Christopher Whitmey

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,
The Daily Mail Online published “What they DON’T tell you about COVID“on 20 November 2020. Please may I have details and/or copies of all communications concerning the article between the Department, or any other part of the government, and the publishers and/or any other parties?
Yours faithfully,

Christopher Whitmey

Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health and Social Care

11 Attachments

Dear Mr Whitmey,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your recent FOI request (our ref:FOI-1281591).

Yours sincerely, 

Hazel Percy
Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

show quoted sections

Christopher Whitmey

Dear Ms Percy,
Freedom of Information Request Reference FOI-1281591
Thank you for your detailed reply and especially the discretionary information.
You'll recall that my question asked for, "... copies of *<all communications concerning the article>* between the Department, or any other part of the government, and the publishers and/or any other parties?" *<...>* emphasis added.
The Mail Online had a further posting [By David Churchill For The Daily Mail Published: 00:47, 23 November 2020 | Updated: 11:55, 24 November 2020 ] which states:
"Failing to provide any detailed rebuttal, the [DHSC] post said: ‘This article is misleading. This is a global pandemic – national restrictions have been introduced to keep people safe and save lives.’ But the [DHSC] tweet was deleted yesterday afternoon".
Were there not further "communications concerning the article between the Department, or any other part of the government..." that led to the deletion of the tweet?
If 'Yes' please may I have copies as they must have arisen over concern about the article.
Yours faithfully,

Christopher Whitmey

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care. 

We are currently experiencing high volumes of enquiries and we are
focusing our resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

The answers to many questions, including the latest information on
COVID-19, can be found on [1]GOV.UK, the [2]Department of Health and
Social Care website or by visiting the [3]NHS website. We may not respond
to you if the answer to your enquiry can be found on either of these
websites. Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send a response within
18 working days, or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of
Information request or complaint.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please
visit [4]111.nhs.uk or telephone your GP surgery immediately for further
advice. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital directly.

If you are a business interested in helping the government increase
COVID-19 testing capacity, please visit this [5]Government website. Please
note that the service to offer other COVID-19 support from your business
has closed.

If you are clinician looking to support the NHS, please visit the NHS
Professionals websitehttps://www.nhsprofessionals.nhs.uk/ for further
information. 

If you are a clinician who has retired within the last 6 years and would
like more information on how to apply for the temporary register, please
visit the NHS England
websitehttp://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/re....

If you want to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
please visit this
website[6]https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavi... for
more information. 

The Department of Health and Social Care does not process complaints about
the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [7]Complaints Procedure page on GOV.UK.

You can find out more about the Department’s commitments from our Personal
Information
Charterhttps://www.gov.uk/government/organisati....

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. https://www.nhs.uk/
4. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
5. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-the-gov...
6. https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavi...
7. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Department of Health and Social Care

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whitmey,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your recent FOI request (our ref:FOI-1288043).

Yours sincerely, 

Hazel Percy
Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

show quoted sections

Christopher Whitmey

Dear Ms Percy,
Freedom of Information Request Reference FOI-1288043
Thank you for your comprehensive reply.
The question is now closed.
Yours faithfully,

Christopher Whitmey

Christopher Whitmey left an annotation ()

The DHSS last reply is worth reading. The dept took swift action to counter the Daily Mail article.

Myfanwy Nixon left an annotation ()

Thanks for making this interesting request, which we've blogged about at https://www.mysociety.org/2021/02/08/two....

Christopher Whitmey left an annotation ()

This FOIA was prompted after reading HackedOff's 'The Daily Mail’s Coronavirus coverage contained serious distortions. The Government’s failure to criticise it is pathetic and dangerous' https://hackinginquiry.org/mail-coronavi... which led me to the MailOnline's 'Department of Health in climbdown after online swipe at The Mail's analysis of Covid-19 facts and figures' https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article...
Here I read,
"But the tweet was deleted yesterday afternoon amid a growing backlash among MPs and academics who lined up to back the Mail. They hailed our analysis of the facts and accused officials of trying to stifle free speech. After the tweet was removed, the department failed to identify a single error in the figures and data."
So I thought I'd use FOIA to find out what happened at DHSC. It is clear that a second tweet was approved but apparently not sent and it appears the Daily Mail got away with it - what a pity.

Myfanwy Nixon left an annotation ()

That's really interesting; thanks for the further background. I'll link to your annotation from our blog post.

Christopher Whitmey left an annotation ()

This FOI question features as the second FOI request in the Byline Times article by Sam Bright on 07 April 2021 '‘Relationship Management’ Daily Mail Pressured Government to Delete Tweet Criticising ‘Misleading’ COVID Article' https://bylinetimes.com/2021/04/07/relat...