Care homes and the coronavirus

Jack Everett made this Freedom of Information request to Norfolk County Council as part of a batch sent to 336 authorities

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Dear Norfolk County Council,

I wish to make a Freedom of information request.

Please provide all emails about COVID-19 between this council and these care home providers:
- HC-One
- Four Seasons
- Barchester
- Bupa
- Care UK
- Renaissance

Please also provide all emails about COVID-19 between this council and all local authority-run care homes.

As a timeframe, please carry out a search between 1st February and 7th May.

Thank-you.

Jack Everett

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

5 Attachments

Good Morning,

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request ENQ-404861-P0P1M0

 

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 received on 07 May 2020.
 
We have 20 working days in which to deal with your request; however, the
current circumstances relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) may impact on our
ability to meet deadlines and so we may take longer to provide you with a
response.

 

If we require clarification regarding your request, we will contact you to
explain this. The 20 working day period will then start from the day that
we receive your clarification.
 
You will also be informed in advance if there is a charge for supplying
copies of the information.

 

Please also be aware that, if the requested information contains
references to any third parties, we may need to consult these individuals
about the release of their personal data before making a decision whether
or not to release the information to you.

 

We will also provide an explanation if any information is not released to
you.

 

Should you have any queries regarding your request, please contact the
team by email [1][email address] or by telephone
01603 222661.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sarah Cooper, Business Support Assistant

Information Compliance Team

Dept: 01603 222661

Bay 7-9, Ground Floor, County Hall, Norwich

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[6]Campaign Logo

 

 

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Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

Dear Jack Everett,

 

Please find below response to your enquiries.

 

Your request

 

Please provide all emails about COVID-19 between this council and these
care home providers:

- HC-One

- Four Seasons

- Barchester

- Bupa

- Care UK

- Renaissance

 

Please also provide all emails about COVID-19 between this council and all
local authority-run care homes.

 

As a timeframe, please carry out a search between 1st February and 7th
May.

 

Our response

 

Dealing initially with the second element of your request, I can advise
you that there are no “local-authority run care homes” in Norfolk, and
therefore no information held specifically in relation to that part of
your enquiry.

 

Notwithstanding the above I must advise that the remainder of your
request, regarding email communications with named home care providers, is
refused under section 12 of the Act, and that this response acts as a
Refusal Notice. This is because the cost of locating and retrieving
information exceeds the "appropriate limit" of £450 as stated in the
Freedom of Information & Data Protection (Appropriate Limit & Fees)
Regulations 2004.

 

Whilst such a request does facilitate an electronic search, for which the
logical ‘key-word’ search parameters would be ‘COVID-19’, ‘coronavirus’
and the above list of named providers, this approach will not reliably
identify all emails potentially in scope as there may well be relevant
emails which do not include these key words. For example, I am advised
that communications with provider organisations will be with named
individuals, and so searches based on provider company names will not be
reliable. In the circumstances it would be necessary to use the far
broader search parameters ‘Covid-19’  and ‘coronavirus’, without cross
referencing with company names, in order to ensure that everything of
potential relevance is identified; however, this would yield a far greater
volume of emails than those relating only to the listed providers.

 

It would then be necessary to manually review each and every email which
may be identified in order to ascertain whether it relates to one of the
listed providers and, in cases where it does, to then confirm or discount
the relevance of the information contained in the email and its status in
terms of the appropriateness of disclosure into the public domain. I am
advised that much of the information is likely to relate to the health and
circumstances of individuals who would have the very reasonable
expectation of confidentiality and protection of their personal data.  

 

In its current format your request would also span a number of teams and
services within the council’s Adult Social Services department, and
possibly beyond that one department, and so, when looking at the potential
task as outlined above, the council does have to consider the burden that
this request will place on council officers, especially taking into
account the relative lack of focus in terms of the stated subject matter,
which arguably presents as somewhat of a speculative ‘trawl’ to see what
may come up which may be of interest.

 

You may wish to refine and resubmit your request so that it reduces the
cost of locating and retrieving the information to within the "appropriate
limit".  For example, are there any specific covid-19-related issues,
concerns or factors relating to these care home providers for which you
are seeking information which the council may hold, so that we can explore
whether information could be identified, reviewed and provided using a
different approach?

 

You may find the following link useful as it includes published details of
letters we have sent out to care providers in the adult social care sector
to keep them up-to-date with the latest guidance during the coronavirus
outbreak. :
 [1]https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/business/supp...

 

If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request you have the
right of appeal through the Council’s internal review procedure by setting
out the grounds of your appeal in writing to:

 

[2][email address]

or Information Compliance Team

County Hall

Martineau Lane

Norwich

NR1 2DH

 

An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and should be identified as "FOI Appeal".

 

If you are dissatisfied after pursuing the complaints procedure, you may
apply to the Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a
decision whether your request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO
Website at: [3]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a
concern.  Or you can write to them at:

 

First Contact Team

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane, Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Andy Swan

Acting Information Compliance Manager (Freedom of Information)

Information Compliance Team

Intelligence & Analytics, Strategy & Governance

Tel: 01603 222661

County Hall

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