Fitness to practise panel: Cosgrove / Christopher Brightmore

William Thackeray made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

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.

William Thackeray

Dear Sir or Madam,

a)

Please provide the minutes of Fitness to Practise Panel case of Partick Vernon Finn Cosgrove (reg no. 1278712), held in June/July 2006.

b)

Please provide details of any other cases in which Mr Christopher Brightmore served on the panel.

c)

Please provide copies of internal communications relating to Mr Brightmore in connection with Scientology organisations, over the past 5 years.

By 'Scientology organisations', I mean organisations which promote,
recruit members for, or raise money for, Church of Scientology
Religious Education College Incorporated (a US corporation which
has been denied charitable status in the UK).

To the best of my knowledge a list of such organisations would
include:

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom) Ltd / Citizens
Commission on Human Rights International / Jive Aces / Church of
Scientology Inc / Greenfields School / Greenfields Educational
Trust / Hubbard Foundation / ABLE / Applied Scholastics
International / Narconon / Criminon / The Way to Happiness
Foundation International / Church of Scientology Religious
Education College Inc / Office of Special Affairs (OSA) / Sea Org /
Youth for Human Rights International

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314), General Medical Council

2 Attachments

Our ref: IAT/F09/2058

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below. Your request has been considered in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

The Fitness to Practise Panel hearings regarding Dr Cosgrove took place
in 2004 and 2005. I have attached the minutes of these hearings.

I have listed below all other Professional Conduct Committee (which
preceded the Fitness to Practise Panel) hearings upon which Mr
Brightmore served as a panel member.

George Udenkwo 8 - 9 April 2002
Ghassan Baroudi 18 April 2002
George Kenneth Vanner 22 - 25 July 2002
Kanwal Krishan Bindal 12 August 2002
Joseph Victor Psaila 9 - 13 September 2002
Narmada Prasad Pandey 16 - 18 September 2002
Byron Wynn Davies 7 November 2002
Mrinmay Gupta 27 - 28 January 2003
Aman Bhargava and Steven Snooks 10 - 12 February 2003
Ashok Kakkar 31 March 2 April 2003
Mrudula Vinodchandra Shah 23- 27 June 2003
Lawrence Charles Alexander 30 June - 1 July 2003
Jane Veronica Gustafsson 21 July 2003
Ashutosh Jain 6 August 2003
Adil Mahmud Raji 8 August 2003
Kulenthiran Perinpanamagam 22 - 24 September 2003 & 18 - 20 November
2003

In addition to the above, Mr Brightmore served as a panel member on a
number of private hearings. I have listed the number of hearings below.

Assessment Referral Committee 2001 - 4 cases
Committee for Professional Performance 2001 - 1 case
2002 - 11 cases
2003 - 15 cases
Health Committee 2003 - 20 cases
2004 - 6 cases

We are unable to provide any details of these private hearings as we
consider this to be the personal information of the doctors concerned.
We therefore believe that the exemption contained at section 40(2) of
the FOIA applies (please see below explanation).

In relation to your final point, I can confirm that we do hold internal
correspondence relating to Mr Brightmore in connection with a
scientology organisation. However, we consider this internal
correspondence to be exempt from disclosure by virtue of the exemption
contained at section 40(2) of the FOIA.

Section 40(2) concerns information requested which relates to a third
party, and the disclosure of which would be in breach of the Principles
of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). In these instances we believe
that the disclosure of this type of information would breach the First
Principle of the DPA, which requires that the processing of personal
data is fair and lawful.

This exemption is absolute, which means that it is not subject to a
public interest test (in order to assess if the public interest is
greater served by disclosing the information than maintaining the
exemption).

You have the right of appeal against this decision. If you wish to
appeal please set out in writing your grounds, and send to Julian
Graves, Information Access Manager, at [email address]. You also have
the right of appeal to the Information Commissioner, the independent
regulator of the FOIA and DPA. If appropriate, Mr Graves will provide
the relevant contact details.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Hiley
Information Access Officer
Tel no: 0161 923 6314
Email: [email address]

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William Thackeray

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for your useful and informative response to my FOI request.

In respect of each of my queries:

1) Cosgrove hearing

Could you please also provide the transcript of this hearing?

2) Other hearings attended by Mr Brightmore

Many thanks.

3) Internal correspondence re Mr Brightmore / Scientology

Please specify the way in which the disclosure of this information would breach the First Principle of the DPA.

Mr Brightmore would have had a reasonable expectation at the time he joined the Committee (essentially a public role) that information which could cast doubt upon his suitability for that role, or his general integrity, would not necessarily be kept confidential by the GMC.

Mr Brightmore could not therefore be said to have been 'deceived or misled' in the acquisition of this information, if the GMC were to make it public.

(I refer to DPA Schedule 1, Part II 'Interpretation of the Principles in Part One', 'The First Principle', 1, (1)).

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below addressed to my colleague Elizabeth
Hiley. This has been passed to me as I am responsible for responding to
any comments, complaints or appeals in respect of FOIA requests.

I have arranged for you to be provided with a copy of a transcript of
the hearing as requested and you should be receiving that shortly from
our Adjudication section.

I will consider your comments about our application of the exemption at
S40(2) of FOIA in line with our comments and complaints procedure for
information requests. This sets a target response time of 15 working
days. I will endeavour to respond to you within this timeframe.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
5th Floor
St James's Buildings
79 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FQ

Tel. no: 0161 923 6351
Email: [email address]

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William Thackeray

Thank you Julian, I look forward to hearing from you.

Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314), General Medical Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Thackeray

I apologise for the delay in responding to the first point of your email
below. Please find attached the transcripts as requested.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Hiley

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Many thanks, Elizabeth. Awaiting your colleague Julian's response in respect of the exemption.

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Thackeray

I have now had the opportunity to consider the point you make regarding our application of the 'personal information' exemption as section 40(2) of Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

You ask us to specify the way in which disclosure of the information concerning Mr Brightmore would breach the First Principle of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

The First Principle requires that personal data shall be processed 'fairly and lawfully' and in order to legitimise the processing at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 of the DPA must be met. In the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 must also be met. We consider the only possible condition for processing as far as personal data is concerned in this case would be likely to be Schedule 2(6)(1) which states that 'processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests' and does not prejudice the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject.  However in this case we believe that this condition would not apply.

We do not agree with your contention that Mr Brightmore would have had a 'reasonable expectation' that information concerning him would be disclosed. All parties involved in the process would have had an expectation of confidentiality and privacy in terms of their involvement. We do not believe that the disclosure of information under these circumstances is necessary for the purposes of satisfying the legitimate interests of the general public and would be unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms of the panellist and any other individuals referred to within these data.

Given the subject matter it is likely that a Schedule 3 condition would also be required. Again we do believe that such a condition exists in this case.  

In conclusion we believe therefore that the information requested is exempt from the access provisions of FOIA through the exemption at section 40(2) leading to 40(3)(a)(i).

Should you remain dissatisfied with our response on this matter you do have a further right of complaint to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA. His contact details are as follows:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Tel. no: 0845 630 6060
Email: [email address]

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
5th Floor
St James's Buildings
79 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FQ
Tel. no: 0161 923 6351
E-Mail: [email address]

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William Thackeray

Dear Julian,

Thank you for your detailed response in respect of the DPA exemption.

Can the document or documents be redacted in order that the information your believe to be exempt not be released?

Thanks again for your help with this.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below.

Given the subject matter there would be, in our opinion, no method of redaction that would be sufficiently effective to avoid a breach of Principle 1.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Julian,

Thanks for your help with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Complaint made to ICO 30 March 2009:

Hi,

I asked the GMC to release internal documents relating to the case of a professional standards committee member who appears to have failed to declare a relevant interest, and appears to have then been dismissed from the committee.

GMC has refused to release these documents, citing DPA protection for the privacy of the committee member.

I have argued that DPA protection should not apply if the information relates to an individual's improper conduct in a public role.

(As of course I have not seen the documents, I do not know for certain that any impropriety has occured).

GMC has conducted internal review and has stuck with the original decision. They have also refused to release redacted versions of the documents (I am interested in the GMC's actions in response to these events, which do not seem to me covered by the DPA).

I believe the information should be released.

A full history of our correspondence can be found at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fi...

Yours Sincerely,

William Thackeray

PS I would like to emphasise that the GMC's FOI team have been most helpful and prompt with their responses, and to some extent are stuck 'between a rock and a hard place' in respect of FOI vs DPA.

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Further info sent to the ICO 21 May 2009:

Dear David,

Thank you for your email in response to my first FOIA complaint
against the GMC.

Here are my responses to each of your questions:

*Please inform me that you are content with the scope of the case
as outlined above.

Yes, I'm happy with the scope of the case as outlined in your email.

*Please provide me with any additional arguments (besides those in
your internal review request and complaint form) about why you feel
that section 40(2) should not apply in this instance.

It is already in the public domain that Mr Brightmore has links
with Scientology and was a Commissioner of 'Citizens Commission on
Human Rights (UK) Ltd', a Scientology organisation, as detailed in
the following documents:

1)

'DISCUSSION re perceived bias of Panel Member' on page 14 ('D1/12')
of the Cosgrove hearing transcripts for Monday, 19 January 2004:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/77...

2)

Page 153 ('D5/1') of the same transcript, in which the Chair says:

"Good morning. Before I ask the Legal Assessor to tender his advice
I would wish to report that following on from a letter which was
submitted to the Panel yesterday, D17, the question was raised as
to whether the Christopher Brightmore whose name featured in the
left hand side of that page was the same person who originally
started on this Panel on Monday of last week. As you recall, Mr
Brightmore stood down.

Last night I had a telephone call from Mr Brightmore and he
confirms that he is one and the same person who features on this
letter. He was a Commissioner of the Citizens Commission on Human
Rights, but he informs me that he resigned that position on 1
January 2001. This letter is dated 28 March 2001 and the
explanation that was given to me was that his name featured on that
document, because the Commission was using up old notepaper, but
that his name has been removed from it subsequently. It does not
alter the fact that he was a Commissioner on the Citizens
Commission on Human Rights. That piece of information was not known
to us last week when he stood down."

This paragraph also places into the public domain the information
that Mr Brightmore did not declare his conflict of interest (as a
former Commissioner of CCHR) at the start of the Cosgrove hearing.

It is also already in the public domain that the Cosgrove hearing
was the final hearing where Mr Brightmore sat on the GMC's Fitness
to Practise Panel, as shown in Elizabeth Hiley's response to me
dated 5th March 2009 at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fi...
i.e. that after the Cosgrove hearing he left the Panel.

*It would be helpful if you could inform me how you became aware
that Mr Christopher Brightmore may be connected to scientology.
This information may be useful when I am assessing arguments around
the data subject's expectations.

Mr Brightmore has spoken publicly in favour of Scientology
organisations on a number of occasions. For example:
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/020219a.htm

Mr Brightmore is pictured on the Scientology website, and listed as
a 'keynote speaker' at their opening ceremony for their new office
in Brussels:
http://www.scientology.org/humanrights/n...

Mr Brightmore is pictured and quoted praising Scientology in the
Scientology magazine, Freedom ('The Voice of the Church of
Scientology Since 1968'):
http://www.freedom.org.uk/mag/issuea19/p...
http://www.freedom-belgium.org/article/n...

Mr Brightmore 'officially [opened] the Crime and Fraud section of
CCHR's Exhibit on psychiatry' (CCHR is a Scientology organisation):
http://www.psychassault.org/cchr.html

Mr Brightmore is quoted in The Guardian praising Scientology:
http://www.rickross.com/reference/scient...

Mr Brightmore is quoted in a CCHR document, praising CCHR:
http://www.psychiatric-help.org/PSYCHIAT...

So, broadly speaking, Mr Brightmore's support of Scientology
organisations is pretty widely documented. A Google search of his
name combined with those of Scientology organisations shows 175
results:
http://tinyurl.com/pfs6b3

I hope this information is useful to you, please feel free to come
back to me with any further queries.

Thank you for your time and attention on this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

William Thackeray

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post about this request:

http://nhsexposedblog.blogspot.com/2009/...

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

The ICO have published their Decision Notice for this request:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/d...

"34. In considering how the factors balance, the Commissioner has come to the conclusion that the disclosure of the requested information would be unfair to the data subject. The central reason for this conclusion is that the legitimate expectations of the individual are that the information would not be provided and the overriding of these expectations cannot be justified in this case. As the release of the information would be unfair, the first data protection principle would be contravened and the information therefore engages the section 40(2) exemption.

35. As the Commissioner has found that disclosure would be unfair and therefore in breach of the first data protection principle there is no need to consider whether the release would also be unlawful, or if the processing of the personal data would meet one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the DPA.

36. The Commissioner therefore upholds the public authority’s application of section 40(2) by virtue of section 40(3)(a)(i) in relation to part (c) of the original request."

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

I've appealed to the Information Tribunal, on these grounds:

Grounds of Appeal (FS50241410)

30 July 2009

1. This document contains grounds of appeal to the Information Tribunal in respect of FOI case reference FS50241410. It should be read in conjunction with the documents 'fs_50241410 NoticeofAppealform.pdf' and 'fs_50241410 DecisionNotice.pdf'.

2. I wish to make it clear that, although I am appealing the ICO's decision in this case, I am fully satisfied with the professionalism and helpfulness of the staff at the ICO and in the GMC's FOI team, and wish to thank members of both organisations for their assistance on this issue.

3. I argue that the information should be released, for the following reasons:

4. Commissioner of the CCHR is a public role. This is demonstrated by the presence of Individual B’s name on the letterhead of the CCHR, and also by the public speaking engagements which B has undertaken on behalf of the CCHR (as detailed in my submission to the ICO dated 21 May 2009). The role is therefore not part of B’s private life, but rather part of his public life. The consequences of B choosing to undertake this role should therefore not be kept confidential under the DPA.

5. The Decision Notice (para 34) gives insufficient weight to the public interest.

6. Although the Decision Notice (para 33) correctly points out that there can be no suggestion that the hearing of Individual A being prejudiced in this case, it fails to consider the past hearings of other individuals for whom B was a panellist. It is strongly in the public interest for a panel which considers the professional conduct of others to be above even the suggestion of prejudice; therefore transparency in this case is strongly in the public interest.

7. The DN fails to consider the nature of CCHR, the organisation of which B was a Commissioner. CCHR’s slogans include: ‘There is no science to psychiatry only … Misappropriation / Pretended Authority / Betrayal / Graft / Abuse / Greed’.

This CCHR slogan is shown in Exhibit D16 of the hearing of individual A (Monday 19 Jan 2004). This document can be found at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/88...
or can be supplied by the GMC.

Further evidence on the nature and purpose of CCHR as an organisation is shown in the transcript of the hearing of individual A, from page D4/7 to page D4/10 (Monday 19 Jan 2004).

This document can be found at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/77...
or can be supplied by the GMC.

This evidence, including text from CCHR’s own website, shows that the primary purpose of CCHR as an organisation is to discredit psychiatry as an industry, and to discredit individual psychiatrists.

Given that individual B was a senior member of CCHR, and given that CCHR’s core beliefs on medical ethics are so diametrically opposed to those of the GMC (and those of modern Western medicine as a whole), the question of the suitability of individual B to sit on the GMC’s professional standards panel must inevitably arise. This reinforces the public interest argument.

8. In para 30, the DN acknowledges that any failure by a panellist to declare interests does imply improper conduct. The interests declared by individual B can be found in this document:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ft...
or can be supplied by the GMC (although the GMC is not able to confirm that the register of interests was not amended over time). This impacts on B’s expectations at the time when the information was supplied by him to the GMC; if improper conduct did take place, then B’s expectation at the time that the improper conduct took place would have been that if the improper conduct were discovered then it would not necessarily be kept confidential. The DN does not consider this.

9. Individual B remains employed in the public sector, as a university lecturer; the DN does not consider the public interest implications of refusing to release the information in the light of this.

10. Panellists on a professional conduct committee should be subject to a particularly high level of public scrutiny in respect of their probity, in that they are examining the probity of others. The DN does not consider this.

11. There is a public interest in examining the GMC processes which led to individual B, a Commissioner (or former Commissioner) of CCHR, being appointed as a panellist for a hearing in which the complainant was CCHR. The DN does not consider this.

12. There is also a wider public interest in examining the GMC panellist recruitment process which led to the appointment of individual B in spite of his public position within CCHR, given the wide variance between CCHR’s views on western medicine, and those of the GMC. The DN does not consider this.

13. The Foster Report into Scientology, exhibit D3 in the 2004 hearing of individual A, says at para 186, “186. At about the same time, the Scientologists attempted to take over the National Association for Mental Health, a U.K. body which is affiliated to the World Federation of Mental Health, by joining it in large numbers, with the object of voting a majority of Scientologists on to its Council. The Association responded by refusing to enrol any more members before the relevant annual general meeting, and expelling 302 members thought, or reasonably suspected, to be Scientologists, including the seven newly joined members who were being put forward for the Council. Eight of the Scientologists concerned retaliated by seeking an injunction to restrain the Association from holding its Annual General Meeting without them, and a declaration that the excluded members were still members. These applications were dismissed by the Chancery Division of the High Court on 25th March 1970.”

This document can be found at:
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Cowen/audit/f...
or can be supplied by the GMC.

Scientology’s history of attempting to take over existing health associations and bodies by injecting members into them should therefore be a consideration in weighing the public interest for the release of this information.

