Housing Options Medical Assessment Staff

Waiting for an internal review by Westminster City Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Westminster City Council,

Under the FOIA please supply the following information

The number of Medical advisory/assessment staff employed by and or contracted to Housing Options led by Christine Allen in the period between May 1st 2018 to May 1st 2019 and please give a breakdown by their role, medical qualifications, professional registration and areas of expertise without giving their individual identities and it that still in the role. For clarification I give the following example

Role: Medical Advisor (or Medical Assessor)-
Qualification: Nursing (or medical degree) year xxxx (degree level) and (areas of expertise)
Registered with GMC or NMC: Yes -NMC or NO
Period working current (or until end November 2018)

If you require any further information please revert. To avoid confusion it should be noted that WCC has a legal responsibility to ensure staff being contracted (directly or indirectly) to carry out such roles are qualified to do so and as such meets the public interest threshold

Yours faithfully,

M Doyle

Westminster City Council

Information request
Our reference: 9982265

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Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for contacting Westminster City Council's Information Management
Team. 

Your query will be allocated for response, and someone will contact you
within 5 working days to confirm the details of your request. 

Please see the Council's website for further information on the Freedom of
Information Act
- [1]http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/c...

Kind regards, 
 
Information Management Team
Westminster City Council
64 Victoria Street
London
SW1E 6QP
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 

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Westminster City Council

Information request
Our reference: 9982265

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Dear Sir/Madam,
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 17 May
2019.
 
Request summary
The number of Medical advisory/assessment staff employed by and or
contracted to Housing Options led by Christine Allen in the period between
May 1st 2018 to May 1st 2019 and please give a breakdown by their role,
medical qualifications, professional registration and areas of expertise
without giving their individual identities and it that still in the role.
For clarification I give the following example
Role: Medical Advisor (or Medical Assessor)-
Qualification: Nursing (or medical degree) year xxxx (degree level) and
(areas of expertise)
Registered with GMC or NMC: Yes -NMC or NO
Period working current (or until end November 2018)
If you require any further information please revert. To avoid confusion
it should be noted that WCC has a legal responsibility to ensure staff
being contracted (directly or indirectly) to carry out such roles are
qualified to do so and as such meets the public interest threshold
 
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and we aim to send a response by 17 June 2019.
 
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 may restrict the release of some or
all of the information you have requested. We will carry out an assessment
and if any exemptions apply to some or all of the information then we
might not provide that information to you. We will inform you if this is
the case and advise you of your rights to request an internal review and
to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.
 
We will also advise you if we cannot provide you with the information
requested for any other reason together with the reason(s) why and details
of how you may appeal (if appropriate).
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Westminster City Council
Tel: 0207 641 3921
Email: [email address]
Web: [1]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 

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Westminster City Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 9982265

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Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 17 May 2019.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.

If you are dissatisfied with your response please send your Internal
Review request to the email address below

[1][email address]

 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Westminster City Council
Growth Planning & Housing

Web: [2]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not reply to this email.
 

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Dear Westminster City Council,

Many thanks for the information. However you have only supplied the previous Medical Advisor "A" that departed in October 2018 and whose credentials and qualifications I am aware of. . However, you have failed to provide the qualifications for the current Medical Advisor "B" and instead to opt by giving their experience in relation to antenatal and post natal care. Now given that the role requires medical professionals being qualified to blindly assess complex medical conditions from paperwork covering a broad spectrum of conditions and disabilities which the majority of applications to move on medical grounds relate to needs of Adults with a minority relating to infants and as such the indicative experience without citation of requested qualifications does not constitute a reasonable response in this regard.

Under the circumstances as you have supplied the qualifications for the previous Medical Advisor A, the precedent is set to supply the same information for the current Medical Advisor "B" . As you have not supplied to qualifications for the current Medical Advisor "B" the request has not been fulfilled.

The choice here is that the information be supplied or that the matter be considered for internal review. In light of the potential unreasonable withholding of the information it would be best that the matter not progress to a formal internal review stage and instead provide the missing information as requested.

Yours sincerely,

M Doyle

Westminster City Council

Information request
Our reference: 9982265

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Dear M Doyle
 
Re: Request for Internal Review ' 9982265
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on  18 June 2019  in
respect of:

Scheme
Freedom of Information Act

Details
The number of Medical advisory/assessment staff employed by and or
contracted to Housing Options led by Christine Allen in the period
between May 1st 2018 to May 1st 2019 and please give a breakdown
by their role, medical qualifications, professional registration
and areas of expertise without giving their individual identities
and it that still in the role. For clarification I give the
following example
Role: Medical Advisor (or Medical Assessor)-
Qualification: Nursing (or medical degree) year xxxx (degree
level) and (areas of expertise)
Registered with GMC or NMC: Yes -NMC or NO
Period working current (or until end November 2018)
If you require any further information please revert. To avoid
confusion it should be noted that WCC has a legal responsibility
to ensure staff being contracted (directly or indirectly) to carry
out such roles are qualified to do so and as such meets the public
interest threshold

 
 
I can confirm that we are looking into your query, and will endeavour to
respond within 20 working days of receipt of your email / letter
 
Your complaint is therefore due for a response by 16 July 2019.
 
