Fitness to practise panel: Cosgrove / Scientology

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 partially successful.

William Thackeray

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide:

1)

The exhibits presented to the Professional Conduct Committee in the case of Dr Cosgrove, in 2004/2005.

2)

Notes from the Legal Advisor to Counsel in the same case.

Thank you for your time and attention on this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

FOI, General Medical Council

Our ref: F09/2121/EH

Dear Mr Thackeray

Information Request

Thank you for your e-mail of 5 March 2009 in which you request information
in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA).

We will consider your request and you will normally receive the
information you seek within the 20 working day limit set by the FOIA.

The FOIA lists a number of exemptions that may prevent the release of
part, or all, of the information that you have requested. We will make an
assessment of the requested information and if it is subject to an
exemption you will be informed of this, together with details of your
right of appeal.

Your request has been allocated to Elizabeth Hiley. If you have any
queries concerning your request you can contact Ms Hiley on 0161 923 6314
or email [email address]

Yours sincerely

Janet Maclean

Information Access Team Administrator

0161 923 6324

[email address]

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Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314), General Medical Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Thackeray

Attached are three of the four remaining exhibits. The final exhibit is
too large to send via email.

The final exhibit is the 'Foster Report, Enquiry into the Practice and
Effects of Scientology'. This is exhibit D3. It is available via the
following link: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Cowen/audit/f....

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Hiley

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Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314), General Medical Council

9 Attachments

Our ref: IAT/F09/2121/EH

Dear Mr Thackeray

I write further to your email below. Your request has now been
considered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA).

Please note that due to the file size of the attachments I cannot send
all this information via one email, therefore a further email will
follow.

In relation to the exhibits presented to the Professional Conduct
Committee in the case of Dr Cosgrove, I have attached those exhibits
which we consider we are able to provide to you in accordance with the
FOIA. These exhibits relate to the 2004 hearing.

In relation to the remaining exhibits of the 2004 hearing, and all
exhibits of the 2005 hearing, we believe that two exemptions listed in
the FOIA apply. Therefore, in accordance with the FOIA, this email acts
as a refusal notice in respect of your request for this information. The
exemptions we believe apply are:

Section 40(2) by virtue of section 40(3)(a)(i) - Personal information of
a third party. This relates to 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 this instance 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.

Section 41 - Information provided in confidence. This relates to
information supplied to the GMC by any person, the disclosure of which
would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other
person.

A small amount of information has been redacted from the attached
exhibits. We believe the exemption contained at section 40(2), as set
out above, applies to this information.

These exemptions are absolute, which means that they are 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 also requested the "notes from the Legal Advisor to Counsel".
Section 1(1)(a) of the FOIA states that any person making a request for
information to a public authority is entitled to be informed whether
information of the description specified in the request is held. I can
confirm that we do not hold the information requested.

I am sorry I could not fully meet your request. 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, [email address]. You also have the right of appeal to the
Information Commissioner, the independent regulator of the FOIA. 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,

Many thanks for your response to my FOI query. I am going to refer this one for internal review in respect of the omitted documents, but I wanted to thank you nontheless for your detailed and thorough response.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of the General Medical Council's handling of my FOI request 'Fitness to practise panel: Cosgrove / Scientology'.

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

I request that the omitted documents be released.

My reasons for requesting an internal review are:

The GMC refers to exemption in respect of the First Principle of the DPA, which requires that the processing of personal data is fair and lawful, and also refers to exemption in respect of breach of confidence.

I argue that it would not be unfair, nor unlawful, nor in breach of confidence, to send me this information, because it is already in the public domain (having been disclosed in a public hearing, and forming as it does part of the public record of that hearing).

If the information were confidential then the hearing would have considered it in camera. I argue that all information put before the hearing in public (not in camera) is in the public domain, and should be released.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below requesting an internal review of the
handling of your FOI request. I will consider this matter under our
comments and complaints procedure for information requests. This sets a
target response time of 20 working days from receipt. I will endeavour
to respond to you within this timeframe.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
Tel. no: 0161 923 6351
Email: [email address]

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William Thackeray

And thank you for this one also.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Our ref: F09/2121/EH

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below.

