This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Membership of all CTAP subgroups'.

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Philip Harper 
Sent by email: 
1 July 2022 
Dear Philip Harper, 
Internal Review request: IR2022/00145 
Thank you for your Internal Review request of 19 April in which you requested that we reconsider our decision to 
withhold information relating to your Freedom of Information (FOIA) request about UK COVID-19 Therapeutics 
Advisory Panel (UK-CTAP) Expert Subgroups (FOI2022/00107). 
Your request for an internal review:  
In requesting an Internal Review of our decision to withhold membership of all UK-CTAP Expert Subgroups under 
Section 40(2) of FOIA, we note you have also identified reasons why you felt this information should be released. 
In undertaking the review, we have revisited our position taking into consideration the points you made. 
Our approach to the Internal Review 

The purpose of an Internal Review is to assess how your FOIA request was handled in the first instance and to 
take a fresh look at your request, taking into consideration your comments. Please be assured that this was an 
independent review, carried out by a reviewer who was not involved in the original decision. We apologise that this 
process has taken slightly longer than expected. 
Internal Review outcome 
In considering how the initial request was handled we have found no errors in the approach. However, taking 
account of comments in your Internal Review request relating to the management of conflicts of interests we do 
acknowledge that we could have provided further information on how conflicts of interest were managed and, 
could have explained why some membership information has been published. 
In terms of further information relating to conflicts of interest identified during panel meetings, we can confirm that 
the some of the information has been published. The remainder wil  be published shortly. 
The conclusion of the Internal Review is that Section 40(2) – personal information would apply to the names of 
Subgroup members. Published information relating to how conflicts of interest were managed would also be 
relevant to the request in light of your additional comments, and therefore Section 22 - information intended for 
future publication would also apply. Further detail on the findings of the Internal Review is provided below. 
Exempt information 
Section 40(2) – Personal data (relating to third parties) 
In undertaking an Internal Review we carried out an assessment of whether Section 40(2) was engaged, following 
the Information Commissioner’s Of ice (ICO) guidance1. This assessment focused on establishing whether 
disclosure of the Expert Subgroup membership would be lawful. For disclosure to be lawful, an Article 6(1) of the 
UK Research and Innovation, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FL 

link to page 2 UK GDPR lawful basis for processing must exist. The ICO guidance goes on to discuss the two lawful bases that 
are relevant to disclosure under FOIA which are: (a) consent or (f) legitimate interest.  
UK GDPR Article 6(1)(a) Consent 
The ICO guidance states that this lawful basis applies if all individuals have consented freely to the specific 
disclosure. As part of the original request, views on disclosure were sought from a subsection of members, 
however consent was not granted. Therefore, the Internal Review went on to consider whether lawful basis (f) – 
legitimate interest applies. 
UK GDPR Article 6(1)(f) Legitimate interest  

