Doctors and Police Pensions

Jason Bailey made this Freedom of Information request to Essex Police

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Essex Police.

Dear Essex Police,

I would be grateful if you will answer my questions, below, concerning doctors used by your force:

In respect of any actions undertaken by them concerning the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006, I wish to know -

The full names and GMC registration numbers of all doctors who have acted in any capacity identified above for your force from 1st January 2010 to the present time.

Of these, please identify which doctor or doctors are currently engaged by your force as Force Medical Advisor (or in a role which is entitled differently but which fulfils similar functions) and which doctor or doctors are currently engaged by your force in the role of selected medical practitioner (SMP) and which doctor or doctors are no longer engaged by the force.

If data protection issues are considered, I suggest you could ask the doctors whether they agree to release of their names and GMC numbers.

Should you need to seek clarification of this request, then it would be much appreciated if you ask promptly so I can assist you without delay.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,

Jason Bailey

Data FOI Essex, Essex Police

1 Attachment

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference.

Under the Freedom of Information Act we are required to reply within 20
working days.  The Act does not specify a limit to the number of
information requests a public authority may receive or the number of
requests or questions an applicant may submit.  However, there are
exemptions in the Act that can apply and these include where the cost of
complying with the request would extend beyond the reasonable cost limit,
(currently 18 hours or £450), or if the request is otherwise manifestly
unreasonable in its scope or nature.  Requests that ask a great many
questions, or a number of detailed requests submitted at the same time,
may make it necessary for Essex Police to refuse the requests wholly or in
part.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for
providing oversight and guidance for the legislation and they have
produced advice for applicants on submitting effective requests.  Further
information can be found on the Commissioner’s website at
[1]www.ico.gov.uk specific information relating to submitting a request
can be found at:
[2]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

While we process your request, please take the time to consider the ICO’s
advice and whether you feel it may be beneficial to amend or refine your
request. Our team is happy to discuss your request with you and will be
able to provide advice as to what kind of information will be available
from Essex Police.

 

 

Steve Grayton

Senior Information Officer

Data Protection & Freedom of Information

Information Management

Corporate Services

Essex Police Headquarters

PO Box 2, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM2 6DA

 

Internal extension 150044

External Dial 101 then ext.150044

Data Protection / FOI Team direct dial: 01245 452647

Fax: 01245 452256 Internal 150045

Email : data[Essex Police request email]

Personal email: [email address]

Website: www.essex.police.uk

 

Office hours: Mon-Thur 8:00 - 16:00, Fri 8:00 - 15:30

 

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your FOI request, you have
the right to ask for an internal review.

 

Internal review requests should be submitted within 20 working days of the
date of receipt of the response to your original request and should be
addressed to the Senior Information Officer at the above address or by
email to: [3]data[Essex Police request email]

 

They will conduct an internal review to investigate the handling of your
request and endeavour to reply within 20 working days. If your complaint
refers to a decision to apply an exemption it would assist the review if
you would outline the reasons why you feel the exemption does not apply.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [4]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

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Data FOI Essex, Essex Police

1 Attachment

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference. Having completed my enquiries I am able to respond as follows:

Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) places two duties
on public authorities. Unless exemptions apply, the first duty at
Sec1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information specified in a
request is held. The second duty at Sec1(1)(b) is to disclose information
that has been confirmed as being held. Where exemptions are relied upon
s17 of FOIA requires that we provide the applicant with a notice which: a)
states that fact b) specifies the exemption(s) in question and c) states
(if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

In respect of your enquiry:

I would be grateful if you will answer my questions, below, concerning
doctors used by your force:

 

In respect of any actions undertaken by them concerning the Police
Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations
2006, I wish to know -

 

The full names and GMC registration numbers of all doctors who have acted
in any capacity identified above for your force from 1^st January 2010 to
the present time.

 

Of these, please identify which doctor or doctors are currently engaged by
your force as Force Medical Advisor (or in a role which is entitled
differently but which fulfils similar functions) and

which doctor or doctors are currently engaged by your force in the role of
selected medical practitioner (SMP) and which doctor or doctors are no
longer engaged by the force.

 

If data protection issues are considered, I suggest you could ask the
doctors whether they agree to release of their names and GMC numbers.

 

Should you need to seek clarification of this request, then it would be
much appreciated if you ask promptly so I can assist you without delay.

 

Essex Police does not hold all the information relating to your request.
We do not hold all the GMC numbers.

In accordance with section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA), this response serves as a formal notification of refusal of your
request on the grounds that the exemption given at sections40 (2) &
43(3)(a)(1) (Third Party Personal Data) apply.

