Communications with MHRA/CHM regarding Valneva COVID-19 vaccine

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Health and Social Care of their handling of this request.

Kenneth MacArthur

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Please could you provide a copy of all communications to date between, on the one hand, ministers and senior civil servants in the Department of Health and Social Care (or their offices), and, on the other hand, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and/or the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) regarding the Valneva COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Yours faithfully,

Kenneth MacArthur

Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Mr MacArthur,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your recent FOI request (our ref: FOI-1370154).

Yours sincerely, 

Raymond Cheung
Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

show quoted sections

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

In your response to my request, you have stated:
"... to provide the information as it is currently framed would exceed the appropriate cost limit set out in the FOIA."

However, you have not explained how you reached the conclusion that providing the information I requested would exceed the appropriate cost limit.

As the ICO make clear in paragraph 38 of their guidance document "Requests where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit" (
"It is not a statutory requirement to explain how the estimate has been calculated but it is beneficial to a public authority to do so for the following reasons:
- to enable the requestor to assess the reasonableness of the estimate. This may help to prevent a complaint to the ICO which will avoid further time and costs being expended on the same request;
- if a complaint is made to the Information Commissioner, then he will expect the level of detail, as set out above, to be provided. This may require the public authority to incur further costs in providing this detail. This task may also be complicated by changes in circumstances between the time of the request and the time of the ICO investigation;
- in any event, providing a suitable breakdown is likely to be required as part of a public authority’s statutory obligations under section 16 to provide advice and assistance (for more detail see the relevant content below)."

Bearing the above in mind, could you please now provide me with an explanation of how your estimate was calculated, or of how you otherwise reached the conclusion that the appropriate cost limit would be exceeded, paying particular attention when so doing to the points listed in paragraph 37 of the above-mentioned ICO guidance document.

Yours faithfully,

Kenneth MacArthur