Yours faithfully
 
Information Management Team
Westminster City Council
Information Services
Tel: 0207 641 3921
Email: [email address]
Web: [1]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 

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Westminster City Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 9982265

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Dear M Doyle,
 
Thank you for your recent request for an Internal Review into the handling
of your request.
 
Please find the council's response attached.
Yours faithfully
 
Information Management Team
Westminster City Council
Information Services
Tel: 0207 641 3921
Email: [email address]
Web: [1]www.westminster.gov.uk
 

References

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Dear Westminster City Council,

Despite being given the opportunity to clarify the qualifications of the current medical assessment officer, instead officers have chosen to obstruct information relating to qualifications in which the current active health visitors in London alone is in excess of 8,500 practising individuals working for the NHS with an unknown number again of those which are in other roles.

The GMC or any other registration simply states if that person is currently practising. The response was the incumbent is a registered nurse/midwife/health visitor.

By WCC declaring the registered professional status of the incumbent Medical Advisor which is incompatible with the broad spectrum required in the role gives grounds for substantiation of the request for qualifications as that disclosure primary disclosure brings the incumbent medical advisor's being a suitably qualified person for the role into question.

Under the circumstances the qualifications request is a public interest question in relation to the parameters and reasonable expectations of the person carrying out the role of assessing a wide range of medical conditions and disabilities outside that of training which relates to childbirth, maternity and post natal care which is the only qualification that has been indicated.

Moreover, in the balance of information provided and context of the request and internal review, WCC has not carried out the prerequisite public interest test nor properly qualified S40(2) as the individual in question identity is an unknown nor can it be extrapolated by the disclosure of their qualifications and current working position alone.

Furthermore, simply supplying the qualifications of any of these individuals would not lead to them being identified by the parameters under the request without any individual previously declaring in the public domain on their own volition they are currently holding that position rendering the withholding of the information unnecessary.

Public disclosure was the actions of previous incumbents, not the current officer. Previous incumbents publicly declared their work history including that for WCC and RMG and therefore they were identifiable by their own public disclosures. However in stating that, the precedent of WCC disclosing the former incumbent "A" qualifications renders the withholding of the current incumbent even more unreasonable as it was the previous incumbents qualifications were disclosed without issue and moreover without the knowledge that I was aware of their identity and qualifications prior to making the original request.

As it stands it would be practicably impossible to find out the identity of a specific individual from disclosure of the qualifications against their position alone unless that individual has in fact made a public declaration of their current role as medical advisor. As such I would challenge anyone to in fact identify any specific individual by the qualifications and position held in an organisation when there is no other information in the public domain in which allows any other person to identify them and or attach them to that role using qualifications alone.

In summary

1. The request and subsequent internal review request was and is blind of the current incumbent medical advisor's identity and nor was it sort and therefore S40 is not applicable

2. WCC has already provided another individuals qualifications in the original request in contradiction to the to disclosure of the current incumbent's qualifications.

3. WCC has disclosed the incumbent's registered profession which without the disclosure of qualification implies by reasonable deduction that the profession disclosed alone is not compatible with the broad spectrum requirements of the role of the medical advisor which they are currently holding. This could be perceived in a prejudicial light towards the medical advisor when the disclosure of qualifications would bring clarity to that aspect and leads to the public interest threshold being met.

4. WCC is reliant on S40 in that the disclosure of qualifications would reveal the identity of the individual when that clearly is not the case. Moreover cannot be substantiated on basic scrutiny or simple logic, you cannot tell the identity of a person from the contents of their wardrobe, unless it has their name on it! Under the circumstances it constitutes a wholly unreasonable use of S40(2)(3A). For section 40 (2)(3A) to apply would require that the incumbent medical advisor's identity be in the public domain and or previously/currently known, nor was it sort.

5. WCC has not in fact carried out the public interest test which given the outline of the internal review request was implied. Moreover if the public interest test were carried out it would have resulted in the release of the qualifications information requested instead of an erroneous S17.

On balance there are contradictions in actions and moreover no reasonable grounds in which section 40 (2) or (3A) could be applied in the position given to refuse.

It has to be noted that the FOIA does not provide a mechanism in which officers can practice legalised of politicised effluentology to obstruct disclosure of and or obfuscate potentially detrimental practices and therefore should refrain from doing so, especially as such actions may result in complaint to the ICO and lead to further and far more probing requests.

In respect of moving forward, I think that the anonymous person that conducted the internal review should reconsider their position within the next 7 days.

Yours sincerely,

M Doyle

Westminster City Council

Information request
Our reference: 9982265

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Dear M Doyle
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your email of 17 July 2019, sent in follow up to the
council's Internal Review into the handling of your FOI request.
 
Please be advised that should you remain dissatisfied with the council's
response you should refer the matter to the Information Commissioner under
Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
 
For your convenience, I have provided the contact details below:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 54 57 45
Fax: 01625 524510
Web: www.ico.org.uk
 
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Information Management Team
Westminster City Council
Information Services
Tel: 0207 641 3921
Email: [email address]
Web: [1]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 

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