Dear Department of Health,

Please send me a copy of the KPMG report into NHS Choices and NHS Direct. I'm happy with an electronic copy if this is the only way you can get it to me.

If there are any problems, please call my parliamentary office on 0207 219 8335.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Watson MP

Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health website's [3]Frequently Asked Questions.

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References

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Harry Metcalfe left an annotation ()

Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Watson

We noticed that this request appears as currently unanswered on the
WhatDoThey Know website because the Department of Health’s response was
sent to you at a different email address.

Therefore, we are sending the response to you again so that WhatDoThey Know
users can see the reply. This was originally sent on 30 July, and we are
now conducting an internal review.

Our response:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 12 July, in which
you requested a copy of the KPMG report into NHS Choices and NHS Direct.

As you are aware, the Department does hold information relevant to your
request. However, as this documentation relates to the formulation of
government policy, it has been considered in relation to Section 35(1)(a)
of the FOI Act. Section 35 is a qualified exemption which requires
careful consideration of the public interest test. In applying this
exemption, we have had to consider the public interest in maintaining the
exemption against the public interest in disclosing the information.

In this case, there is a general public interest in being able to
understand better why decisions in this area are reached. We recognise
that the decisions Ministers make have a significant impact on the lives of
citizens and that there is a public interest in this process being
transparent. In accordance with the requirements of Section 35(4), we
have considered the particular public interest in the disclosure of factual
information which has been used, or is intended to be used, to provide an
informed background to decision taking.

However, Section 35 is statutory recognition of the public interest in
allowing government to have a clear space, immune from exposure to public
view, in which it can debate matters with candour and free from the
pressures of public political debate. Government officials need to be
able to engage in free and frank discussion of all the policy options
internally to expose their merits and demerits and their possible
implications as appropriate. Their candour in doing so will be affected
by their assessment of whether the content of such discussion will be
disclosed in the near future. For these reasons, we have concluded that
the public interest in withholding this information outweighs the public
interest to release. We are therefore withholding the documentation in
question.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to:

Head of the Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health
Room 317
Richmond House
79 Whitehall,
London
SW1A 2NS

Email: [email address]
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure
provided by the Department. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Lynn Swyny
FOI Case Manager
Department of Health

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Francis Irving left an annotation ()

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