40 Personal information

(1) Any information to which a request for information relates is exempt
information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the
data subject.

(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also
exempt information if—

(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1),
and

(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

(3) The first condition is—

(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of “data” in section 1(1) of the [1998 c. 29.] Data
Protection Act 1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of
the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene—

(i) any of the data protection principles, or

(ii) section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause
damage or distress), and

(b) in any other case, that the disclosure of the information to a member
of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene any of the
data protection principles if the exemptions in section 33A(1) of the
[1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act 1998 (which relate to manual data held
by public authorities) were disregarded.

(4) The second condition is that by virtue of any provision of Part IV of
the [1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act 1998 the information is exempt from
section 7(1)(c) of that Act (data subject’s right of access to personal
data).

(5) The duty to confirm or deny—

(a) does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held
by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of
subsection (1), and

(b) does not arise in relation to other information if or to the extent
that either—

(i) the giving to a member of the public of the confirmation or denial
that would have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a) would (apart
from this Act) contravene any of the data protection principles or section
10 of the [1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act 1998 or would do so if the
exemptions in section 33A(1) of that Act were disregarded, or

(ii) by virtue of any provision of Part IV of the [1998 c. 29.] Data
Protection Act 1998 the information is exempt from section 7(1)(a) of that
Act (data subject’s right to be informed whether personal data being
processed).

(6) In determining for the purposes of this section whether anything done
before 24th October 2007 would contravene any of the data protection
principles, the exemptions in Part III of Schedule 8 to the [1998 c. 29.]
Data Protection Act 1998 shall be disregarded.

(7) In this section— “the data protection principles” means the principles
set out in Part I of Schedule 1 to the [1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act
1998, as read subject to Part II of that Schedule and section 27(1) of
that Act; “data subject” has the same meaning as in section 1(1) of that
Act; “personal data” has the same meaning as in section 1(1) of that Act.

To clarify, to provide information which constitutes an individual's
personal data (information that identified them as a living individual)
would be in contravention of that individual's rights under the Data
Protection Act 1998.

Disclosure of this information will breach principles 1 and 2 of the Data
Protection Act. These principles require personal data to be: 1) processed
(defined to include 'obtained') fairly and lawfully and 2) obtained only
for specified and lawful purposes and not processed incompatibly with the
specified purposes.

'Data subjects' are provided with certain legally enforceable rights under
the Data Protection Act 1998. The fact that the information is held for
lawful policing purposes, disclosing it onwards would breach the
principles, and would be incompatible with the data subject's right that
their data is held securely. By disclosing this information, the force
could be subject to enforcement proceedings under the Act if it breaches
any of those principles. For example, the 'fairness' of any disclosure of
personal data would be whether the disclosure would cause unnecessary or
unjustified distress or damage to the person whom the information is
about. 

I am sorry that we are unable to assist on this occasion.

 

 

Steve Grayton

Senior Information Officer
Data Protection & Freedom of Information
Information Management
Corporate Services
Essex Police Headquarters
PO Box 2, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM2 6DA

 

Internal extension 150044
External Dial 101 then ext.150044
Data Protection / FOI Team direct dial: 01245 452647
Fax: 01245 452256 Internal 150045
Email : [1]data[Essex Police request email]
Personal email: [2][email address]
Website: [3]www.essex.police.uk

Office hours: Mon-Thur 8:00 - 16:00, Fri 8:00 - 15:30

[4]http://web/departments/mediaandpr/pr/Cre...

 

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your FOI request, you have
the right to ask for an internal review.

 

Internal review requests should be submitted within 20 working days of the
date of receipt of the response to your original request and should be
addressed to the Senior Information Officer at the above address or by
email to: [5]data[Essex Police request email]

 

They will conduct an internal review to investigate the handling of your
request and endeavour to reply within 20 working days. If your complaint
refers to a decision to apply an exemption it would assist the review if
you would outline the reasons why you feel the exemption does not apply.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [6]https://ico.org.uk/

 

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Dear Essex Police,

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

Please accept this as formal notice of my request for an internal review of Essex Police's handling of my FOI request 'Doctors and Police Pensions'.

Tomorrow I will provide my full reasons concerning why I believe the decision to refuse to provide the information I requested should be revised.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

Jason Bailey

Dear Data FOI Essex,

Further to my email of yesterday's date.

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

Thank you for your response to my request for information.

I have requested an internal review of Essex Police's handling of my FOI request 'Doctors and Police Pensions'.

You have refused to supply the information, and have relied on the exemption under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act.

I do not believe that Section 40-(2) has been lawfully applied.