I have now had the opportunity to consider your appeal.

I am able to confirm that the exhibits are not regarded as public domain
documents nor do they form part of the public record of the hearing.
Whilst they would be available to the individuals involved in the Panel
hearing, they would not be distributed or indeed available to any other
interested parties or public/press attending the hearing.

I have reviewed all the documents concerned and feel that it would be
appropriate to provide you with an anonymised version of the exhibits
list provided at Dr Cosgrove's hearings in both 2004 and 2005.
Redactions have been applied to these documents to avoid identifying any
third party connected with the hearing and as such I rely on the
personal data exemption at S40(2) leading to 40(3)(a)(i) to justify
these redactions. A copy of the exhibit lists are attached above.

I have also identified the formal determination from the 2004 hearings.
This forms part of the exhibit included under C1 of the 1 July 2005
hearing. I have not provided you with a further copy of this
determination on the basis that it was previously provided to you under
cover of one of your previous requests (F09/2058/EH). If you do require
a further copy of this determination please let me know.

In terms of the remainder of the exhibits themselves, I believe that
they are all exempt from the access provisions of FOIA by dint of the
exemptions previously quoted by Ms Hiley; that is to say the 'personal
data' exemption at S40(2) leading to 40(3)(a)(i) and the 'information
provided in confidence' exemption at S41(1). I believe that disclosure
of these data would result in a breach of principle 1 of the data
protection principles on the basis that disclosure would not be 'fair
and lawful'. There would be no expectation of the part of any of the
third parties that these documents would be distributed beyond those
individuals directly involved in the hearing itself. I have considered
the potential for these documents to be anonymised but do not feel that
this is possible. As you are aware from Ms Hiley's response, both these
exemptions are 'absolute'; that is to say they are not subject to a
public interest test.

If you remain dissatisfied with my response on this matter you do have
the right of complaint to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of
the FOIA. I believe that you are already aware of their contact details.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
6th 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 left an annotation ()

Complaint submitted to ICO 13 May 09:

After internal review, GMC still refuses to release some exhibits from case heard by Professional Conduct Committee. GMC argues that Section 40 and Section 41 exemptions apply. I argue that the information was not provided in confidence, and that personal details could be redacted.

For a full history of this FOI request please see:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fi...

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Our ref: F09/2121/EH

ICO ref: FS50248766

Dear Mr Thackeray

As you are aware we have been in further discussion with the Information
Commissioner's Office regarding this request. It has been agreed that
further information can be supplied to you. This is included in the
attached PDF.

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]

Unless otherwise expressly agreed by the sender of this email, this
communication may contain privileged or confidential information which is
exempt from disclosure under UK law. This email and its attachments may
not be used or disclosed except for the purpose for which it has been
sent.

If you are not the addressee or have received this email in error, please
do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any
attachments. Instead, please email the sender and then immediately delete
it.

General Medical Council

St James Building, 79 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6FQ

Regents Place, 350 Euston Road, London, NW1 3JN

The Tun, 4 Jacksons Entry, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AE

Regus House, Falcon Drive, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4RU

9th Floor, Bedford House, 16-22 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7FD

The GMC is a charity registered in England and Wales (1089278) and
Scotland (SC037750)

William Thackeray

Dear Julian,

Many thanks for this additional information.

Concerning the entries in the index which have been de-redacted (D7, D12 and D17): can the documents themselves now be released? (bearing in mind that CCHR (UK) Ltd is a corporation rather than a natural person, and so does not have a right of privacy under the DPA).

Thank you again for your assistance with this and my other FOI queries, and happy new year to you and your colleagues.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Thackeray

We continue to believe that the documents to which you refer below
should be exempt from disclosure. We consider that they contain personal
information relating to other individuals.

I have copied the Information Commissioner's Office into this exchange
for their information.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council

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William Thackeray

Dear Julian,

Couldn't the personal information relating to individuals be redacted?

(I'm assuming that we're talking here about the details of patients - I don't have any need to know those details anyway).

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray