Fitness to Practise Panel: Dr Raj Persaud / Citizens Commission on Human Rights

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,

1)

Please provide minutes, transcript and exhibits from the complaint made to the FTP committee against Dr Raj Persaud.

2)

Please provide details of any complaints made to the FTP committee by Ms Penny Mellor, in the past 5 years.

3)

Please provide details of any complaints made to the FTP committee by Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom) Limited, in the past 5 years.

Thank you for your time and attention in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

FOI, General Medical Council

Our ref: F09/2135/ME

Dear Mr Thackeray

Information Request

Thank you for your e-mail of 6 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 Mark Ellen. If you have any queries
concerning your request you can contact Mr Ellen on 0161 923 6347 or email
[email address]

Yours sincerely

Janet Maclean

Information Access Team Administrator

0161 923 6324

[email address]

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Elizabeth Meads (0161 923 6512), General Medical Council

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Thackeray

My colleague in the Freedom of Information team has asked me to provide
you with the transcripts from the Fitness to Practise Panel hearing held
on 16 to 20 June 2008 for the case of Dr Persaud.

Please find the transcripts attached.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Meads
Adjudication Coordinator
Tel: 0161 9236512

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William Thackeray

Dear Elizabeth,

Many thanks for your help.

I look forward to also receiving info in respect of parts 2 and 3 of my query.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thackeray

I refer to your e-mail of 6 March 2009 in which you raise a number of
queries in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

Taking each of your queries in turn:

1. I attach the minutes relating to the fitness to practise hearing of
Dr Raj Persaud. I understand that my colleagues in our fitness to
practise Directorate have supplied you with the transcript of this case.
We hold a number of exhibits relating to this matter and I am attaching
those that you are entitled to under the FOIA. I should add that one of
the exhibits we hold is a copy of Dr Raj Persaud's book; 'From the Edge
of the Couch'.

2. With regards to the remaining exhibits that we hold for the Dr
Persaud case, and to your requests for details of any complaints made by
Penny Mellor and by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in the past
5 years, I consider that exemptions set out in the FOIA will apply to
this information. In accordance with the FOIA this e-mail acts as a
refusal notice in respect of these parts of your request. The exemptions
that will 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.

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 the right of appeal against this decision. If you wish to
appeal please set out in writing your grounds for doing so and e-mail
Julian Graves, Information Access Manager at [email address]. You
also have a further right of appeal to the Information Commissioner. If
applicable, Mr Graves will provide you with details of how to appeal to
the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely

Mark Ellen
Information Access Team
General Medical Council
79 Oxford Street
Manchester M1 6FQ
Direct Line: 0161 923 6347

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

20 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8GD

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

William Thackeray

Dear Mark,

Many thanks for your response to my FOI query.

In respect of each of the points:

1)

Many thanks, this is the information I was looking for.

2)

I'm going to pass this one to internal review, as I believe that complaints made to the FTP committee are not confidential, but thank you nontheless for your time and attention in this matter.

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 point 2 of my FOI request 'Fitness to Practise Panel: Dr Raj Persaud / Citizens Commission on Human Rights'.

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

My reason for requesting an internal review is:

Complaints made to the FTP committee are not made in confidence; they are in the public domain. Therefore, it would not be unfair, unlawful, or in breach of confidence to supply me with this information. The information is therefore not exempt from the FOIA.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Sir or Madam,

Additional information in respect of my internal review request of 7th April 2009 re my FOI request entitled 'Fitness to Practise Panel: Dr Raj Persaud / Citizens Commission on Human Rights':

In respect of point 1, Mark says: "I am attaching
those [exhibits] that you are entitled to under the FOIA".

I request that you state what other exhibits exist, which the GMC considers to be exempt from the FOIA, and also state why you consider them exempt.

I therefore also request internal review in respect of point 1 of my FOI query, on the grounds described above.

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

Thank you, Julian.

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

F09/2135/ME

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below.

I note that you are appealing against our refusal to supply information
under points 1 and 2 of your request. In order to avoid any potential
confusion between the two issues I have decided to respond separately on
each of those points. For the avoidance of doubt this email addresses
your appeal against point 1 of your request, namely "Please provide
minutes, transcript and exhibits from the complaint made to the FTP
committee against Dr Raj Persaud."

As you know we have already provided you with copies of the minutes, the
transcripts and some of the exhibits in relation to the Fitness to
Practise Panel hearing in respect of Dr Persaud. The focus of my review
has therefore been on those exhibits which were previously withheld from
you.

Having reviewed these documents I am satisfied that it is appropriate to
provide you with a redacted version of the 'exhibits list' and the
'index to hearing bundle'. These are attached for your information.