I have to assume that you do hold the names I requested, and I am satisfied that Essex Police is the data holder under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. I ask that you note that data held on behalf of a public organisation by a third party does not mean that the public organisation ceases to be the data holder. The Information Commissioner's Office has ruled on this.

I ask you to note that I am not asking for sensitive personal details - merely names of certain doctors. I am sure that you appreciate the difference between sensitive personal information and the entirely non-sensitive nature of a person's name.

I also ask you to note that doctors act in a regulatory role, which is a public office, when they make any decisions required of them by the various Regulations governing police pensions and police injury awards. Moreover, they do this on behalf of the police pension authority, which is a public office. Essex Police is itself a public body.

I argue that any doctor who takes on such roles as I have identified are, in principle, serving the public, and are doing so through a public organisation.

The public have an expectation that police officers who suffer illness or injury in the execution of their duties will be treated fairly and in accordance with the various Regulations mentioned above. It is in the public interest to know the names of any doctors who are charged with making vital decisions concerning police officers and former police officer relating to their health and efficiency, and decisions relating to the rights of police officers and former police officers. In order for there to be full transparency and accountability, the names of any doctors involved in Regulatory tasks should be disclosed.

The doctors I ask that you identify are not high public officials dealing with State secrets, sensitive police business, or operational police matters such as criminal investigations. There are no sensitive commercial interests which need to be protected by refusal to release these doctor's names.

I do not believe it is possible, or indeed that it would be appropriate, to argue that any adverse consequences could arise in respect of individual doctors whose names were to be released.

I argue there is a greater expectation that information identifying an individual performing a Regulatory role should be disclosed than if the person was engaged in entirely private life activities. The tasks the doctors perform for Essex Police are not administrative in nature. They centre on making important medical decisions affecting the lives of serving and former officers and their families. I believe there is no value in any argument that these doctors will have a reasonable expectation that their names would not be disclosed. Nor is there any merit in any individual's preference that his or her name not be released.

I believe that the names I requested are already firmly in the general domain, and can already be accessed in a variety of ways by any member of the public. For example, the names of all registered doctors are readily available on a list published on the web site of the GMC. Their names also appear in freely available sources which record the details of directorships held, companies owned, etc. and I am sure it will not have escaped you that it is usual for all doctors to put their names and qualifications on prominent public display at their places of practice. Doctors also post their details publicly on social media and on Linkedin. Copies of professional papers presented by doctors are also easily accessible on the Internet. The names of some doctors who have worked in the roles I indicated have also been freely published in the agendas and minutes of meetings of the National Attendance Management Forum, and have either appeared in a list of SMPs published by that body or their names could readily be discoverable through other information in that list.

The names of doctors performing in the roles I identified, for various forces, regularly appear in reports of appeals to Police Medical Appeal Boards, and in published determinations by the Pensions Ombudsman.

The names of doctors who have performed the roles for Essex Police which I indicated will be known not only to members of staff of Essex Police, but also every officer and former officer who has had any contact with them, and by extension the doctor's names will be known to members of the families of officers and former officers, and to their friends. Similarly, every person outside the police service who has been treated or assessed by these doctors will know their names. The doctors who work or who have worked for Essex Police may well also work for other police forces and organisations, so the number of members of the public who have ready access to their names is likely to be considerable.

I cannot believe that any doctor would have rational grounds to harbour the slightest reservation about their name being released. The medical profession is, by nature, a very public profession. Medical staff in hospitals and clinics throughout the land wear name tags and make no attempt to keep their names from the general public. To do so would inevitably create an atmosphere of secrecy and mistrust.

I would also remind you that the profession of doctor demands high ethical standards which include the need for openness and transparency. It just does not make any sense whatever not to release the name of a doctor who is, or has been, engaged in work which is of considerable public interest. Every serving and retired officer in England and Wales, their families and friends should know the names of the doctors who have played, or may play, a vital role in matters affecting their pensions.

In short, there is nothing private in a doctor's name. Your refusal to release the names of doctors who will have so openly released their names in so many ways throughout their careers flies in the face of reason.

The names of the doctors which I requested are already very firmly in the public domain and thus there is no merit whatever in your application of the exemption which you have relied upon to refuse releasing the information.

It appears that your objection to release the information is based on nothing more than a reluctance to openly reveal the names of doctors who have performed in the roles indicated, merely because they have done so for a police force.

To conclude. I argue that Essex Police is mistaken in its refusal to provide the information requested. I trust that an internal review will result in the information being released as requested. To assist this outcome I am happy to remove the request for the GMC registration numbers, as I appreciate that Essex Police may not hold that information.