William Thackeray
30 July 2009

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Received from the Information Tribunal:

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your email below, attaching a notice of appeal in the above
case. These papers have been copied to the Information Commissioner's Office
in accordance with Rule 6 of The Information Tribunal (Enforcement Appeals)
Rules 2005. Further to the provisions of that Rule, I am obliged to draw to
your attention the power of the Tribunal to awards costs against you under
Rule 29 of the above Rules, of which I enclose a copy for your information.

Where possible the Tribunal will seek to deal with the appeal by way of
written submissions in order to expedite matters. In relation to this, I
would draw your attention to Rule 16 of the above rules, which states that:

(1) Subject to these Rules, the Tribunal may determine an appeal without
a hearing.
(2) Where a party makes a request for a hearing, the Tribunal shall
grant the request unless it is satisfied that the appeal can properly be
determined without a hearing.
(3) Where the Tribunal decides to refuse a request for a hearing, it
shall send written notice to the party making the request.
(4) A notice sent under paragraph (3) above shall specify the Tribunal's
reasons for refusing the request.
(5) The Tribunal may of its own motion and at any stage of an appeal,
direct a hearing.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to
contact the Tribunal.

Yours sincerely,

Preet Dhiraj
Information Tribunal
Arnhem House
0116 249 4322

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Reply from the IC to the Tribunal received, but the IC's solicitor claims I have a legal obligation not to publish it on the Internet. Here's my reply though:

Thank you, Clare. 1 email + 2 attachments received.

As I am not a lawyer, I do not understand why the Rule to which Ms Nicholson refers ("(6) It shall be a condition of the supply of any information or material provided under this rule that any recipient of that information or material may use it only for the purposes of the appeal.") would compel me to keep this correspondence confidential. It is my view that if I were to publish the details of this appeal on the Internet, that would not in itself constitute the act of using the information for another purpose. I also note that Ms Nicholson's interpretation seems to conflict with the general principles of FOI.

I ask the Tribunal to clarify whether I have a legal obligation, as Ms Nicholson seems to claim, not to publish correspondence or the Reply from the Information Commissioner on the Internet.

Yours Sincerely,

William.

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Update: The Tribunal has now issued Directions: "This Appeal is to be determined on the papers without an oral hearing in the week commencing 18 January 2010."

They overlooked my question about the ICO's contention that it is not legal to publish papers from the hearing here on WDTK, so I've reminded them, and hopefully they'll get back to me.

The Tribunal has also joined (joindered?) the GMC to the case.

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

The Tribunal has now replied re the issue whether it's allowed for me to publish documents relating to this hearing on the web. They say:

"Papers submitted to the Tribunal for the purposes of the Appeal cannot be
used for any other purpose, that is, cannot be disclosed over the internet.
These are legal documents created for a particular purpose and to treat them
otherwise could amount to a contempt of court."

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Information Tribunal ref EA/2009/0063.

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

The decision from the Lower Tribunal (formerly the Information Tribunal) has now been published:

http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

"the public authority failed to deal with the request for information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000; the disputed information does not fall within the exemption in section 40(2) and should have been disclosed"

"we find that condition 6 of Schedule 2 of the DPA is met, and we find that none of the general factors that might have rendered the processing unfair are present"

"The GMC must now disclose the disputed information within 35 calendar days"

They have 28 days to appeal this judgement to the Upper Tribunal.

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

Blog post discussing the Tribunal's decision:
http://www.foinews.co.uk/?p=1431

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Good lord, I seem to have won.

By the way Alex, just a minor correction to the info you posted on your blog, the relevant information does not concern the doctor whose case was being heard, it concerns one of the panel members (i.e. kind of a cross between a judge and a jury member) who was hearing the case.

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

Hi William - Thanks for the clarification, however it's not my blog, Matthew Davis is the author. He's a freelance journalist, with an interest in FOI issues, and he's not connected with WDTK.
http://www.foinews.co.uk/?page_id=2

As a volunteer for WDTK, we like to add annotations that link back to blog posts mentioning requests made via WhatDoTheyKnow.com. This can help give readers of the site additional (& often interesting) background context or consequences of a FOI request.

Kind regards
Alex

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Right you are, Alex. I'll mention it to Matthew.

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

The GMC have decided not to appeal the Information Tribunal decision, and have released the information directly to William Thackeray.

He has scanned in the file and has sent it to us at WhatDoTheyKnow.com for upload to the site:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/files/requ...

Regards
Alex - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

BMJ: 'GMC panellist was banned for not disclosing links with Scientologists'

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/3...

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Here's an OCR'd copy of the disputed information which was released by the GMC in response to the decision of the information tribunal.

The original file is at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/files/requ...

-----

MEMORANDUM To:
From:
cc:
Date:
Or Joan Trowel!
Graziefla Oragano
Paul Philip
Scott Geddes
25 March 2004
Concerns raised about Christopher Brightmore : Lay Panellist
Purpose of Memorandum
1. These papers are referred to you to consider what action, if any, should be
taken as a result of concerns raised about Mr Brightmore.
2. A copy of the procedure for dealing with concerns about panellist which was
agreed by the Fitness to Practise Committee and endorsed by the Council is at
flag 1.
Background
3. Mr Brightmore was empanelled to sit on the PCC panel to consider the case
of Or Cosgrove. The hearing began on Monday 19 January 2004.
4. In accordance with our usual procedures, Mr Brightmore and the other
panellists empanelled to consider the case were sent a copy of the agenda, including
the charge against Or Cosgrove about a week in advance of the hearing. A copy of
the agenda is at flag 2.
5. At the start of the hearing, the PCC agreed to a submission from Mr Morris,
Counsel for Or Cosgrove. to amend some of the heads of charge. These were
relatively minor amendments to correct the name of an individual and the date of an
appointment. The charge was then read.
6. Immediately following the reading of the charge. Mr Morris made an
application that the inquiry be stayed on the grounds that it would be an abuse of
process to allow the proceedings to continue. During the course of his submissions
it became clear that one of the heads of the charge related to information by the
Citizens' Commission on Human Rights whose headed notepaper Mr Morris quoted
from saying it "was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate
and expose psychiatric violations of human rights".
7 Following Mr Morris's submission, the panel Chairman - Professor MacKay -
asked the panel members whether they had any links with the Church of
Scientology. None of the panel indicated that they had. The Committee then
adjourned.
8. During the course of the adjournment. Mr Brightmore informed Professor
MacKay that he had, dUrIng the course of his work in the police, looked at some of
the work of the Church of Scienlology and spoken of it. favourably, at subsequent
meetings. Professor MacKay informed the legal assessor, who shared the
information with both Mr Morris and Counsel for the GMC, Mr Pearse. When the
Committee resumed in public Professor MacKay drew attention to the information he
had received but did not name Mr Brightmore, although, I understand that both
parties were aware from the information passed to them by the legal assessor who
the panellist concerned was.
9. Mr Morris made an application for the panellist concerned to stand down. The
panel considered the application in camera and Mr Brightmore agreed to recuse
himself.
10. An extract from the first 14 pages of the transcript of day 1 of the proceedings
is at nag 3. Pages 01/12 to 01/14 are of particular relevance as they cover the
period from Professor MacKay asking the panel members whether they had any
links with the Church of Scientology to the announcement that one of the panellists
had stood down.
11. The panel continued. without Mr Brightmore. to hear Mr Morris's application
regarding the abuse of process issue. On day four of the proceedings. Mr Morris
submitted two letters from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. They were
marked as exhibit 017 and copies are attached at flag 4. Mr Morris pointed out that
the various personnel who he said were "clearly part of the organisation of the
Citizens Commission on Human Rights" were listed on the left hand side of the
letters. He drew attention to the fact that one of those listed had the same name as
"somebody who was sitting on your Committee until he stood down from the
Committee on the first day" - which was clearly a reference to Mr Brightmore - but
he added that he was not sure whether it was the same person but that if it was and
Mr Brightmore had correctly described his connection with the Scientologists. the
"appearance of his name representing him to be active within the Citizens
Commission on Human Rights is wholly false and wholly misrepresentative of his
real position". An extract from day 4 of the transcrIpt when these matters were
raised is at flag 5.
12. At the start of day 5 of the proceedings, Professor MacKay reported that he
had received a telephone call the previous evening from Mr Brightmore confirming
that he was the person referred to in the list of personnel on the letter headed paper
and that he had been a Commissioner of the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights
but had resigned on 1 January 2001. Professor MacKay made it clear that that
information was not known to the panel when Mr Brightmore stood down. Mr Morris
commented, amongst other things, that it was "a matter of regret" that the
information was not made known at the outset of the meeting". A copy of the
relevant extract from the transcript is at nag 6.
13. The hearing continued and at the end of day 5 the tDmmittee announced that
they had rejected Mr Morris's application that the proceedings be stayed. The
Committee then adjourned until June when they will hear the case against
Or Cosgrove; no further references -sete made to Mr Brightmore or his links With the
Church of Scientology.
2
14. Professor MacKay subsequently submitted a written report of the events
dated 1 February 2004. A copy of that report is at flag 7.
Concerns Raised
15. It is vital that panellists who sit on the fitness to practise panels are fair and
seen to be fair and that the decisions they make are untainted by bias of any kind.
This is drawn to panellist attention in several ways.
a. The information sent to applicants who wish to sit on fitness to practise
panels states 'Successful candidates must be able to make thoughtful and
unbiased decisions in the context of the GMC's jurisdiction. which is both
to protect individual patients and to act in the wider public interest.
Specifically, this will require people of demonstrable integrity whose
judgement is not swayed by personal bias or sectional interests;)
b. The importance of reaching unbiased decisions is also covered in the
training sessions provided for panellists before their appointment is
confirmed. The training manual given to all panellists also states "In order
to be an effective panel member, you must always be fair, open minded,
and arrive at your decisions untainted by bias or prejudice".
c. The Conditions of Service, which panellists are asked to sign. include the
following:-
"Conflicts of Interest
15. You must maintain high standards of behaviour and propriety at
all times.
16. In particular, in carrying out your duties as a member of the PCC
and CPP you
• must exercise independent and impartial judgement
• must analyse issues property and rationally
• must not act in a discriminatory way.
17. You must inform the GMC immediately of any information which might
call into question your fitness and suitability for remaining a member of the
PCC or CPP.
'18.
19. If you have or may appear to have any interest in or association or
connection with any person (whether financial, organisational or personal)
3
which mayor does give rise to a conflict of interest or the suspicion of a
conflict of interest, you must notify the GMC as soon as possible."
(A copy of the contract signed by Mr Brightmore is at flag 8).
d. The Code of Conduct for Panellists makes it clear that panellists must
undertake "To be alert to the possibility of any conflrcts of interests. and to
declare any such conflict to Committee Section staff as soon as is
reasonably practical".
(A copy of the Code of Conduct signed by Mr Brightmore is at flag 9.)
16. Prior to the events on day 5 of Or Cosgrove PCC hearing, Mr Brightmore has
never declared any links with the Church of Scientology or the Citizens Commission
on Human Rights. A copy of the biographical details of the panel members in
Or Cosgrove's case is at flag 10. The entry for Mr Brightmore reads "furmer Police
Detective Chief Superintendent. Currently training Consultant and University
lecturer". This is based on information provided by Mr Brightmore and is included in
the GMC's website together with the interests of all other panellists. The guidance
given to panellists about the Register of Interests was the same as that given to
Council members and indicated that the following should be declared:
a. Posts held in the ordinary course of employment or practice.
b. Ordinary membership of professional bodies, medical Royal Colleges,
specialist societies, local medical committees or the medical defence
organisations.
c. Fell-owships of professional bodies, medical Royal Colleges, or
specialist societies.
d. Any office held in a professional body, specialist society, medical Royal
College or other similar body in the public. private or voluntary sector.
Offices include posts such as President, Chairman, Chief Executive,
Treasurer or Secretary.
e. Membership of a committee or Council of a professional association,
specialist society, medical Royal College or other similar body.
f. Membership of, or posts held in, local or national community
organisations.
g. Consultancies, directorships, or advisory positions jf they relate to a
medical, healthcare or pharmaceutical company or organisation, NHS
Trust or authority, public body or political party.
h Freemasonry
Membership of a political party or pressure group with an interest in the
GMC's work.
4
17. Mr Brightmore was appointed as a panellist on 21 September 2001. Based
on the information he gave Professor MacKay (see paragraph 12 above) this was
some nine months after his resignation as a Commissioner of the Citizens
Commission on Human Rights and it may, therefore, be difficult to argue that he
should have declared this post.
18. However, Mr Brightmore could have been in no doubt that once it became
clear that the Citizens Commission on Human Rights were involved in Or Cosqroves
case, he had a duty to declare that he had been a Commissioner of that
organisation. He made no declaration of any interest when Professor MacKay asked
on day one of the proceedings whether any of the panellists had links with the
Church of Scientology. When he did inform Professor MacKay during the
adjournment that he had had links, he did not disclose the full extent of those links.
It was not until after Mr Morris had submitted the two letters at flag 4 and drawn
attention to the name Christopher Brightmore on the letter headed paper that Mr
Brightmore contacted Professor MacKay to confirm that he was the person referred
to and that he had been a Commissioner of the Citizens Commission on Human
Rights.
19. Mr Brightmore's actions in failing immediately to declare the full extent of his
links with the Church of Scientology when given an opportunity to do so, appear to
raise doubts about his integrity. The hearing was in public and although he was not
initially named, it is now public knowledge that he was the member who had a
conflict of interest and initially failed to disclose it, but even when he did so, was
somewhat economical with the truth. The concerns therefore relate not just to Mr
Brightmore's failure to disclose his links with the Church of Scientology but also to
the potential risk that his continued service on panels will undermine the integrity of
the panels as a whole.
Action Required
20. I should be grateful if you would consider whether in the light of the above
information, any action should be taken against Mr Brightmore. If you decide that
action should be taken, it is open to you to notify Mr Brightmore of the concerns
raised and to invite his written observations. It is also open to you. at this stage, to
consider whether Mr Brightmore should continue to sit on panels until this matter is
resolved.
5
Annex
Proposed new procedures for dealing with concerns about panellists
1. Fitness to practise panellists are appointed by the Council. The Council has
delegated this responsibility, and responsibility for dealing with any concerns that
might arise about panellists including their eligibility or suitability to continue to sit on
committees, to the Fitness to Practise Committee (FPC). The FPC's duties also
include the effective development of associates who serve as panellists on the
fitness to practise committees.
2. Where concerns about the behaviour of a panellist arise a report shall be sent
to the Chairman of the FPC (the Chairman) or another member of the FPC
nominated by the Chairman (the Member).
3. The Chairman, or the Member, shall consider the report. If he or she
considers that there might be an issue or issues, the panellist concerned shall be
notified and given an opportunity to submit written observations. It is open to the
Chairman, or the Member to decide at this stage whether, pending resolution of the
matter, the panellist should continue to sit on panels.
4. On receipt of the panellist written observations the Chairman, or the Member,
shall review the position. Before reaching a final decision it is open to the Chairman
or the Member to meet the panellist to discuss the issue or issues raised. An officer
of the Council shall attend any such meeting and produce a note of the meeting. If
the Chairman, or the Member, concludes:
a. That no issue arises, that decision shall be recorded in writing and the
panellist and person who provided the report shall be notified accordingly.
b. That there is an issue, or issues, the Chairman, or the Member shall
report the matter to the President and notify the panellist concerned.
5. The President shall, on being notified about any such issues, appoint a sub
group of the FPC to consider the matter referred. The sub group will normally
comprise members of the FPC with relevant experience but it shall be open to the
President, if he wishes, to eo-opt other Council members. The quorum of the sub
group shall be three but normally five members will consider any matter reported.
6. The Chairman or Member who considered the original report shall not sit on
the sub group. It shall be open to the President, if he wishes, to sit on the sub group
If the President chooses to do so, he shall chair the sub group. If the President
chooses not to sit on the sub group, he shall appoint a chairman from amongst the
members appointed to sit on the sub group.
7. The panellist about whom concerns have been raised shall be notified of the
date when the sub group will consider the matter referred to them and shall be
invrled to attend the meeting or to submit further written observations.
A1
8, The panel shall have before them copies of all relevant documents including
the documents considered by the Chairman or the Member and any further written
observations received from the panellist.
9, Jf the panellist attends the meeting, he or she shall be afforded an opportunity
to address the sub group and to answer any questions the sub group may put to him
or her. The panellist should then withdraw so that the sub group can consider in
private:
a. Whether any action is required.
b. Whether the concerns raised can be dealt with by remedial action. If
so, the sub group shall agree the remedial action required, the period over
which it is to be carried out and the mechanism for assessing whether the
concerns about the panellist behaviour have been resolved.
c. If the concerns raised cannot be addressed by remedial action, or the
panellist refused to undergo remedial action, whether the panellist should
continue to be empanelled to sit on fitness to practise committees.
10, It shall be open to the sub-group to adjourn to obtain further information
before reaching a final decision.
11. Where the sub group decides that
a. No further action is required or that the matter can be dealt with by
providing advice or a warning to the panellist, that decision together with the
reasons for the decision shall be conveyed in writing to the panellist as soon
as possible after the meeting. A copy shall be sent to the President, if he was
not a member of the sub group, the Chairman or the Member who referred the
matter and to the person who initially raised the concerns.
b. The concerns raised can be addressed by remedial action:
i. That decision, together with the reasons for the decision, shall
be conveyed in writing to the panellist as soon as possible after the
meeting and the panellists shall be asked to confirm, in writing, whether
he or she is prepared to agree to the remedial action identified. A copy
shall be sent to the President, if he was not a member of the sub
group, the Chairman or the Member who referred the matter and to the
person who initially raised the concerns.
ii. If the panellist agrees to the remedial action, the action identified
shall proceed and the President, if he was not a member of the sub
group, the Chairman or the Member who referred the matter and to the
person who initially raised the concerns shaf be notified,
ill If the panellist does not agree to the remedial action, the matter
shall be remitted back to the sub group to consider whether the
panellist should continue to be empanelled to sit on committees and
A2
the President, if he was not a member of the sub group, the Chairman
or the Member who referred the matter and to the person who initially
raised the concerns shall be notified.
c. The concerns raised cannot be addressed by remedial action or the
panellist has refused to undergo remedial action, the sub group shall consider
whether the panellist's appointment should be terminated. If the sub group so
determine that decision, together with the reasons for the decision, shall be
conveyed in writing to the panellist as soon as possible after the meeting. A
copy of the letter shall be sent to the President, if he was not a member of the
sub group, the Chairman or the Member who referred the matter and to the
person who initially raised the concerns shall be notified.
12. Any decision taken by the sub group shall be reported to the FPC and through
the FPC to the Council.
A3
PCC SESSION BEGINNING 1901.04
DR M. COSGROVE.
RE CllRlSTOPHER BRIGHTMORE-PANEL MEMBER
At the outset of the hearing counsel for the doctor indicated that he would be seeking
a stay of proceedings based on one of the charges being fraudulent in that although it
purported to come from the mother of a child patient of Dr Cos grove it was in reality
from the Citizens' Commission 0 Human Rights(a branch of the Church of
Scientology) and that the signature of the mother on the letter of complaint was not
hers. He would also provide panel members with a Parliamentary Report( 1969) on the
Church of Scientology which would show its antipathy towards psychiatrists and its
willingness to persecute and prosecute psychiatrists for what the Church perceived as
their breach of patients' human rights.
At this point r felt it necessary to check if any member of the panel had links with
the church and received no indication from any panel member. The panel then
adjourned.
During the break Mr. B indicated that he WIshed to speak with me. He indicated that
he had been commissioned by the Home Office to look at drug rehabilitation
programmes and one of these was Narcanon a programme run by or allied to the
Church of Scientology He thought highly of the programme and had spoken
favourably on it at a meeting in Germany. He indicated that he had no other links with
the organisation. This information was shared with the Legal Assessor and with the
two counsel. On resuming the session counsel for the doctor asked that Mr B. stand
down. The panel agreed and Mr B. took no further part in the proceedings. This action
was fully supported by Mr B.
On 26 Jan(one week later) defence counsel produced 2 letters dated March and May
200 I from the Citizens' commission on Human Rights which on the letter heading
bore the name of a Mr Brightmore In view of the fact that Mr B. had not indicated
any close links WIth the organisation counsel speculated that if it were the same
person the commission may have been usmg his name without authority and if so it
would be further evidence of the disreputable behaviour of the commission and would
strengthen his argument that their involvement 10 one of the charges would be a
SCTlUUS cause for concern
That evenmg I was telephoned by Mr Brightmorc who had been made aware of the
fact that his name had come up at the hearing that Jay I cannot be certain how he
came to he informed The name of I.adv MacNair \\as mentioned but I am not sure if
she was hiS informant ur ifxhc was the person who had encouraged him to become a
comrrusvtoner He indicated that he had been a commissioner of the
(",II/,cns'Cornrrussron on ! lurnan ~Ights hut had n':S1gned on the I<l • Jan 200 I the
Commission had been using up old notepaper and this was the reason his name still
appeared in May 200 I. He hoped that these revelations would not cause problems or
embarrassment for the panel. 1explained that counsel for the doctor had used this
point to bolster his case and that J would have to report our conversation to the
Inquiry. This I did and defence counsel withdrew that strand of his submission.
These matters were reported to Scott Geddes on ?7 Jan 2004 .
0/ ' 02· 0L/-