In terms of the redactions and the withholding of the remainder of the
documents which have not previously provided to you, I believe that they
are all exempt from the access provisions of FOIA by dint of the
exemptions previously quoted by Mark Ellen; 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 Mr Ellen's response, both these
exemptions are 'absolute'; that is to say they are not subject to a
public interest test.

Additionally, in his response dated 7 April 2009, Mr Ellen stated that
one of the exhibits was a copy of Dr Persaud's book entitled 'From the
Edge of the Couch'. We consider this exhibit to be exempt from the
access from the access provisions of FOIA. The exemption that we
consider applies is as follows:

Sec 21(1) - Information accessible to the applicant by other means - I
consider this exhibit to be available from bookshops or various
book-selling websites.

As you are aware, should you remain dissatisfied with my response on
this matter, you do have a further right of complaint to the Information
Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA. I believe that you have 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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Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

F09/2135/ME

Dear Mr Thackeray

Thank you for your email below.

I note that you are appealing against our refusal to supply information
under points 1 and 2 of your request. In order to avoid any potential
confusion between the two issues I have decided to respond separately on
each of those points. For the avoidance of doubt this email addresses
your appeal against point 2 of your request, namely "Please provide
details of any complaints made to the FTP committee by Ms Penny Mellor,
in the past 5 years."

I understand that, in his original response, my colleague Mark Ellen had
interpreted your request as being for details of complaints made by Ms
Mellor to the GMC in the past five years. This interpretation would
include any complaints made in this period which were closed at any
stage prior to being referred for a Panel hearing, hence the reason for
applying the 'personal data' and 'information provided in confidence'
exemptions.

On review, and in the light of your appeal reasoning, I believe that you
actually required details of any complaints made by Ms Mellor which have
proceeded to, and been heard by, the Fitness to Practise Panel and it's
predecessor, the Professional Conduct Committee, in the past five years.
If I have interpreted your intentions correctly then I can confirm that
no complaints made solely by Ms Mellor have proceeded to, and been heard
by, the Fitness to Practise Panel and it's predecessor, the Professional
Conduct Committee, in the past five years.

As you are aware, should you remain dissatisfied with my response on
this matter, you do have a further right of complaint to the Information
Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA. I believe that you have 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

Dear Julian,

Many thanks for your detailed responses to my internal review request.

As there are a number of parts to this query, I will deal with each of them separately:

"1) Please provide minutes, transcript and exhibits from the complaint made to the FTP committee against Dr Raj Persaud."

Thank you for the documents you have already provided in respect of this query.

I intend to ask the ICO whether they agree with your application of these exemptions to exhibits put before a panel/committee hearing.

I am happy to accept that I can readily obtain "From the Edge of the Couch", and to place it outside the scope of this query.

"2) Please provide details of any complaints made to the FTP committee by Ms Penny Mellor, in the past 5 years."

Thank you for the further information you have provided on this. Yes, you have interpreted my request correctly, I did mean complaints which were actually heard by the Panel/Committee. My apologies for any lack of clarity in my original request.

"3) Please provide details of any complaints made to the FTP committee by Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom) Limited, in
the past 5 years."

This part of my query seems to have 'fallen between the cracks', could you please address it in the same way as you have addressed my query in respect of Ms Mellor? Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Thackeray

My apologies for my oversight in not responding to point 3 of your
appeal. I will consider this and respond to you formally.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves

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William Thackeray

Thank you, Julian.

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Complaint made to the ICO 13 May 09 (in respect of the exhibits requested in point 1):

After internal review, GMC 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

Our ref: F09/2135/ME

Dear Mr Thackeray

My apologies again for my oversight in this matter. I have now had the
opportunity to consider your request for a review.

Having done so, I am satisfied that we did misinterpret your request in
the first instance. I can confirm that there are two complaints made by
the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom) which have led,
at least in part, to Fitness to Practise Panel hearings (or it's
predecessor the Professional Conduct Committee) within the last five
years. The two hearings are as follows:

Dr Patrick Cosgrove - 19-27 January 2004 and 9-18 June 2004
Dr Rajendra Persaud - 16-20 June 2008

You will be aware of the detail of both cases as I believe that we have
already supplied you with additional information in respect of both
these matters.

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

Dear Julian,

Thank you for your informative response to my FOI request.

Re the oversight: don't worry about it, we're all only human.

My thanks again to you and your departmental colleagues for all your assistance with my recent FOI queries.

Please do be assured that where I've referred a query to the ICO, this reflects only my wish to get their interpretation of the FOIA, and in no way forms a complaint about the quality of service provided by your department, which has been excellent.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Our ref: F09/2135/ME

ICO ref: FS50248774

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.

Can the letter of complaint from CCHR (UK) Ltd be released?

Could you clarify which other documents which are being withheld at this time?

Thank you again for your help with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray