Freedom of Information Request: Staff Counselling and Occupational Health Referrals

The request was partially successful.

Dear Brunel University,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, could you please provide me with the following information:

COUNSELLING AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES - UNIVERSITY STAFF

1. The total number of staff that accessed University counselling and mental health services in the last eight academic years (please present in a table showing figures for each academic year and breakdown by category (e.g. anxiety, bereavement loss, work-related etc...))

a) How many were academic staff?
b) How many were professional services staff?
c) How many were male?
d) How many were female?

2. Where data are available in the last eight years, please detail what was the average wait time for a staff member applying to see a counsellor to seeing a counsellor?

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

3. During the last eight academic years how many staff members were referred to Occupational Health (please highlight whether these were self-referrals, management referrals, or referrals falling into different categories)?

a) How many were academic staff?
b) How many were professional services staff?
c) How many were male?
d) How many were female?

4. How many staff members are currently on the waiting list to see Occupational Health?

If the decision is made to withhold some of this data using exemptions in the Data Protection Act, please inform me of that fact and cite the exemptions used.

If you need any clarification then please do not hesitate to contact me. If some parts of this request are easier to answer than others, I would ask that you release the available data as soon as possible.

I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20 working day statutory time period.

Yours faithfully,

Nicky Michaels

FoI requests, Brunel University

Ms. Michaels,

Thank you for your request. You should receive a response by 14 August.

Mary F. Liddell
Information Access Officer

Brunel University London

Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
T +44 (0)1895 274000
www.brunel.ac.uk

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FoI requests, Brunel University

2 Attachments

Ms. Michaels,

Please find attached our response to your request.

Mary F. Liddell
Information Access Officer

Brunel University London

Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
T +44 (0)1895 274000
www.brunel.ac.uk

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Dear Brunel University,

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

I write to request an internal review of your response to a recent FoI seeking information around Brunel University’s staff access to counselling and occupational health services by virtue of their employment with the University. This FoI as you will note from previous correspondence, sought a range of information in this respect, to which the response of the FoI team was, in respect of questions concerning Occupational Health was: “We do not hold the information for questions 3 and 4. Our Occupational Health services are outsourced to OHWorks.”

I query this further, not with the aim of being difficult, but to seek clarity as to why information of this sort might not be “available”. It may be that the term 'held' is being invoked here in a very particular way, in order to refuse access to information in a way that appears to legitimately fall within the terms of the FOI Act 2000, but I return to this below. In the alternative it may be that the FOI team believes that because it cannot provide exactly what has been requested, that it can legitimately refuse access to that information on the grounds that *all* of that information is not held. Here too, I return to this below.

I would note that having requested information across the HE sector in the UK in order to map trends, I have found that the majority of those that have responded thus far have been very helpful indeed. This includes those that have, like Brunel, contracted out – in whole or part, their counselling/occupational health services. Some have sent EAP/EAFP reports that the University will in most cases be in receipt of as a condition of contract.

Please note that the presence of an external contractor which in lay terms 'holds' this information but nevertheless holds this on behalf of Brunel University in the provision of a service for Brunel University is, for the purposes of a Freedom of Information request, tantamount to that same information being held by Brunel University.

Insofar as some of the information requested may not be available in the format I originally requested in my FOI, I would be grateful if you could exercise your duty under section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to provide advice and assistance to requesters – and provide information that comes as close to what was requested, broken down by year, in respect of the period where external contractors have been deployed for Occupational Health services.

I would be grateful if Brunel University would comply as far as is possible with my request for information (in light of the information it does have in its possession) as other HEIs have done. Please note that this is part of a UK-wide analysis, with the aim of exploring trends in respect of HEI staff access to counselling and occupational health services.

I very much hope that on reflection you will reconsider this request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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

Yours faithfully,

Nicky Michaels

FoI requests, Brunel University

Ms. Michaels,

Thank you for your request for an internal review.

We will attempt to obtain this information from our provider by 01 September, with the aim of providing you what additional information we can by the end of the following week.

Mary F. Liddell
Information Access Officer

Brunel University London

Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
T +44 (0)1895 274000
www.brunel.ac.uk

FoI requests, Brunel University

Ms. Michaels,

We have contacted our OH provider, and they have said that the effort required to produce the information would take at least a week.

As I stated in our original response, we do not hold this information. The OH provider holds it, but not in way that enables the information to be located, retrieved and extracted within the allowable time limit.

Mary F. Liddell
Information Access Officer

Brunel University London

Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
T +44 (0)1895 274000
www.brunel.ac.uk

Dear FoI requests,
Thank you for your response. So can I confirm then that in respect of access to counselling services and occupational health referrals that your institution does not track or monitor - or request from the provider a report providing annual aggregate figures?
Yours sincerely,

Nicky Michaels

FoI requests, Brunel University

Ms. Michaels,

We did provide in our response the average wait time for *Counselling* services. We do not collect information about the wait time for OH services, nor do we request a report on such from the OH provider.

Mary F. Liddell
Information Access Officer

Brunel University London

Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
T +44 (0)1895 274000
www.brunel.ac.uk

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