Non-GMC Members of the Professional Conduct Committee
and Committee on Professional Performance
Conditions of Service
Application
1. These conditions apply to all training and service as a member of the
Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) and the Committee on Professional
Performance (CPP).
Term of Service
2. Your appointment is for 5 years, effective from the point at which you
are deemed by the GMC to have completed ore-service induction training.
3. Subject to the Committee's caseload, you must be available to be
empanelled for at least 20 days each calendar year from date of appointment.
In scheduling these 20 days, the GMC will endeavour to empanel you for
sessions which do not conflict with your other engagements: but the final
decision over when you are empanelled rests with the GMC.
4. If you have to cancel a commitment to empanelment, you must give the
GMC as much notice as possible. You should cancel only in exceptional and
wholly unavoidable circumstances.
Fees and expenses
5. The GMC will pay you a fee of £250 for each day or part thereof on
which you attend for Committee training or you serve on a panel. The GMC
will pay you £125 for each day you are empanelled and which is subsequently
cancelled with less than 10 days notice. In addition the GMC will pay for
travelling and subsistence expenses properly incurred by you within the limits
as set out on the relevant claim form. All other costs and expenses other than
travel and subsistence are included in the daily rate.
Confidentiality
6 In carryinq out your duties as a member of the PCC and CPP, you will
receive information. much of it of a highly sensitive nature. You must not
(other than in proper discharge of your duties as a member of the PCC and
epp, or as otherwise directed by the GMC) directly or indirectty
a) disclose to any person; or
b) use or exploit for your O'Nn purposes or those of any other
person


confidential information which you receive or comes into your possession in
the course of your duties as a member of the PCC and CPP.
7. For these purposes confidential information shall include (but not be
limited to) any information relating to a PCC or CPP case, and any information
which you might reasonably expect the GMC to regard as confidential.
8 You must make sure that you keep all information which you receive in
the course of your duties as a member of the PCC and CPP safely and
effectively protected against improper disclosure. You must also do your best
to prevent unauthorised disclosure or use of confidential information by third
parties.
9. On written demand by or on behalf of the GMC you must immediately
return any inforrnation which IS in material form to the GMC without keeping
copies and must hand over to the GMC all notes or memoranda prepared by
you or on your behalf (together with any copies).
10. Unless the GMC or a duly authorised person acting on its behalf gives
you prior written consent, you must not make any public or press statement
relating in any way either to a particular pee or Cf'P hearing, or your service
as a member of the PCC and CPP generally.
11. You must never discuss or disclose details of the PCG's or CPP's in
camera deliberations.
12. If you are required to make any disclosure of confidential information
by law, you must co-operate with the GMe regarding the manner of such
disclosure and any legal action that the GMC may take to challenge the
lawfulness of any such requirement.
Your status
13. You are an independent contractor and not an employee of the GMC.
As such you have personal responsibility for disclosing to the relevant
authorities any payments made to you by the GMC under these conditions.
14. The contract of which these conditions form part is personal to you.
You may not assign or subcontract the contract or any rights or obligations
under the contract.
Conflicts of Interest
15 You must maintain high standards of behaviour and propriety at all
times.
16. In particular, in carrying out your dut.es as a member of the pee and
epp you


• must exercise independent and impartial judgement
• must analyse issues properly and rationally
• must not act in a discriminatory way
17. You must inform the GMC immediately of any information which might
call into question your fitness and suitability for remaining a member of the
pee or CPP.
18. You must not ask for or accept any inducement. gift or hospitality which
might affect or be seen to affect a pee or epp hearing.
19, If you have or may appear to have any interest in or assoc iation or
connection with any person (whether financial. organisational or personal)
which mayor does give rise to a conflict of interest or the suspicion of a
conflict of interest, you must notify the GMC as soon as possible.
20. If you have personal knowledge of any doc tor or patient in respect of
whom you have received. will or are likely to receive information in the course
of a PCC or epp hearing, you must inform the Grv1C as soon as possible and
shall take no further part in that hearing unless the GMC (or a duly authorised
person act ing on its behalf) gives you written consent.
Termination
21. The GMC reserves the right to terminate your appointment without
notice for any breach of the above conditions , or for repeated cancellation of
empanelments.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I have read and understood the above cond itions . 1agree to abide by them in
my service as a member of the PCC.
Sign ed


full name
In block
capitals
date


Code of Conduct for Panellists of the General Medical Council's Fitness to
Practise Panels.
Being a panellist for the GMC carries with it responsibilities. In order that patients,
the public and doctors may have confidence in the effectiveness and impartiality of
Fitness to Practise Panels, panellists must undertake:
a. To attend all hearings, seminars, training sessions or other meetings at
which their presence is required, unless there is a good reason for them being
unable to do so.
b. That where they are unable to attend a hearing, seminar, training
session or other meeting, to take all reasonable steps to give advance
warning of their absence i1S soon as is reasonably practical to the organisers
of such hearings etc (normally Committee Section staff) .
c. To prepare for all hearings, seminars, training sessions or other
meetings at which they are required to attend by reading the agenda and any
papers sent to them by the organisers of such hearings etc.
d. To be alert to the possibility of any conflicts of interest, and to declare
any such conflicts to Committee Section staff as soon is reasonably practical.
e. To dress in a manner which will have the confidence of those
appearing before the panel.
f. To listen carefully to all the evidence presented at hearings.
g. To ask appropriate questions of witnesses to clarify evidence already
presented.
h. To be fair, open-minded and arrive at decisions untainted by bias or
prejudice on grounds of gender, race, disability. lifestyle, culture, beliefs,
colour, sexuality or age.
i. To have regard to guidance issued by the Council when reaching
decisions.
j. To observe the confidentiality of information provided in connection
with hearings, seminars, training sessions or other meetings
k. To avoid placing themselves under obligation to any individual or
organisation which might affect their ability to act impartially and objectively as
a panellist.
I To declare In the Panellists register of interests their membership of
other bodies or organisations in accordance With the Counci/'s guidance on
this matter.
m. To undergo education and training provided or organised by the GMC
from time to time, so that they are properly informed about their
responsibilities.
n. To participate fully in any assessment of peers, legal assessors or
others and, where necessary, to report any serious anxieties about the
conduct of panels or individuals participating in them to the panel chairman or,
in the event of concerns about the panel chairman, to the Chairman of the
Fitness to Practise Committee or the Head of Committee Section.
o. To support the above principles by example.
Signed: ..
Date J<l ~c .j~~J ..
2


