Joint Biosecurity Centre agreements, data sources and DPIAs

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Health and Social Care of their handling of this request.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

With regard to the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) as described on GOV.UK here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/joi...

I would like to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. For the purposes of the Act, please take the date of your receipt of this request as 7 October 2020.

Please provide:

1) A copy of the framework agreement or 'establishing document' that defines how DHSC and the JBC work to serve the public and the taxpayer, and how they discharge their responsibilities. To be clear, I am asking for the *equivalent* to the framework agreement that exists between, e.g. DHSC & Public Health England (PHE): https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio... - and also between DHSC & Health Education England, DHSC & the Health Research Authority, etc.

2) A copy of the "partnership" agreement, MoU and/or any other documents defining the relationship and/or arrangements - including data sharing arrangements - between the JBC and PHE.

3) A complete list of the "health and non-health sources, as well as other information feeds" on which the JBC draws for its analysis.

4) A copy of any and all Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) that the JBC has performed, and - if this is not covered in the DPIAs - a description of the operational steps JBC has taken to "ensure robust privacy and ethical standards are upheld".

Please do not delay your response on the basis that you cannot provide some or any of the information for any one of the items above; I am happy for you to provide partial information in a timely manner, on the understanding that you will provide more complete information as soon as it is available.

If the number of DPIAs for (4) is too many for you to provide copies within the legal cost limit, or if they are not yet completed or in place, please could you provide instead a full LIST of all such Assessments that will be required.

I would be grateful if you would send me the requested information promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt of my request.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, or if specific items within the responses are withheld from disclosure, then you must justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act, as per Section 17 of the Act. Where you rely on a qualified exemption to withhold disclosure, you are obliged to consider the public interest in your decision and the refusal notice must explain not only which exemption applies and why, but also the public interest arguments addressed in reaching the decision.

Yours faithfully,

Phil Booth

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care. 

We are currently experiencing high volumes of enquiries and we are
focusing our resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

The answers to many questions, including the latest information on
COVID-19, can be found on [1]GOV.UK, the [2]Department of Health and
Social Care website or by visiting the [3]NHS website. We may not respond
to you if the answer to your enquiry can be found on either of these
websites. Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send a response within
18 working days, or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of
Information request or complaint.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please
visit [4]111.nhs.uk or telephone your GP surgery immediately for further
advice. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital directly.

If your organisation can offer support to help with the response to
coronavirus, including the supply of personal protective equipment, the
Government has set up an [5]online hub to compile and respond to all
offers. 

If you are clinician looking to support the NHS, please visit the [6]NHS
Professionals website for further information. 

If you are a clinician who has retired within the last 6 years and would
like more information on how to apply for the temporary register, please
visit the [7]NHS England website for further information. 

If you are a student looking to join the NHS, please visit the HEE website
for detailed guidance for [8]nurses and [9]doctors respectively. 

If you are seeking to offer your time to/volunteer for the NHS, please
visit [10]this website for more information.

The Department of Health and Social Care does not process complaints about
the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [11]Complaints Procedure page on GOV.UK.

You can find out more about the Department’s commitments from our Personal
Information
Charterhttps://www.gov.uk/government/organisati....

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. https://www.nhs.uk/
4. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
5. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-f...
6. https://www.nhsprofessionals.nhs.uk/
7. http://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/re...
8. https://www.hee.nhs.uk/news-blogs-events...
9. https://www.hee.nhs.uk/news-blogs-events...
10. https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs/
11. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Booth,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your recent FOI request (our ref: FOI-1261423 ). 

Yours sincerely,
 
Dorothy Crowe 

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------- Please do
not reply to this email. To contact the Department of Health and Social
Care, please visit [1]www.gov.uk/dhsc
 
This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.gov.uk/dhsc

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Thank you for your reply of 4 November, and for confirming that DHSC holds the information.

Given that, as you say, "several hundred data sources are drawn upon" I can appreciate that it would be time-consuming to review them all. I presume that once it is fully established, the JBC will be maintaining an information asset register and that - in line with government transparency - the list of the personal and non-personal information assets it holds will be published in due course.

In the meanwhile, I have refined my request as follows - please would you provide:

1) A copy of the framework agreement or 'establishing document' that defines how DHSC and the Joint Biosecurity Centre work to serve the public and the taxpayer, and how they discharge their responsibilities. (To be clear, I am asking for the *equivalent* to the framework agreements that exists between, e.g. DHSC & Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio... - and also between DHSC & Health Education England, DHSC & the Health Research Authority, etc.)

2) A copy of the partnership agreement, Memorandum of Understanding and/or any other documents that lay out or define the relationship between the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England (PHE).

3) A copy of any and all Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) that the JBC has performed, and - if this is not covered in the DPIAs - a description of the operational steps JBC has taken to "ensure robust privacy and ethical standards are upheld". (If the number of DPIAs is too many for you to provide copies within the legal cost limit, or if they are not yet completed or in place, please could you provide instead a full LIST of all such Assessments that will be required.)

I would be grateful if you would send me the requested information promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt of my request.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, or if specific items within the responses are withheld from disclosure, then you must justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act, as per Section 17 of the Act. Where you rely on a qualified exemption to withhold disclosure, you are obliged to consider the public interest in your decision and the refusal notice must explain not only which exemption applies and why, but also the public interest arguments addressed in reaching the decision.

Yours faithfully,

Phil Booth

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care. 

We are currently experiencing high volumes of enquiries and we are
focusing our resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

The answers to many questions, including the latest information on
COVID-19, can be found on [1]GOV.UK, the [2]Department of Health and
Social Care website or by visiting the [3]NHS website. We may not respond
to you if the answer to your enquiry can be found on either of these
websites. Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send a response within
18 working days, or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of
Information request or complaint.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please
visit [4]111.nhs.uk or telephone your GP surgery immediately for further
advice. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital directly.

