Contract and Risk Assessment for Release of HES data to PA Consulting

Ian Batten made this Freedom of Information request to NHS Digital

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Health and Social Care Information Centre,

It is credibly claimed

that PA Consulting were given the complete Hospital Episode Statistics dataset on 27 DVDs (probably of the order of 100GBytes), which they then uploaded to Google BigQuery. PA Consulting then demonstrated this to third parties. It is also credibly claimed that HES data was combined with prescribing data for a similar period.

Please supply:

1. The contract between HSCIC or its predecessor body which governs this transfer of HES data;

2. Similarly for prescribing data;

3. The data dictionary which defines the content of the HES data transferred;

4. Similarly for prescribing data;

5. A description of the mechanism used to anonymise this data prior to transfer.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Batten

Enquiries CRM,


Ref: NIC-254016-H9N8Q




Dear Ian Batten,


I am writing to acknowledge that your request for information was received
by The Health and Social Care Information Centre  on 03/03/2014 and is
currently being considered. 


If The HSCIC is able to provide you with the information you have
requested, then under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act you are
entitled to receive it promptly and in any event no later than the 20th
working day following the date of receipt. However, we may need to contact
you to clarify your request, if this is required we aim to do this
promptly but no later than 7 days after receiving your initial request for


May I take this opportunity to explain the FOI Act in more detail. The Act
provides a 'General right of access to information held by public
authorities. However, it also defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent the release of some or all of the information you have requested.
Therefore, the HSCIC will assess your information request in light of any
relevant exemptions.


If exemptions do apply, then the HSCIC may decide not to release all, or
part, of the information you have requested. I shall inform you if this is
the case, and advise you of your rights of appeal.


If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken as to whether to
release the information to you.


The response to your request will be sent to you by email, however if you
require your response in any other format, please contact me to discuss a
suitable format.


The HSCIC will not normally charge a fee to provide you with the
information you have requested, unless the cost of dealing with your
request is more than £450 as outlined in Section 12 of the FOI Act and
Section 3 of the The FOI and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees)
Regulations 2004. If it appears likely that your request will cost more,
then the HSCIC is able to refuse to supply the information.  As per our
obligations under Section 16 of the FOI Act, every effort will be made to
provide you with details of how you may be able to reframe your request in
order for us to complete the required work within the (£450 / 18 person
hours) cost limit.


If you have any queries or should you wish to make a compliant about the
manner in which your request is being processed then please do not
hesitate to contact me at the above address in the first instance. Any
complaints will be investigated in accordance with the HSCIC complaints


Further information about your rights under the Freedom of Information
Act, is available from the Information Commissioner's Office, Wilmslow,
Cheshire and on the HSCIC's website.


Kind Regards,

Contact Centre Team
Health and Social Care Information Centre
Vantage House
40 Aire Street

0845 300 6016
Email: [1][HSCIC request email]

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3 Attachments

Ref: NIC-254016-H9N8Q


Dear Mr Batten,


In response to your recent FOI request please find enclosed our response
letter and relevant documentation.


Kind regards,



James Smith

Higher Information Governance Officer

The Health and Social Care Information Centre

1st Floor West, 1 Trevelyan Square,

Boar Lane, Leeds



Tel:  0113 8665524


Please note – my working days are Monday to Thursday


IG Drop In Session every Friday 2-3pm 1st Floor West, for all your IG


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