25 March 2004
Concerns about Christopher Brightmore - Lay Panellist
I have considered the memorandum about this panellist and read the
supporting documents.
In my opinion. the issues raised are significant and relevant to whether he
should continue as a GMC panellist. I request that these documents are
disclosed to Mr Brightmore and that he should be invited to submit any
observations he may have on the issues that they raise.
While these matters are under consideration, Mr Brightmore should not sit on
fitness to practise panels
Or Joan Trowell
Chairman
Fitness to Practise Committee
File Note
Concerns about Christopher Br/ghtmore - Lay Panellist
In the light of Or Trowell's request that the documents submitted to her should be
disclosed to Mr Brightmore and that he be invited to submit observations, I
telephoned Professor MacKay to seek his agreement to disclose the written report
he had submitted.
Professor Mackay confirmed he had no objection to the report being disclosed to
Mr Briqhtrnore. He added that when he had written the report he was aware that it
was likely to be disclosed to Mr Brightmore.
Graziella Oragano
25 March 2004
Graziella Oragano (020 7915 3440)
t Jln:
Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Bnghtmore 25L.doc
Joan
Graziella Oragano (020 7915 3440)
25 Mar 2004 19:52
Or Joan Trowell
Paul Philip (020 7915 7421): Scol! Geddes (01612356323)
Draft letter to Mr Brightmore
Followinq your decision earlier today I have prepared the attached draft letter for you to send Mr Brightmore. Could
you please let me know if you are happy with it or whether you wish to make ammendments. I will then arranged for a
tarred version of the letter to be given to you so that you can sign it and the letter and enclosure can then be
dispa tched.
Graz
PS As I shall be on leave next week could you please copy Scol! into your reply in case he has to take this forward in
my absence.
DRAFT
[ 1March 2004
Mr C Briqhtmore
Dear Mr Brightmore
I am sorry to have to write to advise you that I have received a report raising
significant concerns about your conduct when serving on a panel of the Professional
Conduct Committee (PCC). Those concerns relate to your failure to disclose your
links with the Church of Scientology when given an opportunity to do so by the panel
chairman and your subsequent failure to declare the full extent of those links. Your
conduct also raises a question as to whether your continued service on panels would
seriously undermine the integrity of those panels.
I enclose a copy of the papers referred to me. These comprise a memorandum from
Graziella Oragano and the following attachments.
• A copy of the procedures for dealing with concerns about fitness to practise
panellists.
• A copy of the agenda relating to the hearing, including the charge against the
doctor, which was sent to you and the other panellists in advance of the PCC
hearing.
• An extract from the transcript of the first day of the PCC's proceedings up to
the point where you recused yourself.
• A copy of the two letters submitted by the defence counsel indicating that one
of the people listed in the Citizens Commission on Human Rights headed
note-paper was Christopher Brightmore MA DipNEBSS.
• An extract from the transcript of day four of the proceedings relating to
defence counsel's submission of the two letters and his comments about
them.
• An extract from the transcript of day 5 of the proceedings where the panel
chairman reports the telephone call he received from you the previous
evening in which you confirmed you were the Christopher Brightmore named
in the Citizens Commission on Human Rights headed note-paper and that you
had been a Commissioner of that organisation but had resigned the position
on 1 January 2001.
• A written report submitted by the panel chairman, dated 1 February 2004.
• A copy of the Conditions of Service signed by you on 21 September 2001
when you were appointed to sit on fitness to practise panels.
• A copy of the Code of Conduct for Panellists, which you signed on
23 December 2003.
• A copy of the biographical details of the panel members who sat on the panel.
Once you have had an opportunity to consider this information I would welcome your
written observations. Could you please ensure that those observations reach me by
[insert date 21days after date of fetter]. I will then review the position and decide
whether there remains an issue or issues to be addressed. You will. of course be
informed of my decision.
In the meanwhile, I have instructed the office that with immediate effect you should
not sit on any further panels while this matter remains under consideration.
Yours sincerely
Or Jaan Trawell
Chairman, Fitness to Practise Committee
2
29 ~.l.Jrch 20(>l
t\1r C Orightf11ore
Dear Mr Briqhtmore
(~ [N EI\AL
~,'\E[) J (~ 1\ L
(~ o U N (.~ 1L
f' ;" ! t i. / t ..! I ..
! "-J ,,1 .. ~ ,I '( \
I am sorry to have to '.'trite to advise you that I have received 3 rope: t raising
significant concerns about your conduct when serving on a panel of 111e Professional
Conduct Commitlee (PCC), Tnose concerns relate to your failure to disclose your
links with the Church of Scientology when given an opportunity to do so by the panel
cnairman and your subsequent failure to declare the full extent of tl.ose links. Your
conduct also raises a question as to whether your continued service on panels would
seriously undermine the inlt:grity of those panels.
I enclose a copy of 1118 p.ipcrs referred 10 me. These comprise a m:lllorJndul11 uom
Gr azielia Oraqano and the ful/0wing attachments.
• A copy of tile procedures for (1e3ling with concerns about fr!r:ess to practise
panellists.
• A copy of the Zlgcncl,l rdJling 10 the hearing, including the c/iarge aqainst the
doctor, which W<lS sent to you and the other paneltists in atv.mce of the !)CC
hearing.
• An extract from Illl: tr.mscrtpt of the first day of Ihe PCGs pr. icecdinqs up to
the point wnore you recused yourself.
• A copy of Ille two !elte:rs submitted by the defence counsel :rldicJting th0't 0[1e
of the people Ilslt:d ir~ the Citizens Commission on Human r-~!(]hIS header I
note-paper V.,,;lS CIHi:;Inpher BriQhtmore rv'lA DJpNEBSS.
• f\n extract trom I!;(~ tr.urscnpl of dJy four of Ihe proceedinry: .elatinq to
c!cfenr;e coun scls ;-;il!;rnisslon of the lwo lcner s and his com.nonts about
them.
• I\n extract frOill :11\; tr:":llscript of day 5 of Ire proccedinqs where tne p3nc:
chairman reports !i1~~ t..lephone ca'l he received from you the previous
eveninq in which /Oll c;()nfirrnccJ you were the Christophcr Brighln10re n,lrl:Cd
In the Cl!iLI,:I1$ t(;'!)irlls~)I()n on Human RirJhts hc;,J(led note-paper and lh;ll you
!,ad t)t.:Oll d Ci,,,':'li', ,(;Iicr of Uul (;((prllSatIC)f) hlJ! Ilild rl'::>I~I1(;(j llle POSi;il.)1'i
un 1 JcinJ<1r/ :'(y) i
A 'tlfillf;fl ri?;)c:r! '.~i";;':"?cJ bi' the; fnn~~l (Ji,wrr.;Jrl. dated; Ff;l!ru,lly 21)()-l
• l .... copy er the Ccn.liuons of Service signed by you on 21 St:pternber 2Ci01
when you Wl.;rc dppoilltod to sit on fitness to practise panels.
• A copy of the Code of Conduct for Panelusts. which you SI(]!lcd on
23 December 2UOJ.
• A copy of tile lJi,;(r~li)tliC()1 details of the panel members Wll\) sat on the panel.
Once you have tlaJ ,111 opportunity to consider this information I v•..ould welcome your
written observations. Could you please ensure that those observations reach me by
20 Aprrl 2004 I will then review the position and decide whether there remains on
issue or issues to be ~lddrcssed. You will, of course be informed of my decision.
in the meanwhile, I have instructed the office that with immediate (:ffecl you should
not sit on ally Iurthr.r p.u.cts 'Nhile this matter remains under consideration.
Yours sincerely
Dr Joan Trowell
Chairman, Fitness to Practise Committee
')
c:
Complaint about Mr Christopher Brightmore
I nave read and cons.cereo Mr B r i g htr ~ 1 0 re 's resp onse to my lett er.
I do not plan to meet v·Ilth the panellist as there is no dispute about the fac ts or .ssues ~ h J t I could
cI3"(Y by such a meeting 3S these are iJrg ely agreed and co nfirm ed in tr,e docu rnents In the
bund le
I consider that there are stdl outstacc.nq .ssues u[ significance that snoi. td be brought the
attention the President Mr Brlghtmore shou ld also be notified that tne se will be cons.ce reo by a
sub group of FPC
Joan Trowel!.
Chairman of the Fitness to Pra clt se Committee
1442004
MEMORANDUM To:
From:
cc:
Date:
President
Or Joan Trowel!
Graziella Oragano
16 April 2004
Concerns raised about Christopher Brightmore : Lay Panellist
1. The office has drawn to my attention concerns raised about Mr Briqhtrnore.
one of our lay fitness to practise panellists. Those concerns relate to Mr Brightmore's
failure to disclose his links with the Church of Scientology when given an opportunity
to do so by a PCC panel chairman and his subsequent failure to declare the full
extent of those links. Mr Brightmore's conduct also raises a question as to whether
his continued service on panels would seriously undermine the integrity of those
panels.
2. In accordance with our procedures for dealing with concerns about panellists
(copy attached) I wrote to Mr Brightmore inviting his written observations on the
information I have received. Mr Brightmore responded and having carefully
considered his observations I consider that there are outstanding concerns about his
conduct that should be referred to you. I have written to Mr Brightmore to inform him
of my decision.
3. I have asked Graziella to forward to you the bundle of papers reponing the
concerns about Mr Brightmore, Mr Brightmore's written observations and my further
letter to Mr Brightmore notifying him of my decision to refer the matter to you.
Memorandum To
From
Date
Copy
President
Graziella Oragano
20 Apri I 2004
Paul Philip (without
enclosures)
Concerns raised about Christopher Brightmore: Lay Panellists
Referral by Chairman of FPC
1. Or Trowell has referred to you the concerns raised about the behaviour of
Mr Brightmore, one of our fitness to practise lay panellists. Or Trowell's
memorandum of 16 April 2004 reporting the matter to you is at flag A. As requested
in paragraph 3 of that memorandum I also attach copies of the bundle of papers (flag
B), Mr Brightmore's written observations (flag C) and Or Trowell's letter to
Mr Brightmore notifying him of her decision to refer the matter to you (flag 0).
Action required by you
2. Under the procedure for considering complaints against panellists you are
required to appoint a sub group of the FPC to consider the matter referred.
Appointment of sub group
What the procedure provides
3. The procedure provides that the sub group will normally comprise 'members of
the FPC with relevant experience' but it is open to you to eo-opt other Council
members. The quorum of the sub group is three but the procedure states 'normally
five members will consider any matter reported. Or Trowell, having given initial
consideration to the matter. is not eligible to sit on the sub group. It is open to you, if
you wish to sit on the sub group and if you do so you will be the chairman. If you
choose not to sit, you need to appoint a chairman from amongst those appointed to
sit on the sub group.
Membership of sub group
4. A list of the current members of the FPC is at flaq E. In addition to Or Trowell,
who is ineligible to sit, it may be best not to include and
on the sub group as both have sat on panels with Mr Brightmore.
5. There is no requirement to have a set number of medical and lay members on
the sub group and' assume you will wish to include a mixture of both
7. It is open to you to sit on the sub group if you wish. Much will depend on your
availability and at present I anticipate that the most likely date for the sub group to
meet is the afternoon of 16 June; the FPC are meeting earlier that day and there is
therefore a good chance that those appointed to the sub group will be available to sit
in the afternoon. In anticipation of this I have asked your secretary to hold the
afternoon of 16 June for this meeting should you wish to sit on the sub group. She
has done so but alerted me to the fact that there is already another meeting In your
diary that you may have to attend.
2
8. Mr Brightmore has telephoned me to explain that he is anxious for the sub
group to meet as soon as possible as he is unable to sit on panels until the matter
has been resolved. Although we will do our best to arrange a date as soon as
possible previous experience suggests that we are unlikely to find a date sooner
than 16 June.
Recommendations for sub group membership
Next steps
11. As soon as you have confirmed the membership of the sub group we will
approach the members to find a suitable date.
3
Memorandum "- To- /K~/7 President
Frcfin /) Graziella Oragano
21 AiR ;OlJ4 Date
Copy
20 April 2004
Paul Philip (without
enclosures)
Concerns raised about Christopher Brightmore: Lay Panellists
Referral by Chairman of FPC
1. Or Trowell has referred to you the concerns raised about the behaviour of
Mr Brightmore, one of our fitness to practise lay panellists. Or Trowelt's
memorandum of 16 April 2004 reporting the matter to you is at flag A. As requested
in paragraph 3 of that memorandum I also attach copies of the bundle of papers (flag
B), Mr Brightmore's written observations (flag C) and Or Trowell's letter to
Mr Brightmore notifying him of her decision to refer the matter to you (flag 0).
Action required by you
2. Under the procedure for considering complaints against panellists you are
required to appoint a sub group of the FPC to consider the matter referred.
Appointment of sub group
What the procedure provides
3. The procedure provides that the sub group will normally comprise 'members of
the FPC with relevant experience' but it is open to you to eo-opt other Council
members. The quorum of the sub group is three but the procedure states 'normally
five members will consider any matter reported. Or Trowell, having given initial
consideration to the matter, is not eligible to sit on the sub group. It is open to you, if
you wish to sit on the sub group and if you do so you will be the chairman. If you
choose not to sit, you need to appoint a chairman from amongst those appointed to
sit on the sub group.
Membership of sub group
4. A list of the current members of the FPC is at flag E. In addition to Or Trowel!
who is ineuqible to sit, it may be best not to include and
on the sub group as both have sat on panels with Mr Brightmore.
5. There is no requirement to have a set number of medical and lay members on
the sub group and I assume you will wish to include a mixture of both.
7. It is open to you to sit on the sub group if you wish . Much will depend on your
availability and at present I anticipate that the most likely date for the sub group to
meet is the afternoon of 16 June; the FPC are meeUng earlier that day and there is
therefore a good chance that those appointed to the sub group will be available to Sit
in the afternoon . In anticipation of this J have asked your secretary to hold the
afternoon of 16 June for this meeting should you wish to sit on the sub group. She
has done so but alerted me to the fact that there is already another meeting in your
diary' that you may have to attend.
2
8. Mr Brightmore has telephoned me to explain that he is anxious for the sub
group to meet as soon as possible as he is unable to sit on panels until the matter
has been resolved. Although we will do our best to arrange a date as soon as
possible previous experience suggests that we are unlikely to find a date sooner
than 16 June.
Recommendations for sub group membership
Next steps
11. As soon as you have confirmed the membership of the sub group we will
approach the members to find a suitable date.
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GENERAL
N\EDICAL
COUNCIL
Protecting r(llI~nt s.
glliding J e)«( OrS
Sub Group of the Fitness to PractIse Committee established to consider
concerns raised about Mr Christopher Briqhtrnora, a lay panellist
1. The Sub Group will meet on 16 June 2004 in room 4C of the Council Offices
at 178 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5JE.
2. The Sub Group will consider whether, in the light of the information received
about Mr Brightmore:
a. any action is required ;
b. the concerns raised can be dealt with by remedial action. If so, the
Sub Group must agree the remedial action required, the period over which it
is to be carried out and the mechanism for assessing whether the concerns
raised have been resolved;
c. Mr Brightmore should continue to be empanelled to sit on fitness to
practise committees if the concerns raised cannot be addressed by remedial
action, or if he refuses to undergo remedial action.
3. A bundle of relevant documents is attached. The bundle includes, at pages
6-8. a copy of the procedures for dealing with concerns about panellists. It does not
include the Foster Report referred to at pages 28 and 29 of the bundle but a copy will
be available on 16 June 2004 should any member of the Sub Group wish to refer to
it. The bundle does, however include, at pages 61-68 copies pages from the Citizens
Commission on Human Rights website, explaining what it is, what it does etc.
4. In accordance with the procedures for dealing with concerns about panellists,
Mr Brightmore has been invited to attend the meeting and has confirmed, by
telephone, that he will be present. A copy of this note and the attached bundle has
been sent to Mr Brightmore.
Bundle of papers relating to Mr Christopher Brightmore
Index
I Pa~1
i------ j
:I Memorandum, dated 25 March 2004, from Graziella Oragano to Or Joan 1-5 I
Trowell, attaching: I
• Procedures for dealing with concerns about panellists 6-8
• Copy of agenda for the PCC hearing 9-16
• Extract from day 1 of the transcript 17-32
• Exhibit 017 33-34
• Extract from day 4 of the transcript 35-37
• Extract from day 5 of the transcript 38-39
Report submitted by Professor MacKay 40-41 •
Copy of contract signed by Mr Brightmore 42-45 • 46-47 • Copy of Code of Conduct signed by Mr Brightmore
48 • Biographical details of the panel members
Note from Or Trowel/, dated 25 March 2004, recommending that 49
Mr Brightmore be invited to provide comment and suspending him from
sittinq on fitness to practise panels until the matter has been resolved
File note by Graziella Oragano dated 25 March 2004 confirming that 50
consent had been obtained from Professor MacKay to disclose his
report
Letter, dated 29 March 2004, from Or Trowel! to Mr Brightmore inviting 51-52
him to provide comments and informing him of his suspension,
enclosing documents a~ges 1 to 48
Letter, dated 3 April 2004, from Mr Brightmore to Or Trowel! 53-55
Email, dated 14 April 2004, from Graziella Oragano to Mr Brightmore I
56 II
I confirming receIpt of hIS letter
r-- ---H INote from Or Trowel! requesting that the matter be brought to the r' 57 t
! i?ttentlon of the President and be considered by a sub group of the FPC , _.__~
Letter, dated 16 April 2004, from Or Trowetl to Mr Brightmore informing 58 I
'
him of her decision to refer the matter to the President who in turn will L ,I
_ClPB9~sub_~~ _ J
rMemorandum, dated 16 April 2004, from Or Trowell to the President 59
II!
Letter, dated 13 May 2004, from Graziella Oragano to Mr Brightmore 60
i informing him of the date, time and venue of the sub group meeting and
Ii
explaining that he may if he wishes attend
r
Pages from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights website 61-68
-..,
;
What is CCHR1 , C'llzens Comm;ssion on Human Hlghls 1l,;I.HK/ ..age , \/1 J
..,.."'! 'S CC0'lft1


"
Wh", don CCHR d o ?
~~ • • _0' , • '~._..
Over a decade. CCJ1 R's in" estigali(lf'ls 'ed 10 tt-e prosaQjllQn 01
over a lhousand psych,atflst s psycfloioo;jisls and m"nl.1l heaIlh
wooers This has prompled ~i sla t 0l' 1 and insurance
companies 10 Wl thdraw fuodo-.-.g to ctim<nal psychiatnc prd ~ bces .
and 10 pass taws 10 protect Indivjduals lrom Ihem.
"':!]"",I Thousands ot ,ndiv'duals conlacl CCHR each year to feport
psvcmarnc abuse and C fimona ~ ty , s.-;l'l as lalse ilT'pnSQO'lfTleOt.
hasp,la' ffaud sexual abuse and inhumane lfealrnent and
conditions In ps)' ~ h i a t n c .n s ~ l \, t ' ons CCHR documents rh,s and
helps the abused If\dlvldu al file cflffiJf\oll 0' other compla,nlS""l/l
lhe crcceeaul/lofrties It also C(lndUl;1's , n ~e S I ' 'J alion s ,n ""lder
psychlalfic ,n ues, such as lnsuranc" Ifavd , hl']h deall'l ralel
r",pofled If' inSI'luliQos, or the ffaudulent lab-eling 01 choIdren as
' menIally dlsordef 9l!' and drugg,,''J mdliOns
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Through CCHR 5 ;Xhlevemen ts. thou sands Of psyc h.alfiC
victims nave bee n rescued patie<>I, nave fegained legd l and
CI Vil righ ls , menta' 1'111 ,, 111'1 aCls nave oullawed tho atblttdljl \,se t;A
electro shock and ps y ~ hosurg e ry and bdnned IMM savage
j)fa ~t lCe s on ~ h ~ dren . and ~Sl a tion has Deer> ena<:l8d 10
ensure p sy ~h i 3 1 ric fape of pal,ents 15 ll"atl ""'11'1 as a criminal
01l8nS8 Many h~ ndl ed s 015urvivOl'Sr:J psych,alnc lnta llrle'nl
MVIl been com~<)n sa t e d lens of m.RIQI'IS of doll ars IOf the
damage Ihey ha", suffered
'5CCHR pa rt 01 the ChUfC h 01 5cillnl ol 09y 1
CCHR 's an ondependlml ofganil ill'on It compri ses members of
Ihe ChUfCh 01 S~ i en lo l og y and many olhef people of ~anous
denom,nJtoons , 'J iths,lM cultUlal ceeers. S~i e n toJog , s,s are not
,m'cue In lhlN "'{!W that OSYl hl.;lI"t IS harmful Pecple Ifom ail
.~. l1 k s of hI'1 ;l rll ~ r.r(. elned .1M ul lhe d e 5lru c t l~e ,m ~ a (. l 01
csycru.ury on ..,:t: cly_ n'''' f ",ork w,th CCHR 10 (10 ~ome lh, ng
enecnve 3 00 111 " CCHR 5 EJOdrd ul Ad.-.so,s- ,<;a lled
'C () "'l'l ' ~Sj C ne rS ' '-''' l lude pfOm...."'nt OCcl or~. lawyers, J (I, ~IS
<Jcuc ato l s o...s.oessroen ~ i ~ lf a,' d hum"n rjghts repeeseeuauves
6 I
08 ,C6J2004
~"'I)O" IJ V'JI 'I': - ~1"'4C:;)1~ VVIIUIII':>~IU~I UII'IUIIIOI' l'i~IH'" \VV'I"J
and professionals who see it as their duty to "expose and help
abolish any and all physically damaging practices in the field of
mental health."
We are proud to have been founded by the Church of
Scientology, which has a long and impressive history of human
rights achievements. CCHR members work closely with Church
members on social reform issues and consult with the Church's
social reform or human rights departments.
Why is Scientology opposed to psychiatry?
When the Church of Scientology established CCHR in 1969,
victims of psychiatry had no rights and needed a voice.
"Treatment" was brutal, its only purpose to create compliant
patients. Patients were subjected to punitive electroshockwithout
anesthetic as punishment for "bad" behavior. Using
lobotomies and other psychosurgical procedures, psychiatrists
destroyed patients' brains with callous disregard. Those under
psychiatric "care" were mercilessly experimented upon with
therapeutically unproven mind-altering drugs.
The founder of ScientoJogy, Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, was the first to
confront these desperate acts by psychiatrists. From the late
1940s, Mr. Hubbard saw psychiatry's reckless abuse of the
individual and its incompetence. Later, he wrote: "The Church of
Scientology will not recommend or condone political mental
treatment such as electric shocks and condemns utterly the
fascist approach to 'mental health' by extermination of the
insane."
CCHR was formed to investigate and expose psychiatric
violations of human rights and to clean up the field of mental
healing.
Does CCHR give medical or legal advice?
CCHR does not provide medical or legal advice. However, it
works closely with attorneys and medical doctors and supports
medical, but not psychiatric, practices.
Anyone who feels he or she is "mentally ill" should see a
competent non-psychiatric medical doctor as numerous medical
studies show undiagnosed and untreated physical complaints
can manifest as a "psychlatric" problem. In many cases, once
the physical condition is treated. the mental "disorder" symptoms
disappear.
CCHR also strongly recommends that anyone who knows of
someone who has, or has himself or herself been physically or
sexually abused by a psychiatrist, file a complaint with the
proper law enforcement body and/or licensing board.
http://www.cchr.org/whaUfaq/page01.htm
\"Ihat is CCHR? - Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) ~age j or j
WHAT 11 CCHR't ". CQlR ItACtlON ISSUD TOPICS NEWS PU8UCAnoNS
Why should electroshock treatment (ECT) be banned?
Very simply, electroshock destroys minds and can kill. Touted
by psychiatrists as "scientific" and "therapeutic.' ECT is as
sophisticated and beneficial as hitting someone over the head
with a sledgehammer. It consists of searing the brain with 180 to
460 volts of electricity. This causes a severe convulsion or a
grand mal seizure identical to an epileptic fit.
Women and the elderly, in particular, are psychiatry's principal
targets. The death rate among the elderly from ECT is about
one in every 200. A 1993 Texas government report found that
one in 197 patients died within two weeks of receiving this
"treatment: Other studies document that electroshock inflicts
irreversible brain damage, memory loss and a deterioration of
intellectual ability.
Electroshock also has a sordid history as a weapon of torture
and mind control.
When you deal with vulnerable people who are in desperate
need of help, using ECT Is not only betrayal, it is criminal
assault. Electroshock should not be available as a choice, just
as Thalidomide is not available to pregnant women.
Psychiatrists who administer it for a Jiving have a financial
incentive to lie about its effects-in the United States alone it is
a $3 billlon-a-year industry. It takes government action to
safeguard its citizens by outlawing ECT.
---'--- .__... , -"'- .
._._-----_._-----------------
~~ ~ f~
.. ' :<;> 1996-2003 C,lizens Cornmrssion on Human Righ1s "nd Trademark ,nformaflon PflVilCY Poi'CV
ESlablJshad In 1969 by rne Church of Sc,enlology
Host,ng. eCorT'merce. ProgrammIng and SEa by Outflow Techroloq,es
63
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CCHA ..... Iounded n 1969 by the Churdl of
SdenlOlclQy and the r.~tlonaIIy aa:&amed
"'Ihor, Of. Thoma. Snu. Pro4'euor~of
~try at 1heo St.. lJntvw-.lty of~yon.,
Syr8ClAe. AI IhaI Ilrne, IhII vlcIltnt: of PlydlIatry
were . bgollet'l "II"C••, gmJJ). wilrehollled
umet Iemtying conditions r. n.litullonl~
1hII1IQl1d. e.e.us. of IhIa. CCHR pelwl6d.
Menl4ll Heilllt1~Iion of HI.¥nan Rlgh~ IhiII
ha• ....-...elf ill ilt~ !or rr-t"-l hNllh refoIm.
_ ,.. loP • • .;0;_'
WHAT IS CCHR?
The Cllizena Conwniuion
on Human Righ~
(CCHA) 1I Il'llJI'oo1)lolil.
puNIC benelll
ClrlIlIOIzilrlon OedtaIled 10
inve lllgatlng .",;I
e.poaing paychl8tnc
vIotaliotll cl humin
rlohls. n-.0 enswu IhaI
crtmln8l1oC~ WI1Nn the CCHR . .... ,n1Sl "'·"'1 ....... ... Lot
PlydIi.Ilrlc: Indultry.. A~ C I. rePQfted 10 the pn;Ip6f ..,1hOIitlM and 8dIId upon.
~ t" jj 'I
..~. ,
'- ~"' - -- '" ._ ~ - -~
....-..."-..;-_"~' ._-~...
.... _"..,..- =-.•.
7 " '" _ ....
r..... _-~=
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DD O' ' '-..-. - " I
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.aa-'·-..._ ,.-...-_ a _ ....
a _ -..-.·
a · _ ""-·.....
a ~_
AUnowtedQed t7r the Spec;aI~10lhe United N.allonl
Hl,lrrllWl RIgh~ COIrw, a 5ion a.~iIof'rrIlWly 9'1'.
refoom' hl prot8d peapIoI Prum Pt~1r'c ..tw... CCHR ha.
dOCl.Pneflled tI'louIands 01itdviduaI easel hl demonItrIIte
p'5~lric drugl and oIlen·bMaif l)S)'dU1I1C pr~. aeate
Iflunty and g un ~ A~~of the dNg PftltlI.m
worldwide il lhlI~.. tnsl. ...no !or dec:MMts hill used hot
inlluence .... medic:aI doc1or 10 push utnrmety c,1.arogerous ¥>d
addlctiloe 1TWf'd... /teling 4rvgs on peittW'tS of al l~oil
young M one ye., old
s.rc. 1969. CCHR's WOf1< tloiS
helped 10 uve It1e ....... of 6 4
n._ """"""
What '5 CCHR? " Cmzens Comm.ss,on on Human MU;jnIS (....l.MK)
~-~~~-
r.~ I ,, ' e <1 ~r CCHR . Inr.m.oon,,1
H~MQu" f1 9rJ ' ~ m9 Pl y{ "' ~ lry K,~ s" E. Il'M,
",,,,, ,, docu.....m." 100 y" '" ~ ,sIOlJ' of
t e lro.,,' 11, ;,, ~ c n i ~ I ''' I ' ,,,,<1 ",yehol09" r.
,'ml ""'.. , I/'e d~c;" n 9 0 1 ")'''~ I y ,x><J'" ·to""
. ,,~~
r mrncns and prevented needless
suffering for mill'ofl s ffiOfe. Many
countrres nave now mandated T"~ 'o< ·~"r"" , ,~~ . I CCHR
rnformed con sent /or psyc hia tric " ' I."' ~'<>"'"
treatme nt and the right to leg al
reptesentanon . advocacy,
recourse and compensauoe for
patients, In some ccoomes, the use 01 psy chcsun;erl and
electroshock on c.~ ~ dren IS banned
While CCHR does not provide med ical or legal adv ice. it worl<.s
closely "" th attorneys and medical coc tc rs and supports
-reorcat but not psychiatrIC, practices.
One of CCHR's pllmar'ly concerns with psychiatIy 's its
unsc,entlfi c diagnostic system. Unlike medical diagnosis,
psychiatrists careqorve symptoms only, not disease Jeffrey A,
scoare-. PhD, says, "The notion 01S(:ient,fic validity, though not
an act. is lelated 10 fraud . Vahd'ly refer, to the extent to whICh
something represents or measures what it purports to represent
or measure, When diagnostic measures do not represent what
they purport to represeet, we say that the measc tes lack
va lidity " The DiagnostIC and StaNs/ica! Manual (DSM-/V)
pUblished by the American Psychiat ric Associa~on ,. IS notorious
for IQW scientIfIC valid ity :
Understanding this
fraudulent dlagf'OSbC
premise, we can see why
psyetliatry and
psychology. entrus ted
With bi llions of dollars to
eradicate the proble~ et
the mind. halle Cleated
and perpetuated them.
The ir drug panaceas
cause senseees acts of
voieoce. suic ide , sexual
dys function, irreversible
nervous sys tem damage,
r-arocrnauone. apath y,
,rrrtabllity, armocs ness. os vcnosrs and death And with virtuCllly
uorestramed psycn :atnc dru99lnt;l of so many or OUl'
schoolchildrerl. ~ is no surpns e that the la ro; est a ~ 8 group of
murderel S 100'ay die our ts-to-ts. year-ocs.
CCHR's membelS ir,clude promlroerol doctors, lawyers, arti sts.
..cccarors. civil and human rights recreseotaw es arc
ororess.ooats who vee 11 as me« duty 10 ' expose and nelp
,1bolPsh any and all l=h} s'cally damagrng pr'Kl'ces.n the ne.o of
menta l he,l l'nq • T~ eY "' {)f k to accomplish thew clearly Slated
aims w,lh many uce-mmded mdividuals a-d qroups. ,"clud ,ng
pol ,~c , ans, teachers. health croreeecoers . go ,ernment and I;I'N 6,)
hltn ;/'''IW'N caw NQj", t'i1 li oaae0 1 him d f\IUbi2U0.1
What IS CCHH"t - Cinzeris Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)
enforcement officers and media.
Page 3 of 1.,
}
WHAT IS CCHRI ~ CCHR It AC'ItON ISSUD'~ TQ.ICI NEWS PUIUCA110NS
Today, 133 chapters strong in 34 countries, CCHR has
established itself as a powerful human rights advocacy group
and each year presents its Human Rights Awards to individuals
who display exemplary courage in the worldwide fight for the
restoration of basic human rights in the mental health area.
Back to the top of this section
~~ . ~'iI!:I:?:Y?
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Austin from f le"ca .....as ha,l.,d as "!I'le poste' child· for An6f1hor'l
Deficit Hype'acli..,ty Disorder {ADHD) He had been k ; <::~ ed out
of 1 I prcs<::hools '" Ihree years for domg e" eI)'thing from
shOl>hng cbscenmes and h,lbng oft-er children to poking a
teacher In the eye w,lh a cenor. He .....as prescr ibed stimulants
[Jut aeer a blockallll .....as removed from nrs c olo n. he suddiffi ty
slopped terrOl"iZ'~ hIS te achers af'ld c!assmales Austin. who ,S
now 9, was ablll la si t quietly and was a joy to be around, "The
tlad bettavlors dIsappe ar as soon as the ;mpacbOl1 is removed:
sa,d Or, PaUl Hyman. ch ief of perna tric gaslroanterology at the
Univets.ty 01 Kansas Med'cel Cen ter ;n Kansa s City .
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A ps ychologiSI who diagnosed a young
boy .....Ith Aspercer s Syndrome
rec;omm ended beh.. ..lQral programs and a
psy<:oolropic drug Howe..er. tests by
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plocessin " problem, The boy was acoog
up in class because he ccuk m't ~ e ar
properly
Eaen ye.1r, ecoooeos or such example ~
are reponed to Clt,zens Commission on
Human R'gtus (CCHRj cnect e-s around l --'~_ _J
me ...atld ' 'I'r>rie CCHR does net nsen gl..e
rne-drca t ad..ICe. standard. non-psyct uamc medica l care IS
strongly ad..oc ated It has long been u-e poIIc)' of CCHR Ihat
<I n)'O'' e ,....,Ih d rnen tal coodlhon sr'loUld firSl set! .l competent.
n on~ s y c;hl <l tn c pbys.cian to en sure that an und,ag l"lOse<1.
uotreated ~ /'l ) s . cal condltlO/'l JS nol C41uw'g 'psy<::h,atn, '
sywploms. r t.s can sa..e a person frOt"l beIng n eedlessly
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Topic: Doctors - Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Page 2 of ?"
.J
medicine by psychiatrists whose contribution threatens to
pervert not only the position, honor, humanity and value of
medicine, but to wreck the lives of millions of patients who
simply came to medicine for help.
Back to top of section
:. WHAT ~ CCHRI CCHR 11~ : ISSUEI TOPICS N!WI I'UBUCAT10NS
':s.']t"'~ ,,,,~'o::)!1'fl Inf.j0 c, ,ne l:~l.itl:t· df C;Uf::'!l~e((:'~y
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\.1
ill reply cease cuote
21 June 2004
Mr C Brightmore
Dear Mr Brightmore
GMTO/AG
GENERAL
M.EOICAL
COUNCIL
Prttf"dln.'l/,dlJc'lIf'.
,'j111,Jln,'1 ,I,'o,'r,
I write to notify you of the outcome of the Fitness to Practise Sub Group's decision
following the meeting you attended on 16 June 2004.
As you are aware, the meeting had been convened to consider the concerns about
your conduct at the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) hearing on
19 January 2004, when you did not disclose, when asked in open session by the
panel chairman, Professor MacKay, your links with the Church of ScientoJogy and
subsequently when you did disclose that you had some links you did not disclose
that you had been a Commissioner for the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights
(CCHR), which was founded by the Church of Scientology.
The Sub Group had before them, and had read in advance of the meeting, a bundle
of papers containing all the relevant documents, including your letter of 3 April 2004
to Or Trowel! A copy of that bundle had also been sent to you in advance of the
meeting; when asked by the Sub Group Chairman you confirmed that you had
received it. You also confirmed that you had received information about the interests
of the Sub Group members.
The Sub Group gave careful consideration to the explanation you gave about your
actions both in your general address and in answer to the questions put to you. They
noted your admission that you had been wrong not to disclose that you had been a
Commissioner for the CCHR and your apology for any embarrassment caused to the
PCC and. in particular, to Professor MacKay.
They also recognised the dilemma you faced when, shortly before a break in the
proceedings, Professor MacKay asked whether any members of the panel had any
links with the Church of Scientology The Sub Group accept that you intended to,
and Indeed did. inform Professor MacKay during the break in proceedings of an
Involvement with the Church of Scientology. However. by not responding to the
question posed by Professor MacKay while the PCC were In public session you gave
a false and misleading impression that you had no links With the Church of
Scientoloqy.
, I,.;
. I, ,1 '1
; I
The Sub Group were concerned to note that the information you gave
Professor MacKay did not fully reflect the full extent of your links with the Church of
Scientology. When asked, you indicated that you knew little about the Church of
Scientology or the CCHR when you agreed to become a Commissioner and that as
your knowledge had increased you had felt increasingly uncomfortable and had
resigned. You explained that you did not make full and frank disclosure of your links
with the Church of Scientology because you were embarrassed and did not wish to
appear foolish .The Sub Group concluded that your actions showed a serious lack of
judgment. You were prepared to mislead Professor MacKay on two occasions to try
and avoid appearing foolish. Your actions not only demonstrated errors of judgment
but inevitably also raised questions about your integrity and probity.
The Sub Group then considered what action, if any, they should take. They
concluded that given the seriousness of your conduct it was necessary to take
action. In deciding on that action, they took into account your suggestion that they
might issue a formal reprimand and make it a condition that you do not sit on any
panels dealing with cases where the CCHR have drawn the matter to the attention of
the GMC or, if the Sub Group thought it necessary, any case involving a psychiatrist.
The Sub Group also bore in mind the importance of maintaining the trust and
confidence of the public and the medical profession in its fitness to practise
procedures, which requires the highest standards of integrity, impartiality and
objectivity of all panellists.
The Sub Group first considered, as required by paragraph 9 of the procedure for
dealing with concerns about panellists, whether remedial action was appropriate.
They concluded it was not as the concerns raised about you included matters
relating to integrity and probity that cannot be changed by remedial action.
The Sub Group next considered whether you should continue to be allowed to sit on
panels. They considered the possibility of restricting your service to panels that did
not concern cases involving the CCHR or psychiatrists. They concluded, however,
that this would be inappropriate. Your failure to disclose your links with the Church
of Scientology when specifically asked by Professor MacKay in public was a serious
error of judgment and, in the opinion of the Sub Group, undermined the principles of
openness, transparency and impartiality that are fundamental to the work of the
panels. You compounded that error by only partially disclosing to Professor MacKay,
in private. the extent of your links with the Church of Scientology. It was not until
after the telephone call you received from Lady McNair several days later alerting
you to events at the PCC hearing that you fully disclosed to Professor MacKay the
extent of those links. The Sub Group concluded that those errors of judgment
demonstrated a lack of the highest standards of integrity that the GMC demands of
Its panellists.
Taking account of all the circumstances, the Sub Group concluded that if you were
allowed 10 sit on any panels in future it could raise questions about the integrity of
those panels. That would be unfair to the doctors appearing before the panels, the
witnesses arid the Wider public. The Sub Group therefore concluded that you should
no longer continue to be empanelled to sit on any fitness to practise panel
l'r,'I,·(IIn.'! l'lllll'ili',
, I
.'1'lJ"~tJ.{; (,u
l
( I 'f\ 2
As required by paragraph 11 c of the procedure for dealing with concerns about
panell ists. I am copying this letter to the President. to Dr Trowell in her capacity of
Chairman of the Fitness to Pract ise Committee and to Professor MacKay who
initially raised the concerns.
Yours sincerely
Graziella Oragano
Head of Committee Development Team
020 7915 3440
Fax 020 7915 3696
Email: goragano@gmc-uk.org
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It 'S -:108'_ f,em O,s...,.I,,', letter 012 1 JU~, r-.al tM St,h·G' oup re;"'9"tSoo ~our
~dm" n l on ~.. I 'l Ot. hi :! be en wrorlg 1"\01to e-sciose yo,., I n v O l v e l"le ~ 1 "",rh Itle
C, ti l e n~ ' Corn er- IU; "" on Huma'l RigNs {CC HR) a nd yo" , apology I1 s " '" !;Iea,
t ~8t It>ey ccn s oered t~ ~ p",.ib,roty 01'eslnding your s~ 10 cases ....h,ch die! not
;1. 0'... l h ~ CC-lR or pstch'll!.iats. bul tha l the y If d nee ::o ~W:l e r that app' o""" te
~ klly ~o; n l was .... he r- .. ~ o ur pres.mea Or'! ¥\Y I"' oel m'9h! g,ve r ise to questoors
at O'a6, ru t or psfce Vl'O . ...n ch would o,.n ,n'o QUeuon me ,nlDlll"ty of n-ose pane's
and thus ,.,,,p. ,- "'.e r-e proo;ndirl gs The Sub-Croup C<ll'clud ed ll... ..t t woLll! and
tMl Ih;, W(>,J IJ Il<t unf il " 10 the pa rI,.... to l"iOSe pt"ocee<l,ngs a nd Ilro<.\erm,ne the
ce-ree rce ollhe widp, fl u ~ l j c
I ;tw,e cl;tl(' I'tal ye ,", a rt d 'S;;lpf:Ol rted w,Ih II1e Oul o::<' ...... ar /tle S ~ b - G ' u u p mee ll'Q
W I am sat,s f e<l I'l l! l'le d"" isio n re ~ ~ h..d wa~ OCrfed
','., " . " ,,·-,11., ,,- " " .-
"'''''--' ' ' .'''- ' ' " ' " ,,

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Here's the Tribunal's Decision:

IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL EA/2009/0063
GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER
[INFORMATION RIGHTS]
ON APPEAL FROM:
Information Commissioner’s Decision Notice: FS50241410
Dated: 20 July 2009
Appellant: WILLIAM THACKERAY
Respondent: THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
Additional Party: THE GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL
On the papers
Date of hearing:18 January 2010
Date of Decision: 23 February 2010
Before
Annabel Pilling (Judge)
Suzanne Cosgrave
and
Andrew Whetnall
Attendances:
For the Appellant: William Thackeray
For the Respondent: Clare Nicholson
For the Additional Party: Timothy Pitt-Payne
Subject matter:
FOIA Absolute exemptions – Personal data s.40
1
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
Cases:
Johnson v Medical Defence Union [2006] EWHC 321 (Ch)
Blake v Information Commissioner and Wiltshire County Council EA/2009/0026
Common Services Agency v Scottish Information Commissioner [2008] UKHL 47
Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner and Norman Baker MP (EA/2006/0015 and 0016)
Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner (EA/2006/0074)
Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner, Brooke and others (EA/2007/0060) and [2008] EWHC 1084 (Admin)
IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL EA/2009/0063
GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER
[INFORMATION RIGHTS]
DECISION OF THE FIRST -TIER TRIBUNAL
The Appeal is allowed and the Decision Notice dated 20 July 2010 is substituted by the following notice:
SUBSTITUTED DECISION NOTICE
Dated 22 February 2010
Public authority:
THE GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL
Address of Public authority:
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW
The Substituted Decision
For the reasons set out in the Tribunal’s Decision and Annex to the Decision, the substituted decision is that the public authority failed to deal with the request for information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000; the disputed information does not fall within the exemption in section 40(2) and should have been disclosed.
2
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
Action Required
The General Medical Council must now disclose to the Requestor the information identified in the Annex to the Decision to ensure compliance. The authority must do so within 35 calendar days from the date of this Substituted Decision Notice.
Dated this 22 February 2010
Signed
Annabel Pilling
Judge
3
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
Reasons for Decision
Introduction
1. This is an Appeal by Mr. William Thackeray against a Decision Notice issued by the Information Commissioner (the ‘Commissioner’) dated 20 July 2009. The Decision Notice relates to a request for information made by Mr. Thackeray to the General Medical Council (the ‘GMC’) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the ‘FOIA’).
Background
2. The GMC was first established under the Medical Act 1858. It is the independent statutory regulator for doctors in the UK. Its overall purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. It is a registered charity both in England and Wales. Its constitution and function are now governed by the Medical Act 1983, as amended, which sets out the four main functions of the GMC:
i) keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors;
ii) fostering good medical practice;
iii) promoting high standards of medical education;
iv) dealing firmly and fairly with doctors whose fitness to practise is in doubt.
3. The GMC’s current fitness to practise procedures came into effect in November 2004. Prior to that date, when an allegation was made to the GMC that a registered practitioner was guilty of serious professional misconduct the allegation was first considered by a screener and referred to the Preliminary Proceedings Committee if it was considered sufficiently serious. If that Committee considered that there was a case to answer, the case was referred to the Professional Conduct Committee (the ‘PCC’).
4
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
4. Under the provisions extant at the time of the events giving rise to Mr Thackeray’s request for information, if the PCC determined that a registered practitioner was guilty of serious professional misconduct, it had a number of options open to it. These included, in certain cases, directing that the registered practitioner’s name be removed for the Register which prevented the individual from practising medicine, unless and until he was restored to the Register.
5. At the relevant time, the constitution of GMC committees was governed by The General Medical Council (Constitution of Fitness to Practice Committees) Rules Order of Council 1996, as amended. The GMC maintained a list of medical and lay persons entitled to sit on various Fitness to Practise Panels (Committees), including the PCC.
6. The quorum for the panel (committee) was three, to include a chair, who could be either medical or lay, a medical panellist and a lay panellist. The policy of the GMC was that five persons would be empanelled in order to protect the quorum. The procedure for selecting panellists for individual hearings depended on the length of hearings but in all cases was based on information provided by panellists about their availability, the need to meet statutory requirements relating to the constitution of committees and the GMC’s policy that panels should be diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity.
7. Medical and lay panellists were, and still are, appointed by open competition against certain identified competencies. Although not public appointments, an independent assessor from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (the ‘OCPA’) directly monitors the recruitment process. At the time panellists were appointed for a five year term of office that could be renewed for a further term of office, subject to satisfactory performance.
8. Mr. Thackeray’s request for information concerned a fitness to practise hearing relating to a particular doctor, referred to in this Decision as Dr. A, and a particular lay panellist, referred to in this Decision as Mr. B. Mr. B. served as a lay panellist on the PCC and a number of other fitness to practise committees from 21 September 2001 to 21 June 2004. The fact that he no longer sits as a panellist is
5
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
information that is in the public domain; on 1 April 2009 this information was disclosed to Mr Thackeray by the GMC following a separate request for information under FOIA.
9. Between 19 January 2004 and 18 June 2004 a PCC sat to consider the case of Dr. A. At the start of that hearing, Mr. B was one of the panellists of that PCC. The hearing extended over 11 days, 10 days of which were conducted in public. There was then a resumed hearing of the case, lasting a single day, on 1 July 2005.
10. Dr. A was a consultant psychiatrist. The allegations against him before the PCC in summary related to: failure properly to monitor certain patients to whom Dr. A had prescribed medication; adverse comments made by Dr. A about certain other medical professionals; and other connected matters.
11. On the morning of the first day of the hearing on 19 January 2004, Counsel for Dr. A raised an allegation that one of the complaints against Dr. A was fraudulent, in that it did not emanate from the person from whom it was purported to come (namely the mother of the child patient), but instead came from an organisation called the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights (the ‘CCHR’) which was described by Counsel as “the Church of Scientology’s organisation”.
12. The Chairman of the PCC stated, having checked with the other panellists during the open hearing, that none of them had links with the Church of Scientology. The PCC then adjourned until 2pm. At the recommencement of the hearing, the Chairman of the PCC informed the parties that one member of the PCC had, in the course of previous employment, looked at some work that the Church of Scientology was involved in with regard to drug addiction. As a result of an application by Counsel for Dr. A that the committee member in question step down, Mr. B stood down from the PCC and played no further part on the hearing. Since it was Mr. B who stood down, it would have been apparent that it was Mr. B whose contact with the Church of Scientology had been referred to.
13. On 26 January 2004 (day four of the hearing of the PCC) an issue was raised as to whether Mr. B was the same individual whose name appeared on the letterhead
6
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
from the CCHR as being a Commissioner of that organisation. On 27 January 2004, the Chairman of the PCC, having spoken to Mr. B, informed the parties that Mr. B had been a Commissioner of the CCHR but had resigned that position on 1 January 2001.
The request for information
14. By e-mail dated 5 February 2009 Mr. Thackeray made the following request for information to the GMC:
a) Please provide the minutes of Fitness to Practise Panel case of [Dr. A], held in June/July 2006.
b) Please provide details of any other cases in which [Mr. B] served on the panel.
c) Please provide copies of internal communications relating to [Mr. B] in connection with Scientology organisations over the past 5 years.
By ‘Scientology organisations’ I mean organisations which promote, recruit members for, or raise money for, Church of Scientology, Religious Education College Incorporated ( a US corporation which has been denied charitable status in the UK).
To the best of my knowledge a list of such organisations would include:
Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom) Ltd/ Citizens Commission on Human Rights International/ Jive Acres/ Church of Scientology Inc/ Greenfields School/ Greenfields Educational Trust/ Hubbard Foundation/ ABLE/ Applied Scholastics International/ Narconon/ Criminon/ The Way to Happiness Foundation International/ Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc/ Office of Special Affairs (OSA)/ Sea Org/ Youth for Human Rights International.
15. On 5 March 2009 the GMC provided the information requested in part (a) of the Request. It also provided the information in part (b) except for the names of the complainants in the private hearings that Mr. B sat on. In relation to part (c), the
7
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
GMC confirmed that it held the requested information, but withheld it on the basis that it was exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of FOIA, applying section 40(3)(a)(i); that is, the information was personal data of Mr. B and its disclosure would breach the first data protection principle set out in the Data Protection Act (the ‘DPA’).
16. Mr. Thackeray was dissatisfied with the response in relation to part (c) of his Request and requested an internal review on 5 March 2009. He asked for more information to be provided about why disclosure would breach the first data protection principle. He also made a new Request for the transcript of the hearing covered in part (a) of his Request.
17. On 20 March 2009 the GMC provided Mr. Thackeray with the transcripts of the hearing in relation to the Fitness to Practise Panel of Dr. A.
18. On 24 March 2009 the GMC responded to the request for an internal review. It provided more detailed reasons as to why it considered that disclosure of this information would breach the first data protection principle and upheld the initial decision that the information requested is exempt through the provisions of section 40(2) of FOIA.
19. On 25 March 2009 Mr. Thackeray asked if it was possible to redact the documents in order not to reveal the withheld information. The GMC responded on 30 March 2009, concluding that redaction would not enable it to avoid a breach of the first data protection principle.
The complaint to the Information Commissioner
20. Mr. Thackeray contacted the Commissioner on 30 March 2009 to complain about the way his request had been handled. He specifically asked the Commissioner to consider the following points:
a) That section 40(2) of FOIA should not apply because the information may relate to an individual’s improper conduct in a public role.
8
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
b) That the Commissioner considers whether there is the possibility of the GMC releasing a redacted copy of the withheld information to show the internal process of the public authority.
c) That the Commissioner notes that he was satisfied with the procedural matters in this case and the way the staff of the GMC had engaged with him.
21. On 19 May 2009 the Commissioner wrote to Mr. Thackeray to set the scope of his investigation at the handling of part (c) of the original Request. On 21 May 2009 Mr. Thackeray confirmed that he was satisfied with the scope of the case.
22. The Information Commissioner then investigated the substantive complaint, receiving additional arguments from Mr. Thackeray and the GMC.
23. He issued a Decision Notice on 20 July 2009.
24. The Commissioner found that the following facts were already in the public domain:
• Mr. B had been connected to the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights (the ‘CCHR’)
• Mr. B had been a Commissioner of the CCHR but had resigned on 1 January 2001
• Mr. B served as a Panellist between 21 September 2001 and 21 June 2004.
25. The Commissioner concluded that the disputed information was the personal information of Mr. B. As to the data protection principles, the Commissioner considered the requirement in the first data protection principle that data should be processed fairly. He concluded that disclosure would be unfair processing, as it would be contrary to Mr. B’s legitimate expectations, and would cause him unnecessary or unjustified damage. The Commissioner did not address any other aspects of the data protection principles, such as whether disclosure would satisfy any of the conditions in Schedule 2 or (if applicable) Schedule 3 to the DPA. The Commissioner therefore concluded that the GMC was correct in applying section 40(2) of FOIA (by virtue of section 40(3)(a)(i)) and dismissed the complaint.
9
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
The Appeal to the Tribunal
26. Mr. Thackeray appealed to the Tribunal on 30 July 2009.
27. The issue raised in the grounds of appeal is whether disclosure of the disputed information would breach the data protection principles.
28. The Tribunal joined the GMC as an Additional Party.
29. The Appeal has been determined without a hearing on the basis of written submissions and an agreed bundle of documents. A large part of this bundle contained material about Scientology and the CCHR. Mr. Thackeray requested that this information be included in order to demonstrate the significance of Mr. B’s failure to declare his link with the CCHR and the Church of Scientology when sitting as a Panellist. In particular, we have read extracts from the “Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology” report prepared by Sir John Foster in 1971 for the government of the United Kingdom1, a copy of the Church of Scientology “Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release”2 and viewed a short film about the Church of Scientology’s 2006 “Campaign for the Global Obliteration of Psychiatry”.
30. In addition, the Tribunal was provided with a Closed bundle of documents. This bundle included pages of the transcript of the fitness to practise hearing of Dr. A which have already been disclosed to Mr. Thackeray.
31. The Closed bundle also contained a copy of the disputed information. This was not made available to Mr. Thackeray , as to disclose it to him would defeat the purpose of this Appeal.
32. In order to preserve the confidentiality of the disputed information pending any Appeal, we have not referred to its contents in this Decision but have prepared an Annex to this Decision. This Annex is to be kept confidential pending the resolution of any Appeal from our Decision or is to be disclosed upon the expiry of time within
1 For example, at Chapter 7 paragraph 184: “The Scientology leadership sees in psychiatrists an especially virulent class of enemy..” and references to the attempt by Scientologists to take over the National Association for Mental Health in 1969 which resulted in High Court action.
2 Which states at paragraph 2(g): “Scientology is unalterably opposed, as a matter of religious belief, to the practice of psychiatry…” 10
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
which any Appeal should be lodged. Mr. Thackeray must be joined as a party if there is an Appeal against this Decision.
33. Although we may not refer to every document in this Decision, we have considered all the material placed before us. The GMC considers that “much” of the material provided by Mr. Thackeray concerning the Church of Scientology to be very old and “all of it” to be remote from the issues with which this Appeal is concerned. We disagree with this submission and are of the opinion that this case must be considered in light of the factual background concerning the Church of Scientology in connection with psychiatry.
34. We have considered in detail the written submissions from the parties although we do not begin to rehearse every argument in this Decision.
The Powers of the Tribunal
35. The Tribunal’s powers in relation to appeals under section 57 of the FOIA are set out in section 58 of the FOIA, as follows:
(1) If on an appeal under section 57 the Tribunal considers-
(a) that the notice against which the appeal is brought is not in accordance with the law, or
(b) to the extent that the notice involved an exercise of discretion by the Commissioner, that he ought to have exercised his discretion differently,
the Tribunal shall allow the appeal or substitute such other notice as could have been served by the Commissioner; and in any other case the Tribunal shall dismiss the appeal.
On such an appeal, the Tribunal may review any finding of fact on which the notice in question was based.
36. The starting point for the Tribunal is the Decision Notice of the Commissioner but the Tribunal also receives and hears evidence, which is not limited to the material that was before the Commissioner. The Tribunal, having considered the evidence 11
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
(and it is not bound by strict rules of evidence), may make different findings of fact from the Commissioner and consider the Decision Notice is not in accordance with the law because of those different facts. Nevertheless, if the facts are not in dispute, the Tribunal must consider whether FOIA has been applied correctly. If the facts are decided differently by the Tribunal, or the Tribunal comes to a different conclusion based on the same facts, that will involve a finding that the Decision Notice was not in accordance with the law.
37. The question of whether the exemption in section 40(2)(a) of FOIA is engaged, is a question of law based upon the analysis of the facts. This is not a case where the Commissioner was required to exercise his discretion.
The Legal Framework
38. Under section 1(1) of FOIA, any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled, subject to other provisions of the Act, (a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds the information requested, and (b) if so, to have that information communicated to him.
39. The section 1(1)(b) duty of the public authority to provide the information requested will not apply where the information is exempt by virtue of any provision of Part II of FOIA. The exemptions provided for under Part II fall into two classes: absolute exemptions and qualified exemptions. Where the information is subject to a qualified exemption, it will only be exempt from disclosure if, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information (section 2(2)(b)). Section 40(2)(a) of FOIA is an absolute exemption. Information that falls within this section is therefore exempt from disclosure regardless of the public interest considerations.
40. The issue for determination in this Appeal is whether the disputed information is exempt under section 40(2) of FOIA.
41. The relevant part of section 40(2) of FOIA provides:
(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt information if-
12
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1), and
(b) either the first or second condition below is satisfied.
(3) The first condition is –
(a) In a case where the information falls within any of the paragraphs (a) to (d) of the definition of ‘data’ in section 1 (1) of the 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)…..
42. Section 1(1) of the DPA defines “personal data”:
“..data which relates to a living individual who can be identified-
(a) from those data, or
(b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller.”
43. There is no dispute that the disputed information, held by the GMC as the data controller, constitutes “personal data” and does not fall within subsection 1 (personal data of the Requestor).
44. Under section 40(2), personal data of third parties is exempt if disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles set out in Part I of Schedule 1 of the DPA (as interpreted in accordance with Part II of Schedule 1), or section 10 of the DPA (right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress).
45. The data protection principles regulate the way in which a “data controller” (in this instance, the GMC) must “process” personal data. The word “process” is defined in section 1(1) of the DPA and includes:
13
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
“disclosure of the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available.”
46. The first data protection principle provides:
Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless –
(a) at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and
(b) in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.
47. So far as the second requirement of the first data protection principle is concerned, the DPA does not specify what is meant by “lawful” processing. We consider that disclosure where that disclosure is prohibited by statute would certainly not be lawful processing. Disclosure of information that would give rise to a civil liability, for example, because it would amount to a breach of confidence, also might not constitute lawful processing. In this Appeal, no party has argued that disclosure of the disputed information would be unlawful.