In determining if this lawful basis can be engaged, we considered the purpose, necessity, and a balancing test.  
UKRI recognises that there is a need for transparency around decisions made during the pandemic around which 
treatments were considered and recommended by UK-CTAP for national publicly funded trials. It acknowledges 
that this also extends to Expert Sub-Group Members who provided their expert opinion to a designated CTAP 
Panel member who presented discussions relating to specific compounds at Panel meetings. It also acknowledges 
that there is also a legitimate interest in receiving assurances that conflicts of interest were appropriately managed 
during Panel discussion.  
The Internal Review considered whether there was another way to meet these legitimate interests, that interferes 
less with the privacy of Sub-Group members. We found that the legitimate interest surrounding conflicts of interest 
may be satisfied by explaining the due-diligence process that was created to mitigate bias and how conflicts were 
handled during panel meetings. An explanation addressing these issues and providing context to the work of the 
Panel and Sub-Groups is provided below. 
UK-CTAP acknowledged the risk of conscious and unconscious bias which may be brought about by scientific 
interest or familiarity. To mitigate this risk the UKRI based secretariat supported UK-CTAP in developing a three-
tiered due diligence system. The first tier comprised a due diligence team of MRC staff and seconded individuals, 
who established the current knowledge base of proposed compounds in relation to COVID-19. This team included 
specialisms ranging from PK/PD model ing, and clinical pharmacology to governance and project management. 
The second tier involved the Expert Sub-Groups, these were convened by UK-CTAP members, who chaired the 
subgroups, to support in the consideration of a given mechanism of action. These sub-groups included experts 
relevant to the mechanisms of action which the sub-group considered. The third tier was the ful  UK-Covid 
Therapeutics Advisory Panel, the ultimate decision-making panel. This Panel considered briefs from the first tier 
teams and the advice of the second tier sub-groups to form a view on an optimised portfolio of high potential 
candidates compounds for trial. These recommendations were then submit ed to CMO for approval or rejection. 
During UK-CTAP panel meetings members were asked to declare any conflicts of interest relation to specific 
compounds proposed. Where a conflict was identified the relevant member was recused for any decision 
regarding the relevant compound. UK-CTAP members who were identified as having a conflict of interest were 
recorded during panel meetings. 
At the time of issuing this response, the UK COVID-19 Therapeutics Advisory Panel: records of decisions2 
between 2 November 2020 to 23 March 2021 have been published. Publication of further records of decisions are 
planned and as such fal  under Section 22 – Information intended for future publication of the FOIA. Section 22 is a 
qualified exemption meaning that we need to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption 
outweighs that in disclosing the information ahead of publication. As some decisions have been published and the 
remaining decisions are planned to be published by the end of July, we believe that the public interest is weighed 
in favour of maintaining the exemption. We would advise that you check the page at regular intervals. 
As no alternative methods have been identified for satisfying the remaining legitimate interest of who provided 
expert opinion to the Panel, the Internal Review went on to consider the balancing test, and whether the identified 
legitimate interest outweighed the interests and rights of the members. Several factors identified in the ICO 
guidance were considered. In this response, we would like to focus on two: the reasonable expectations of 
members and the circumstances in which the personal data was obtained, these enable us to address your query 
UK Research and Innovation, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FL 

•  What prevents UKRI from publishing a full membership list for Expert Sub-Groups, when we have been 
able to publish the names of Chairs? 
•  Why have UKRI been able to publish a ful  membership list for UK-CTAP? 
We also note that you queried why membership of the Therapeutics Panel has been published. UKRI was not 
involved in the governance of this group, therefore, we are unable to advise what the expectations were of 
members, or the circumstances in which their personal data was collected and why their details have been 
Expectations between members of UK-CTAP and Expert Sub-Groups differ. UK-CTAP consisted of established 
scientists and academics, who as Panel members reviewed the evidence and made recommendations to the 
Principal Investigators of each trial and the Chief Medical Of icer for England (CMO England) and Chief Scientific 
Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that they 
would have anticipated a greater level of scrutiny around their involvement.  
In contrast, membership of Expert Sub-Groups varied and included some early career scientists, who were not 
involved in Panel meetings. While they provided advice to a designated full CTAP member, they were not involved 
in making recommendations to the CMO England or Chief Scientific Adviser for DHSC. Therefore, it is reasonable 
to assume that Expert Sub-Group Members would have anticipated a greater level of privacy around their role. 
The circumstances in which the personal data was collected supports this. UK-CTAP and Expert Sub-Groups were 
provided with Terms of Reference. These terms advised UK-CTAP members that membership details would be 
published. No equivalent expectation was outlined for members of the Expert Sub-Group.  
Balancing test and Internal review outcome 
We have considered the circumstances in which the data was collected, the reasonable expectations of Expert 
Sub-Group members, along with several other factors and have weighed these against the identified legitimate 
interest in disclosure. We believe that the balance is weighted in favour of non-disclosure as members would have 
a greater expectation of a right to privacy as they were not directly involved in decision-making and included 
researchers at dif erent career stages. Several other factors were considered, which we are unable to detail in this 
response as they are sensitive in nature, these also weighed in favour of non-disclosure. We are therefore, 
upholding our original decision to withhold the information under Section 40(2). 
If you have any queries regarding our response or you are unhappy with the outcome of your request and wish to 
seek an internal review of the decision, please contact:   
Head of Information Governance   
Email: or   
Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.   
If you are stil  not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply to refer the matter to the 
Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted 
the review procedure provided by UKRI. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: 
If you wish to raise a complaint regarding the service you have received or the conduct of any UKRI staff in 
relation to your request, please see UKRI’s complaints policy:
Yours sincerely,  
Information Governance 
Information Rights Team 
UK Research and Innovation | 
UK Research and Innovation, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FL