If you are a business interested in helping the government increase
COVID-19 testing capacity, please visit this [5]Government website. Please
note that the service to offer other COVID-19 support from your business
has closed.

If you are clinician looking to support the NHS, please visit the NHS
Professionals websitehttps://www.nhsprofessionals.nhs.uk/ for further
information. 

If you are a clinician who has retired within the last 6 years and would
like more information on how to apply for the temporary register, please
visit the NHS England
websitehttp://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/re....

If you want to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
please visit this
website[6]https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavi... for
more information. 

The Department of Health and Social Care does not process complaints about
the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [7]Complaints Procedure page on GOV.UK.

You can find out more about the Department’s commitments from our Personal
Information
Charterhttps://www.gov.uk/government/organisati....

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. https://www.nhs.uk/
4. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
5. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-the-gov...
6. https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavi...
7. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Booth,

 

Thank you for your request to the Department of Health and Social Care
dated 10 November 2020 under the Freedom of Information Act (our ref:
FOI-1270844).  The Department holds relevant information.

 

I am writing to inform you that the Department's consideration of the
balance of the public interest with regards to your request is not yet
complete, and requires further time to complete in line with Section 10(3)
of the FOI Act.

 

The Department is currently assessing the public interest in release under
Sections 43 (commercial sensitivity) and 35 (policy in formulation) of the
FOIA.

 

We anticipate this process will take no longer than a further 20 working
days to complete.  We therefore aim to respond fully to your request by 8
January 2021.

 

Please accept my apologies for this delay.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Dorothy Crowe

Freedom of Information Officer

Department of Health and Social Care

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Booth,

 

Thank you for your request to the Department of Health and Social Care
dated 10 November 2020 under the Freedom of Information Act (our ref:
FOI-1270844).  The Department holds relevant information.

 

I am writing to inform you that the Department's consideration of the
balance of the public interest with regards to your request is not yet
complete, and requires further time to complete in line with Section 10(3)
of the FOI Act.

 

The Department is currently assessing the public interest in release under
Sections 43 (commercial sensitivity) and 35 (policy in formulation) of the
FOIA.

 

We anticipate this process will take no longer than a further 20 working
days to complete.  We therefore aim to respond fully to your request by 5
February 2021.

 

Please accept my apologies for this delay.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Dorothy Crowe

Freedom of Information Officer

Department of Health and Social Care

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Booth,

 

Thank you for your request to the Department of Health and Social Care
dated 10 November 2020 under the Freedom of Information Act (our ref:
FOI-1270844). The Department holds relevant information.

 

I am writing to inform you that the Department's consideration of the
balance of the public interest with regards to your request is not yet
complete, and requires further time to complete in line with Section 10(3)
of the FOI Act.

 

The Department is currently assessing the public interest in release under
Sections 43 (commercial sensitivity) and 35 (policy in formulation) of the
FOIA.

 

We anticipate this process will take no longer than a further 20 working
days to complete. We therefore aim to respond fully to your request by 5
March 2021.

 

Please accept my apologies for this further delay.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Dorothy Crowe

Freedom of Information Officer

Department of Health and Social Care

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Booth,

 

Thank you for your request to the Department of Health and Social Care
dated 10 November 2020 under the Freedom of Information Act (our ref:
FOI-1270844).  The Department holds relevant information.

 

I am writing to inform you that the Department's consideration of the
balance of the public interest with regards to your request is not yet
complete, and requires further time to complete in line with Section 10(3)
of the FOI Act.

 

The Department is currently assessing the public interest in release under
Sections 43 (commercial sensitivity) and 35 (policy in formulation) of the
FOIA.

 

We anticipate this process will take no longer than a further 20 working
days to complete. We therefore aim to respond fully to your request by 6
April 2021.

 

Please accept my apologies for this further delay.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Dorothy Crowe

Freedom of Information Officer

Department of Health and Social Care

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Booth,

With apologies for the delay, please find attached the Department of
Health and Social Care's response to your FOI request (our
ref: FOI-1270844).

Yours sincerely, 

Dorothy Crowe
Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

show quoted sections

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health and Social Care's handling of my FOI request 'Joint Biosecurity Centre agreements, data sources and DPIAs' to which you responded that documents establishing a new directorate within DHSC on 1 June 2020, and documents defining its relationship to an Executive Agency of DHSC, were "not necessary".

For absolute clarity, and according to your public duty under Section 16 of the Act, is it DHSC's position that such documents DO NOT EXIST - or just that they are not in any sort of DHSC 'filing cabinet’, or on any DHSC IT system? (Or that they were at some point, but have been deleted?)

I remind you also that best practice guidelines are that DHSC should forward my request to the appropriate body if it knows the information is held elsewhere - e.g. if any such establishing documents are ‘held’ by Test and Trace or the JBC, even if not by DHSC directly - and that Section 3(2)(b) of the Act entitles me to ‘information held on behalf of an authority’.

Your response states that the JBC "utilises" DPIAs held by DHSC, which falls well within my definition of "operational steps JBC has taken to ensure robust privacy and ethical standards are upheld" - this is indeed one of the key reasons why DPIAs are done! For avoidance of doubt, in response to my request I would expect to have been provided with copies of all of the DPIAs that the JBC has utilised that were held by DHSC.

Your response confirms that DHSC does hold these DPIAs, and not only refuses to release them but fails to provide reasons under the Act for witholding the information requested.

I look forward to a prompt response, i.e. within within 20 working days.

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

Yours faithfully,

Phil Booth