48. The relevant condition in Schedule 2 of the DPA is said by the Commissioner and the GMC to be condition (6) 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.”
Submissions and analysis
49. There is an inherent tension between the objective of freedom of information and the objective of protecting personal data. It has been observed that section 40(2) of FOIA is a “complex provision”3. There is no presumption that openness and transparency of the activities of public authorities should take priority over personal privacy. In the words of Lord Hope of Craighead in Common Services Agency v
3 Blake v Information Commissioner and Wiltshire County Council EA/2009/0026
14
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
Scottish Information Commissioner4 (referring to the equivalent provisions in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the ‘FOISA’):
“In my opinion there is no presumption in favour of the release of personal data under the general obligation that FOISA lays down. The references which that Act makes to provisions of DPA 1998 must be understood in the light of the legislative purposes of that Act, which was to implement Council Directive 95/46/EC. The guiding principle is the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of persons, and in particular their right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data….”
Fair processing
50. Part II of Schedule 1 of the DPA includes matters to be taken into account in interpreting the data protection principles. Paragraphs 1 to 4 of Part II of Schedule 1 provide interpretive guidance as to the requirement to process fairly. Paragraph 1 is concerned with the manner in which the data are obtained, including in particular whether any person from whom the data are obtained is deceived or misled as to the purpose or purposes for which they are to be processed; Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 set out circumstances in which personal data are either not to be treated as processed fairly or to be treated as processed fairly, and relate to requirements to provide certain information to data subjects. These matters are not exhaustive and the test of fairness is a general one and is not confined to a consideration of whether those requirements have been met. Even where there is compliance with paragraph 2 then the processing may still be unfair on general grounds (Johnson v Medical Defence Union [2006] EWHC 321 (Ch) paragraph 114 onwards.) No party directly addressed Part II of Schedule 1, either in submissions or in evidence, but we have taken these matters into account when considering the issue of fairness in this case.
51. The Commissioner and the GMC submit that there would be a breach of the first data protection principle if the disputed information were disclosed as the processing, that is, disclosure under FOIA, would not be fair. In considering
4 [2008] UKHL 47
15
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
whether the processing would be fair, the Commissioner took the following matters into account5:
(i) Mr. B’s reasonable expectation of what would happen to his personal data and whether disclosure would be compatible with the purpose(s) for which it was obtained;
(ii) Whether Mr. B’s seniority (or otherwise) would affect his expectations as to disclosure;
(iii) Whether the information in the public domain (as set out in paragraph 16 of the Decision Notice and repeated at paragraph 24 of this Decision) would reduce Mr. B’s expectation of privacy in this case;
(iv) Whether disclosure of the disputed information would cause any unnecessary or unjustified damage to the individual; and
(v) The legitimate interests of the public knowing about any possible process in force, and the necessity for the public to have confidence in Fitness to Practice panellists.
52. Mr. Thackeray, who was unrepresented in this Appeal, disagrees with the weight given to the arguments in favour of disclosure in respect of these issues. As he has not seen the disputed information, necessarily his submissions are generalised and speculative. Having read the disputed information we would record that it is, in fact, much narrower in scope than Mr. Thackeray assumes.
53. Mr. Thackeray submits that Mr. B’s expectations of the way his personal data would be treated in his role as a panellist for the GMC’s PCC would be governed by his:
• Employment contract,
• Conditions of service,
• Code of Conduct for Panellists,
• Pre-existing expectations of the way his personal data would be treated, and the way that this might be affected by his conduct, in a role in public life.
5 Decision Notice paragraphs 22-34 16
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
54. He submits that by not declaring his connection to Scientology, in light of the published opposition to psychiatry and psychiatrists, Mr. B may have breached the ethical conditions of his new role and committed misconduct; that is, it is a conflict of interests for an individual connected with a Scientology organisation to sit as a panellist on PCC matters for the GMC, even where the CCHR is not the subject of an allegation of fraud as in the case of Dr. A. Mr. Thackeray submits that Mr. B can have no reasonable expectation that such misconduct would be kept private.
55. He submits that the following matters should be taken into account when considering the legitimate interests of the public in disclosure:
• Possible prejudice to any previous hearing where Mr. B was a panellist;
• Possible future “misconduct” or undeclared conflict of interest if Mr. B remains employed in the public sector;
• Doctors and the public need to have confidence that the GMC’s professional standards committees are both objective and independent;
• The public should prevent “manipulation” of health bodies and professional standards processes by members of an “organised campaign against psychiatry” that is well-financed and global;
• It is not in the wider public interest of society for the religious views of Scientology to have a disproportionate influence on public policy or the careers of individual doctors;
• The public has an interest in knowing about attempts to influence public policy and public perceptions of mental health practitioners and to influence the careers if individual psychiatrists;
• The scrutiny of GMC internal processes concerning:
(i) appointment of panellists;
(ii) selection of panellists for a particular hearing;
(iii) action taken by the GMC once the “non-declaration” became known.
56. The GMC drew our attention to a number of cases decided by differently constituted panels of this Tribunal in which the first data protection principle in the context of 17
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
section 40(2) of FOIA had been considered, notably in a series of cases involving MPs’ expenses6. We were directed to paragraphs 61- 65 of the Baker case which summarised the arguments put forward by the Commissioner in that Appeal7.
Our Findings
57. Although, in their submissions, the Commissioner and the GMC approached the question of whether section 40(2) of FOIA is engaged by considering first whether the processing is fair before commencing a consideration of whether a condition in Schedule 2 (or, if applicable, Schedule 3) is met, we have reached our decision by considering first whether a condition is met and, taking that into account “in particular”, whether the processing is fair and lawful8. This is in line with the Awareness Guidance notes issued by the Commissioner9 which, in the detailed Guidance, advises that:
“In the context of the FOIA, we recommend that you consider whether disclosure satisfies one of the specific conditions [in Schedule 2, or 3 as appropriate] first, before moving on to the general consideration of fairness and lawfulness.”
58. In the Brooke case, the Panel gave useful guidance on applying paragraph 6 of Schedule 210. This was upheld on appeal by the High Court and can be summarised as the following three part test:
(1) There must be a legitimate public interest in disclosure;
(2) The disclosure must be necessary to meet that public interest; and
(3) The disclosure must not cause unwarranted harm to the interests of the individual.
6 (see Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner and Norman Baker MP (EA/2006/0015 and 0016 (“the Baker case”), Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner (EA/2006/0074) (“the Moffat case”) and Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner, Brooke and others (EA/2007/0060) (“the Brooke case”)and [2008] EWHC 1084 (Admin)).
7 Counsel for the Commissioner in the Baker case was Mr. Pitt-Payne who represents the GMC in the present Appeal.
8 Following Common Services Agency v Scottish Information Commissioner, paragraph 30.
9 Awareness Guidance on “The exemption for personal information” (Version 3 11 November 2008)
10 At paragraphs 60 and 61.
18
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
59. In deciding whether disclosure satisfies one of the conditions in Schedule 2, that is, condition 6, we must therefore consider the balance between competing interests, a test that is similar to the balance that applies under the public interest test for qualified exemptions under FOIA. We adopt what was said in the Baker case and approved in the Moffat case, that this test requires a consideration of the balance between (i) the legitimate interests of those to whom the data would be disclosed (which in this context are members of the public) and (ii) prejudice to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the data subject (which in this case is Mr. B). However because the processing must be “necessary” for the legitimate interests of members of the public to apply we find that only where (i) outweighs (ii) should the personal data be disclosed.
60. The GMC accept that there is a legitimate public interest: (i) in understanding how Dr. A’s case was dealt with and (ii) more generally, in understanding how the GMC’s panel system operates. It submits that disclosure would contribute nothing of value in relation to (i) and very little in relation to (ii) and therefore disclosure is not necessary. The GMC goes on to address how disclosure is unwarranted as it would defeat Mr. B’s expectations about the use of information and would cause him unnecessary and unjustified damage. We consider that the legitimate public interest in disclosure goes further than the GMC submits. The public interest can be said to be particularly significant in relation to the GMC and its operation and in particular in relation to the time the panel involving Mr B took place. Although no party referred to the Shipman Inquiry11 we are aware that in the period of its duration, from February 2001 until June 2005, the focus was on the issue of how doctors were regulated and in our opinion indicates that there was a considerable amount of public interest in the topic. The Inquiry’s Stage 4 involved consideration of “Disciplinary rules for general medical practitioners and the operation of the disciplinary processes operated within the NHS and by the General Medical Council. “ The Inquiry’s 5th Report was published in November 2004 addressed specifically the GMC’s Fitness to Practise procedures. (for example, chapters 15).
11 Established by Parliament and chaired by Dame Janet Smith DBE, a High Court Judge. 19
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
61. Having considered all these interests, we find that the legitimate interests of members of the public outweigh the prejudice to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of Mr. B. Our detailed reasoning is given in the Annex to this Decision and, for the reasons given, we therefore find that condition 6 of Schedule 2 is met.
62. In deciding whether the processing is fair, we have also considered the general factors as identified by the parties. The legitimate interests of the public are a relevant consideration in both the consideration of whether the processing is fair and also whether condition 6 of Schedule 2 is met.
63. We agree with the findings of previous Tribunals that there is a distinction to be drawn between personal data relating to an individual’s public and his private life. This is a proper consideration to take into account when making the generalised assessment of fairness that is required under the first data protection principle. But we also agree with the comments made in the Baker case that “where data subjects carry out public functions, hold elective office or spend public funds they must have the expectation that their public actions will be subject to greater scrutiny than would be the case in respect of their private lives. This principle still applies even where a few aspects of their private lives are intertwines with their public lives but where the vast majority of processing of personal data relates to the data subject’s public life.”
Mr. B’s reasonable expectations as to disclosure
64. We were not provided with a copy of the GMC’s Data Protection Register – Entry Details but one Panel member obtained a copy in time for our deliberations. This sets out the 13 purposes for which data is held by the GMC and we consider that it is essential to examine this to draw a conclusion as to what reasonable expectation Mr. B would have regarding the disclosure of his personal data. Looking at Purpose 9, along with the Conditions of Service for Non-GMC Members of the Professional Conduct Committee and Committee on Professional Performance, we fail to understand the basis upon which the GMC and Commissioner argue that Mr. B would have had the expectation that data such as the disputed information would be kept confidential. We acknowledge that the argument appears to be correct
20
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
intuitively but we find no evidence to support it in light of the Data Protection Register entry.
65. We consider that the word “reasonable” is the guiding principle here. We were mindful of the seven principles of public life, now referred to as the Nolan Principles, which are clearly stated to apply to all those who serve the public in any way. If an individual’s conduct or behaviour falls below the acceptable standard in connection with a public role, they cannot reasonably assume that details about that behaviour would be kept private. In this case, Mr. B had undertaken a public role of particular sensitivity; protecting the public from doctors who are not fit to practise. Undertaking a role that involves sitting in judgment of others requires high standards of behaviour and propriety, avoiding acting in a way which does or may give rise to a conflict of interests. We do not consider that Mr. B can have had any reasonable expectation of privacy concerning the disputed information. We give further reasons for this conclusion in the Annex to this Decision.
Seniority
66. We agree with the Commissioner12 that a distinction can be drawn between the information which senior staff should expect to have disclosed about them compared to what information junior staff should expect to have disclosed about them. The rationale for this distinction is that the more senior a member of staff is, the more likely it is that they will be responsible for making influential policy decisions and/or decisions related to the expenditure of significant amounts of public funds. The GMC submits that Mr B’s individual role should not be overstated because he was a lay (i.e.non-medical) panellist, and usually would sit as one member of a five person panel. We agree with Mr Thackeray’s submissions that lay members do not have a lesser ‘voice’ on a panel than other members. The Commissioner also recognised that Mr. B is a “relatively senior figure” and that this must be considered as a factor that suggests that the release of information might not be unfair. We agree.
12 Paragraph 29 of the Decision Notice.
21
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
Does the information in the public domain reduce the expectation of privacy
67. The information in the public domain shows Mr. B’s link with the CCHR, the fact that he had to stand down from Dr. A’s Panel, the fact that he did not volunteer information about his link and initially made only partial disclosure of his connection with the Church of Scientology. The Commissioner acknowledges13 that Mr. Thackeray is correct that any failure to declare interests implies improper conduct and that there is a clear public interest in knowing whether or not people in significant public roles act with probity. He concedes that this factor also suggests that the release of the disputed information might not be unfair. We agree.
Whether disclosure would cause unnecessary or unjustified damage to Mr. B.
68. The Commissioner considered that the release of the information “could potentially cause unnecessary and unjustified damage in this case. His view is that while it is right that an individual in such a role should be subject to a degree of public scrutiny, the Commissioner believes that the potential detriment to the data subject outweighs the interest in this instance”14.
69. We disagree with this conclusion for the reasons given in the Annex to this Decision.
The legitimate interests of the public in knowing about the disputed information
70. In considering the legitimate interests of the public, we find that there are more factors of relevance than those considered by the Commissioner in his Decision Notice. In particular, we consider that the Commissioner failed to consider the significance of the obvious conflict caused by Mr. B being appointed to, and sitting on, the PCC. Mr. Thackeray complains that the Commissioner failed to consider the nature of CCHR and the Church of Scientology, and the impact of Mr. B’s suitability as a Panellist in light of this. We agree that this is a significant matter that should have been given weight by the Commissioner.
71. The Conditions of Service referred to above, include the following provisions:
13 Paragraph 30 of the Decision Notice.
14 Paragraph 31 of the Decision Notice.
22
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
17. You must inform the GMC immediately of any information which might call into question your fitness and suitability for remaining a member of the PCC or CPP.
…..
19. If you have or may appear to have any interest in or association or connection with any person (whether financial, organisational or personal) which may or does give rise to a conflict of interest or the suspicion of a conflict of interest, you must notify the GMC as soon as possible.
72. From the facts which are not in dispute, Mr. B had such significant involvement with the CCHR that his name appeared on its formal letterhead as a “Commissioner”. He may have stepped down from that organisation on 1 January 2001, prior to commencing his sittings as a Panellist for the GMC, but it seems to us that the connection ought to have been disclosed by Mr. B during the appointment process and volunteered without prompting at the time when the allegations of fraud by the CCHR were made in the hearing of Dr. A.
73. Although it may not amount to “misconduct” under a statutory definition we consider that it was wrong of Mr. B to have withheld this connection from the GMC. Part c) of the information request did not ask for papers more than five years before February 2009, and are focussed on the GMC’s internal papers linking Dr B and Scientology and related organisations after Mr B’s connection with the CCHR came to light at the hearing in the case of Dr A in 2004. We have not therefore examined any matters to do with earlier proceedings and the initial appointment of Mr B in 2001. The public interest in the disputed information relates to the possibility that if Mr B’s one time connection with the CCHR had been declared, it may be that his fitness to sit on other cases involving psychiatrists would have been questioned, or that the GMC would not have considered him a suitable panel member for such cases, or that he would not have been appointed to a responsible position in the GMC at all. It is not our task to speculate on these possibilities, but they are material to the first two limbs of the balancing test set out by the Tribunal in the Baker case and approved by the High Court: there is a legitimate public interest in
23
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disclosure to reveal what the GMC did about the facts once they had come to light, and disclosure is necessary to inform that interest.
74. We consider that if he had made his involvement with the CCHR known it is unlikely that he would have been considered suitable for appointment as a Panellist or, at the very least, not suitable to sit on hearings involving psychiatrists.
75. Taking all the relevant factors into account, we conclude that processing of the disputed information, that is, disclosure, would be fair.
76. As we said at paragraph 47, no party argues that processing would be unlawful and we are satisfied that processing would be lawful.
77. Therefore, disclosure would not breach first data protection principle and the exemption in section 40(2) of FOIA is not engaged.
Conclusion and remedy
78. For the reasons given above and in the Annex to this Decision we find that condition 6 of Schedule 2 of the DPA is met, and we find that none of the general factors that might have rendered the processing unfair are present.
79. Therefore the exemption in section 40(2) of FOIA is not engaged and the GMC should have complied with its duty under section 1(1)(b) of FOIA to make the disputed information available to Mr. Thackeray.
80. The GMC must now disclose the disputed information within 35 calendar days from the date of the Substituted Decision Notice.
81. Our decision is unanimous.
82. An appeal against this decision may be submitted to the Upper Tribunal. A person seeking permission to appeal must make a written application to the Tribunal for permission to appeal within 28 days of the receipt of this decision. Such an application must identify the error or errors of law in the decision and state the result
24
Appeal Number: EA/2009/0063
the party is seeking. Relevant forms and guidance for making an application can be found of the Tribunal’s website at www.informationtribunal.gov.uk.
Signed
Annabel Pilling
Judge Date 22 February 2010
25

