2) of FOIA is 'absolute,' meaning that the Trust is not required to apply
the public interest test. I have copied in the ICO Case Officer dealing with your complaint, in order that
he is aware of the publication of the redacted document.
If you have any queries regarding this letter and or questions about the exemptions applied, please do
not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Head of Information Governance
cc. Mr Alun Johnson, Senior ICO Case Officer, ICO