Should an internal review fail to produce a decision to release the information requested, then I reserve my right to appeal the decision to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Jason Bailey

Data FOI Essex,

1 Attachment

I am in receipt of your request for an Internal Review. 

 

As advised in our reply if you are not content with the outcome of the
internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information
Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF or via [1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/

 

As you will be aware the Information Commissioner's guidance for internal
reviews held under section 50 of the Act is that they should be completed
within twenty working days of receipt of the complaint, unless exceptional
circumstances arise in which case the authority may extend the deadline by
a further twenty days, this gives a deadline of the 19^th February..

 

We will write again by that date.

 

 

Steve Grayton

Information Officer (Mon – Tues)

Senior Information Officer (Wed – Fri)

Data Protection & Freedom of Information

Information Management

Corporate Services

Essex Police Headquarters

PO Box 2, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM2 6DA

 

Internal extension 150044

External Dial 101 then ext.150044

Data Protection / FOI Team direct dial: 01245 452647

Fax: 01245 452256 Internal 150045

Email : data[Essex Police request email]

Personal email: [email address]

Website: www.essex.police.uk

 

Office hours: Mon-Thur 8:00 - 16:00, Fri 8:00 - 15:30

 

 

 

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Dear Data FOI Essex,

For attention of Steve Grayton

I requested an internal review of your decision in respect of my freedom of information request.

You acknowledged, and stated that you would provide the result of the internal review by the 19th February.

You have not produced a result.

Please therefore produce the result of the internal review within five working days, that is by the 13th April or, regretably, I shall draw your failure to comply with the Act to the attention of the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Jason Bailey

Data FOI Essex,

1 Attachment

Mr Bailey

 

I would like to start with an apology – your request for an Internal
Review had been passed to my Line Manager to undertake as I did the
response to you, but he is out of the office at short notice and has been
for some time without a known return date. Unfortunately your request was
not picked out of his outstanding work for which I apologise on behalf of
Essex Police.

 

With regard to your request for an Internal Review I have in his absence
retrieved the paperwork and undertaken a second review myself. I accept
that the process should generally be undertaken by an independent reviewer
but given the timescale in your latest email, and the already long delay
in reply, we do not have another FOI trained member of staff available to
undertake this review. The team works on 2.0 FTE staff and currently I am
the only one in the office.

 

The FOIA seeks to promote openness, transparency and accountability but
permits non-disclosure of information in accordance with the exemptions
provided by the Act. One of those is s.40 relating to personal data and
operates in conjunction with the DPA. Section 40(3)(a)(i) provides that
personal data are exempt where disclosure to a member of the public
otherwise than under the FOIA would contravene any of the data protection
principles. The first data protection principle at Schedule 1 to the DPA
prohibits the processing of personal data unless at least one of the
conditions at Schedule 2 is met.

 

The only conditions in Schedule 2 which are relevant are the first
(consent of the data subject) and the sixth which provides:

 

“The processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests
pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom
the data are disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted in any
particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or
legitimate interests of the data subject.”

 

This condition is only met in the context of the FOIA where disclosure is
necessary for legitimate interests pursued by the public as balanced
against those of the data subject. In this case, it is not clear how the
public interest is served by naming all the doctors used by Essex Police
for the purposes specified in your request. Whilst I accept that the FMO’s
details will be known to those they have come into contact within the
Force environment it is not accepted that those doctors cannot reasonably
have a legitimate expectation of privacy.

 

In your original request, you suggested data protection concerns could be
overcome by seeking the doctors’ consent to disclosure of their names. I
have not received the consent of the Force Medical Officer to agree to the
release of their personal details, and in the absence of either consent or
necessity to disclose to serve the public interest it follows that
disclosure would contravene the first data protection principle and that
the exemption cited was applied correctly.

 

Conclusion

 

I am satisfied that your application was handled in accordance with the
FOIA as to both procedure and substance. I acknowledge you will be
disappointed by this review and remind you of your right under s.50 to
appeal to the Information Commissioner whose address is as follows.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire, SK9 5AF

 

or via [1]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

Steve Grayton

Information Officer (Mon – Tues)

Senior Information Officer (Wed – Fri)

Data Protection & Freedom of Information

Information Management

Corporate Services

Essex Police Headquarters

PO Box 2, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM2 6DA

 

Internal extension 150044

External Dial 101 then ext.150044

Data Protection / FOI Team direct dial: 01245 452647

Fax: 01245 452256 Internal 150045

Email : [2]data[Essex Police request email]

Personal email: [3][email address]

Website: [4]www.essex.police.uk

 

Office hours: Mon-Thur 8:00 - 16:00, Fri 8:00 - 15:30

 

 

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