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

And here's the Annex to the Decision (again this is OCR'd so apologies for the quality):

IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL
GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER
[INFORMATION RIGHTS]
ON APPEAL FROM:
EA/2009/0063
Information Commissioner's Decision Notice: FS50241410
Dated: 20 July 2009
Appellant: WILLIAM THACKERAY
Respondent: THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
Additional Party: THE GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL
On the papers
Date of hearing: 18 January 2010
Date of Decision: 23 February 2010
Before
Annabel Pilling (Judge)
Suzanne Cosgrave
and
Andrew Whetnall
Between
WILLIAM THACKERAY
Appellant
and
INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
Respondent
and
THE GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL
Additional Party
ANNEX TO THE DECISION
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
Additional cases:
Waugh v Information Commissioner and Doncaster College (EA/200B/0038)
Blake v Information Commissioner and Wiltshire County Council
(EA/2009/0036)J.
1. This Annex must be read in conjunction with the Decision of the
Tribunal. It is to be kept confidential until the expiry of the period within
which an Appeal against the Decision may be lodged.
2. We note at the outset that the disputed information amounts to
information or data obtained for the disciplinary proceedings against
Mr. B. and relate to nothing more than the narrow issue that led to Mr.
B. recusing himself from the Panel hearing the case against Or, A. The
disputed information reveals that Mr. B was the subject of an internal
GMC procedure for dealing with concerns about Panellists. His case
was considered at a meeting on 16 June 20041
. As a result, the GMC
determined that he should no longer sit on any FTP panel. He ceased
to be a Panellist on 21 June 2004 and since then has not been eligible
to sit on any FTP panels.
3. The Request for information by Mr. Thackeray was specifically for this
information. It appears to us that Mr. Thackeray expected his Request
to reveal whether there had been any investigation of the appointments
process or the possibility that a former connection with CCHR should
have been declared in other cases involving psychiatrists that took
place before the disclosure made at Dr A's hearing. No such
investigation appears to have been carried out and it is beyond the
scope of our jurisdiction to comment on that omission by the GMC.
4. Mr. Thackeray submits that to his knowledge Mr. B. has never been
consulted as to whether he consents to disclosure of the disputed
information or not. The Tribunal is in the same position. No evidence
1 New procedures for dealing with concerns about panellists had been adopted by the GMC in
fv1arch 2004 and th;s was the first time a sub group had met under those
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
has been provided as to whether he consents or not to the disclosure
of the disputed information nor any evidence of what Mr. B's
expectations were regarding disclosure of that information.
Condition 6 of Schedule 2: the balancing test
5, We consider that the main legitimate interests of the members of the
public can be summarised as follows:
• The process by which GMC panellists are appointed" and any
failings in ensuring that appropriate questions are asked to avoid
any conflict of interests;
• The process by which Panellists are selected to sit upon
individual cases or recuse themselves from cases;
• Confidence in Panellists;
• Whether the GMC was aware that individuals with links to
Scientology sat upon the PCC3
;
• Knowledge that the GMC deals with any conflict of interests that
has arisen and the action taken as a result;
• Whether there has been or may have been bias in other cases
on which Mr, B. has sat.
6. The main prejudices to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of
Mr. B as the data subject can be summarised as follows:
• It would be unfair to Mr. B for this information to be made public.
given his reasonable expectations as to its confidentiality (in
particular with regard to letters he had drafted);
• It might cause him distress, damage or embarrassment;
• The matters the disputed information relate to occurred in 2004.
2 The Request for information was for material "over the past 5 years", therefore from 2004 to
2009; Mr B was appointed in 2001 and information concerning the appointment process, if
held, would not faH within the scope of this Request
3 An article in the BMJ in December 2003 referred to there 'evidence, _that there are
Scientoloqists working in the Fitness to Practice Directorate of the Genera! Medica! Council of
the UK'
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
7. Mr. Thackeray submits that i\llr. B. cannot have expected that
information about his "misconduct" or "inappropriate conduct" would be
kept confidential. On the contrary, he submits that if there was any
matter calling into question Mr. B's suitability as a Panellist, Mr. B. must
have had the reasonable expectation that it would be disclosed.
8. We are aware from the material in the Closed bundle that Mr. B should
have been expected to declare a potential conflict of interests prior to
the hearing of Or-A. This was not the first PCC hearing involving
psychiatrist that he has sat on and, in fight of the former link between
Mr. B, the CCHR and the published aims of the Church of Scientology
regarding psychiatrists inevitably there will a concern that there either
was bias Of, at the very least, the perception of bias. The fact that Mr.
B. has sat repeated!y on cases involving psychiatrists without declaring
the link makes his failure to disclose more serious. The GMC submits
that there is no evidence put forward of any hearing other than that of
Or. A. where an issue of conflict of interest arose because of Mr. B's
connection with the CCHR. VVe reject that submission. It is clear from
the material provided to us in the Closed bundle that Mr, B. sat on at
least 9 cases involving psychiatrists prior to the hearing of Or.A. We
consider that a conflict of interests may wen have existed in those
cases also, even if they did not involve allegations brought by the
CCHR, because of the published beliefs and aims of the Church of
Scientoiogy concerning psychiatrists. Those medical practitioners
facing disciplinary hearings before the GMC, at risk of being struck off
the Register, are entitled to an open and fair hearing in accordance
with their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and
the Human Rights Act 1998.
9. The allegation of inappropriate conduct by ~v1L 8 goes beyond his
connection with the CCHR, extends to what we regard as his
disingenuous answers the Chairman during the hearing of Or.A
when allegations fraud CCHR were made First ~,f1L B
4
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
failed to declare his former role in the CCHR when panel members
were asked by the panel Chairman whether they had any links with
Scientology to declare. From the information available, it appears that
he then admitted no more than, during previous employment, he had
looked at some work that the Church of Scientology was involved with
in regard to drug addiction. At no stage before a direct question was
asked did he admit the most significant fact that of his involvement
with the CCHR, the organisation accused of fraud in the relevant
hearing. In fact Mr. B only stood down on the application of Counsel
for Dr. A. Even then, he continued to conceal the extent of his role
with the CCHR and only when challenged directly about his name
appearing on its letterhead did he admit to being involved prior to 1
January 2001. We have a concern that Mr. B either did not consider
the concept of bias or perception of bias, or more worryingly, intended
to remain on the Panel hearing the fitness to practise hearing
considering whether Or. A, a psychiatrist, should remain on the
Register or not. We are of the opinion that in the light of this history
there is a significant public interest in disclosing parts of the disputed
information, and this is a necessary part of informing a legitimate public
interest, not least because of the absence of any public statements by
the GMC about the action it took and the conclusions it reached.
Fair processing
10. Our attention is drawn to two earlier decisions of this Tribunal4 that
were concerned with internal disciplinary investigations and found that
disclosure of the information would represent a significant invasion of
privacy and would be unfair. It V;/8S said in Waugh that:
"there is a recognised expectation that the internal disciplinary
matters of an individual v/ill be private. Even among senior
members of staff there would still be a high expectation of
privacy between an employee and his employer in respect of
disciplinary matters.
4l,filaugh v tniormetior. Commissioner and Dcncester Cottece
Information Commissioner anci VVfftsfllre Ccunci!
and B/ake v
5
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
11.ln a public role such as the one ivir. B fulfilled. we consider that instead
of a strong expectation of privacy, there would be a strong public
expectation for the disclosure of disciplinary matters. The two Tribunal
cases drawn to our attention can be distinguished as they deal with
what we consider to be disciphnary matters in an almost private
contractual situation rather than regarding someone in a public role.
12. There is no evidence as to the expectations of either Mr. B. or the GMC
as to whether this information would be disclosed or not. Certainly it is
not well established that these proceedings are confidential or secret.
The GMC submits that vve should note the context of confidentiality in
which the disputed information was generated.
13.We consider that there will be different 'layers' of information
concerning a disciplinary process:
e The name of the individual concerned;
• The fact that they are subject to a disciplinary investigation;
• The details of the investigation:
• Exchanges during the process; and
• The outcome.
14. While it would not be determinative, there is no evidence that all or any
documents were marked as confidential or that Mr. B. had any
legitimate expectation that they or the process would be kept
confidential, either at the time or once the investigation had ended. We
draw' a distinction and consider that confidentiality of all these layers
can be inferred while the process is ongoing, but, as with FTP hearings
themselves, \Ne do not consider that there is a basis upon which to
assume it would remain confidential once the process was complete
At the time the Request in this case, the process had been
completed and an outcome that outcome had been acted
upon
()
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
15.At paragraph 66 of Decision we address the point of seniority. In
addition, from information contained within the Closed bundle, it is clear
that Mr. B. was considered sufficiently senior to be appointed as Chair
for hearings of both the pec and the CPP. This is a further factor in
reaching our decision that release of the disputed information might not
be unfair.
Would there be damage or distress to the data subject
16. Again we note that there has been no evidence from Mr. S, either
directly or indirectly and the submissions of the Commissioner and the
GMC must be regarded as speculation.
17. Mr. B's link to and involvement with the CCHR is information that is
already in the public domain and therefore release of the disputed
information that shows the extent of his involvement with the CCHR,
even if that involvement is nOV'J historic, is not going to damage his
reputation in itself.
18.We accept that disclosure of this information after the passage of time
may cause distress to Mr. B. Firstly because it is clear that Mr. B
maintained that he had a limited connection with the CCHR and not the
Church of Scientology and the significance of that connection may not
have been clear to him at the time, and also because the passage of
time may mean that he has "put this episode behind him"
19. "'Je are not able to assess whether disclosure of the disputed
information would cause specific damage. Mr. Thackeray suggests
that i\Ar. B remains employed in the public sector but we have seen no
evidence as to this and it is inappropriate for us to speculate.
20. VVe accept that there might be potentia! detriment to Mr. B in that he
rniqht find embarrassment or in securing another public role.
However. it seems us error shown rv1L B in
'i
f
Appeal No. EA/2009/0063
the episode involving Or. A. is such as to be incompatible with the
No/an principles; Mr. B accepted the appointment as a Panellist
apparently without declaring this conflict of interests per se, sat upon at
least 9 cases involving psychiatrists, failed to take the first opportunity
to state the extent of his connection with the CCHA and Scientology
during the hearing of Or. A.. even when he was aware that an
allegation involving the CCHR was being made. He recused himself
only after further exposition of the concerns by Counsel. and failed to
disclose the extent of his link to the CCHR until faced with written
evidence of it. It is the fact of Mr. B's behaviour that would lead to this
detriment rather than the disclosure of the disputed information.
21. We are not satisfied any damage or distress would be unjustified in the
circumstances of Mr. B's own conduct.
Legitimate interests of third parlies
22. We consider that this concerns the interests of not just the requester,
but the public at large, including, for example doctors who may have
been affected by decisions of Panels of the pec on which Mr. B sat,
particularly psychiatrists.
23. The public, including within that term the medical professionals, need
to have confidence in the GMC, and confidence that there is no bias or
perceived bias or conflict of interest in those appointed as Panellists.
24. The Commissioner and GMC acknowledge that there is a legitimate
interest in knowing about the processes of the GMC but submit that the
disputed information sheds no light on this.
25. We disagree. The fact that rvlr B. "vas sitting on Fitness to Practise
panels. and so had a role in deciding whether an individual doctor,
including a psychiatrist should be struck off the Register. is of concern
in rus the openly acknowledged
8
Appeal No EAJ2009/0063
views and mission of that organisation, the methods of vilification they
and the Church of Sdentology espouse, and the consequent public
perception of possible bias that must attach to that. We are not
impressed by the G~JiC's submission that same of the events and
practices concerning CCHR and the Church of Scientology, as
documented in Mr Thackeravs suomissions, occurred many years ago.
No evidence was submitted of a change in practice or mission, and
some of the evidence, for example from the CCHR's website, is
current It is not for us to take a view on whether 1'v1r B's performance
of his duties was in fact biased. We have no evidence one way or the
other and it would not be our function to assess. Nor is it for us to
investigate or reach a view on the circumstances of his appointment.
The possibility of public and professional concern about the
circumstances of the case are sufficient grounds to support our view
that there is a significant public interest in the extent, nature and
outcomes of the action taken by the GMC foilovving the revelation of Mr
B's association with CCHR. The fact that the public interest has not
been informed by any announcement or account of events published
by the Grv1C supports our conclusion that disclosure is necessary to
inform a legitimate public interest
26. We are aware that there was much public concern and public Interest
in the G~v1C at the time of the events with which this Request for
information is concerned. This public interest and concern was not for
its audit or financial functions but for its Professional Conduct
Committee: that is, how it was handling complaints against medical
practitioners and whether it should be dealing vvith issues of fitness to
practice or whether another body should be established. No other
health regulator has been through inquiries into its disciplinary
processes in same way as the G~j1C in the wake of the events
surrounding murders of patients by Dr Harold Shiprnan. We
consider witness G~J1C that any public
benefit in disclosure is to be an extraordinary claim in light
9
Appeal No. EA/2009/0063
27. The disputed information reveals that, regarding Or. A at least the
pec panel selected to hear his case was not "fair and independent"
and reveals what the GMC did about that issue subsequently.
28. There is also interest in what happened to Mr. B. in light of the events
that led him to recuse from Dr. A's hearing. The final stage in the
process to remove him as a Panellist should have been for the matter
to have been reported to the Council. We were not been provided with
evidence that this was done or what publication scheme arrangements
exist for the Council's Minutes
29. Graziella Oragano, in her witness statement indicated that the
procedure for dealing with concerns about panellists was available on
the GMC's website from March 2004. This seems to refer to powers to
"eo-opt" members and to adopt a process for dealing with issues
arising from eo-opted members: Mr B. vvas appointed via an
appointments system" and was already in post in March 2004. We
have seen no evidence as to what information Vv8S, in fact, available to
the public or otherwise in the public domain. In his witness statement,
Julian Graves indicated that neither the Conditions of Service nor the
Code of Conduct for Panellists were in the public domain. The
disputed information reveals something of what procedures were in
place, were followed and what action the GMC took following the Or. A
hearing.
Action to be taken
30.We have concluded that disclosure of the disputed information would
not breach the first data protection principle and that, therefore, the
information is not exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of FOIA.
\jVe have directed the GMC to disclose the information within 35
calendar days.
According (0 (;r'1W~_ '-\he (({TLifnr:U11 pn\(cs< \'<1:> canin:l ,~m i~! line ,,\< ith issued
{he Office ufdk ('oiiHni"..,iGnc( F'uhh.-
10
Appeal No EAi2009/0063
31.Vve note that unhelpfully, the material within the Closed bundle does
not equate to the disputed information in this case. There is material in
the bundle that is already in the public domain (for example, the
transcript of Dr. A's hearing) and also material that does not fall within
the scope of the Request for information". either because it does not
amount to an "internal communication" or because it falls outside the
period covered by the Request.
32. The following Schedule identifies the information that must now be
disclosed:
Closed
Bundle p.
1-8
i Brief Description
- -------- -_._...
: Comments
and:
;
" ,'uu '" " '" ,..:;~, 'A'A'A'N'A 'AnA'''''''~_~_~--------------;-
i Disclose
; ;
1 i ; ~
: ~
_______ . i . . . . ,
i of the GMC's process
< regarding action to be ) the process
! re Mr. B 25.3_04
! Internal
40-41
142~7 -r~:;~~:~s~o~o~:~:~ce.i.~~~;~:~,~r.·8'sa~varen~SSOThiSiDI~CI~S~
I 48 - BIographical details of i Already disclosed
t j Panel Members
i m__m-> m____ mm mm mm m mm__ '______________ ------ ------ _
i 49 i Internal statement ) Statement of concerns
150 m__ l:nternalFiienot2
151-55 documents 'Theserepresent-a continuation-ofTo;sclose
5 ., . copies of internal coramnntcencns
over me pes: J!{]ctrs'
IVfr B in cotinecnon with
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
--------- ... _ ......u ... ---------r--[j-isclose?
i 56-57
ii
i Closed
I Bundle p.
I
I Disclose
! Chairman of FPC
These
...uu.....uu.... · .. · .. · __.....__..u· .......uu·_ u_u.. u·.. _ .......u __ ......__....uu· ....." ... ....· u ... --!
: Part of the process. i Disclose-
Disclosure of the names and other j but redact I
details of the nominees would not I names and I
meet a condition in Schedule 2 details of i
I redacted.
: confidentia I.
u·•••••••• • • • . • , • • uu_.''_u_"...· __ '' ....uu.. · ... · ....uu_u... •• "uu.....u __ .. · .... · .....uu.. u_uu_ ,, u. ..u_.. uuuuu_u•••• __ ..uuuu +--- --1
List of cases Mr. B sat Already disclosed with names i
remain
group
ion
65-69
f---------J.------------- u·uuu.·uu·....u .... · ... u ...... __...... · ..· ..... u",, uu·u_.
[ Memorandum
ii
• I concerning
I appointment of sub
i!Ii
170-75
I
195-96 I
!
;ii
157-164 Iil
j
[ documents for the sub
group
i Disclose
i Disclose
---------..-------------------------------------------"------------------------1
i,
" ,., """ A~ __ A•• A_._A._A~' A '"'''''''' "'·""""""""/,,""A'''N "A'N'NN'N'~NN"N~N_----------<-
Outcome of process
, ,..,.., .."., ".'"'-,._.,.., _.., , ,~,. __._, ..- -- - - -- ------- ------_.._--_.- -- ------- ------ -
confirming Outcome of process
i 202-204 : Decision of sub group
; ; I 207 ----------------uu' ...Letter
: decision of sub group
;
, " , , , ,. , .. , .. ·N··'· .,.. , .." ·'··'··N· _N·:>" , _,_,.".".._'·"_"'·"··"""""UN~~ ~_....-J
12
Appeal No. EAl2009/0063
33.lf we are incorrect in our conclusion that material falls outside the
scope of the Request because it does not amount to an internal
communication, we consider that in relation to that information,
processing would breach the first data protection principle as no
condition in Schedule 2 of the DPA would be met. The processing of
that information is not necessary for legitimate public interests and the
processing would otherwise be unfair.
Signed
Annabel Pilling, Judge Dated: 22 February 2010
13

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Podcast from Ibrahim Hassan, information lawyer, covers this case at 17:46 mins onwards.

http://informationlaw.jellycast.com/file...

http://informationlaw.org.uk/page20.htm

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Also:

"Act Now" Information Law Newsletter

http://www.actnow.org.uk/media/newslette...

"Scientology, Personal Data and FOI"

In an interesting recent decision
involving William Thackeray v IC
and The General Medical Council
EA/2009/0063 (23rd February 2010),
the Tribunal ruled that the GMC should
have disclosed internal correspondence
about a Fitness to Practice Panel
member’s links with the Church of
Scientology. The GMC had argued
that this was personal data disclosure
of which would breach the First Data
Protection principle and so exempt
under section 40(2).

It was the appellant’s case, much of
which the Tribunal agreed with, that
the Scientology leadership is opposed,
as a matter of religious belief, to the
practice of psychiatry and therefore it
cannot be right that a person having
links to such an organisation should sit
on a GMC panel which may be required
to make judgments on psychiatrists.

He submitted that by not declaring
his connection to Scientology, in
the light of the published opposition
to psychiatry and psychiatrists, the
panel member may have breached the
ethical conditions of his new role and
committed misconduct. The appellant
submitted that the panel member
can have no reasonable expectation
that such misconduct would be kept
private.

The Tribunal concluded that
disclosure would not be unfair and was
necessary in the legitimate interests
of the requestor and these interests
outweighed any impact on the panel
member. In coming to this conclusion
it took account of, amongst other
things, the role of the member (sitting
in judgment on others), the seniority
of the member and the fact that he had
not declared his connection with the
Church of Scientology. It also took
account of the public interest in the
disputed information as it relates to the
possibility that if the panel member’s
one time connection with Scientology
had been declared, it may be that his
!tness to sit on other cases involving
psychiatrists would have been
questioned, or that the GMC would
not have considered him a suitable
panel member for such cases, or that
he would not have been appointed to
a responsible position in the GMC at
all.