Permanent Secretary Correspondence

Currently waiting for a response from Department of Health (Northern Ireland), they should respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dear Department of Health (Northern Ireland),

I would ask that this letter is accepted as a Freedom of Information request.

Please provide a copy of a letter dated 27/10/2014 issued by Permanent Secretary under reference RP123,

In addition please also provide a copy of the letters, emails to which the Permanent Secretary's letter of 27/10/2019 was a response to.

Please acknowledge receipt of this Freedom of Information request.

Yours faithfully,

Ed Robb

McCann, John (DOH), Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

2 Attachments

Ed

We have received your Freedom of Information request and I attach your
acknowledgement letter and a Public Information Leaflet.

John McCann
Information Management Branch
Department of Health
Tel: 02890 528218

John McCann
Information Management Branch
DoH
Tel: 02890 528218

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Dear McCann, John (DOH),

Many thanks for your acknowledgement to my Freedom of Information request.

My request read:
"Please provide a copy of a letter dated 27/10/2014 issued by Permanent Secretary under reference RP123,
In addition please also provide a copy of the letters, emails to which the Permanent Secretary's letter of 27/10/2019 was a response to."

Please note the date 27/10/2019 in relation to the Permanent Secretary's of response is clearly an error. The correct date should have been 27/10/2014.

Apologies for this error.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

McCann, John (DOH), Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

No problem Ed, noted.

John McCann
Information Management Branch
DoH
Tel: 02890 528218

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Dear McCann, John (DOH),

My FoI request refers.

Having initially failed to provide a prompt reply to my request the Department by then failing to provide a complete response within the days allowed by statute has breached its statutory obligations as imposed by statute.

Trusting this delay is in no way down to the Department's attempting to delay disclosure of information which could/may have the potential to embarrass both the Department and the Permanent Secretary.

In the absence of an immediate response this failure will be drawn to the attention of Minister Swann.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

McCann, John (DOH), Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

Ed

I have forwarded both of your e-mails to the relevant business area within the Department.

John McCann
Information Management Branch
DoH
Tel: 02890 528218

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Patterson, Wendy, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    RE HPRM Freedom of Information request Health Minister Correspondence.txt

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Ed

Sorry for the delay in responding to this request. Officials are currently reviewing the document and considering if any redactions are required.

I will be in touch soon

Regards
Wendy

Corporate Management Directorate │ DOH │ Room D3 │ Castle Buildings│ Stormont Estate │ Belfast │ BT4 3SQ │ 028 905 23112 │ Ext.23112

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Dear Patterson, Wendy,

The Department's response to my Foi request is long overdue.

In the absence of final response by 4.00pm on 6 March 2020 the Department's legislative breach will be referred to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

Dear McCann, John (DOH),

My communication of 5 March 2020 refers.

You will recall I indicated that in the absence of substantive response by 4.00pm on 6 March 2020 the Department's Section 10 failure would be drawn to the attention of the Information Commissioner.

In the absence of any form of response I can confirm I have drawn the Department’s failure to the attention of the information Commissioner and that my communication has already been acknowledged.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

Ed Robb left an annotation ()

Complaint made to ICO re Department's failure to comply with FOIA's (Case ref: FS50915672)

ICO have written to the Department requesting a response be issued within ten working days, ie by Wednesday 25 March 2020.

Feeney, Joe, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Robb

I attach the Department of Health’s response to your FOI request of 8^th
January 2020.

I apologise for the delay in my response.

Joseph Feeney

Local Information Manger

Finance Directorate  

Joseph Feeney

 

Joseph Feeney

DoH| Finance Directorate | D3 Castle Buildings | Stormont Estate, Belfast
| BT4 3SQ

 02890 765634| Ext: 89634

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Dear Feeney, Joe,

Your delayed responses of 13 March 2020 refers.

In disclosing a redacted version of the Permanent Secretary's letter of 27/10/2014 you failed to disclose copies of the Public Interest Test's carried out the results of which supported your use of FOIA Section 40(2) and Section 43(2)exemption. Please forward a copy of the Public Interest Test documents.

Your response to the second element of my request namely, the Department holds no record of a letter dated
27 October 2019 issued by the Permanent Secretary and as such the Department is unable to provide any associated letters or e-mails is a correct response to my original request but overlooks the correction sent to your colleague on 15 January 2020 namely "Please note the date 27/10/2019 in relation to the Permanent Secretary's response is clearly an error. The correct date should have been 27/10/2014."

Based on your response to the first element of my request I was clearly seeking a copy of the letters, emails etc to which the Permanent Secretary's letter of 27/10/2014, issued under RP123, was a response to.
With your disclosure it is now clear that my corrected request was in effect seeking a copy of the email of 15 September 2014 and the related letter of 13 October 2014.

Please now forward copies of these two documents.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

Feeney, Joe, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

Dear Mr Robb

 

Regarding your Freedom of Information request – FOI/ 0006 and follow up to
FOI/0005, (your e-mail of 14/03/2020 refers).I apologise sincerely for the
delay in responding to these requests.

 

Given that so many Departmental staff are working from home it has been
extremely difficult to retrieve and collate the information which you have
requested. Unavoidable pressures have ensued in many areas of “normal
business”.

 

I will endeavour, as best as is possible, to provide you with a response
as soon as is practically possible.

 

Your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated at this time.

 

Yours sincerely.

 

 

Joseph Feeney

Local Information Manager

Department of Health – Finance Directorate

 

 

Joseph Feeney

DoH| Finance Directorate | D3 Castle Buildings | Stormont Estate, Belfast
| BT4 3SQ

 02890 765634| Ext: 89634

 

 

Dear Feeney, Joe,

Thankyou for your update communication of 30 April 2020.

I note your comments however bearing in mind that as far back as 14 March 2020 I made it clear to you that I was seeking a copy of the letters, emails etc to which the Permanent Secretary's letter of 27 October 2014, issued under RP123, was a response to. Further I even indicated the documents which would satisfy my request namely a copy of an email (received) dated 15 September 2014 and a letter dated 13 October 2014.

On that basis your explanation of 30 April 2020 seems rather flimsy and I would now insist that this issue is prioritised and copies of these documents be sent without further delay.

I would be concerned if the release of these documents is being purposely held back in an attempt to frustrate my legitimate entitlements.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

Feeney, Joe, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

Dear Mr Robb

Thank you for your email of 1st May 2020 (below).

In the first instance I wish to assure you that no documents are being purposely held back in an attempt to frustrate you nor is my justification for not being in a position to fully comply with your request anything short of legitimate.

For a significant number of weeks now the staff who would normally be required to formulate a response to your FOI request are all specifically engaged in Departmental duties associated with the Covid -19 Pandemic, additionally, many other members of staff throughout this Department have been re-deployed from their normal duties.

It has therefore been particularly difficult not only in searching for the relevant requested information, but also having to subsequently discuss any queries I have with the relevant staff involved there-in - before releasing any information.

As previously stated, I can assure you that I will endeavour to provide you with the information requested as soon as is possible.

Consequently I hope that you can appreciate and understand the unique difficulties that all the staff throughout the Department of Health are experiencing at this particular time during this health crisis and the reasons why we have had to re-prioritise our work over the last number of weeks and months.

If at all possible it would be most helpful in my search for information if you could perhaps clarify or provide me with the name of the suppliers you refer to in your FOI -006/2020 request (08/01/2020) from whom a letter was addressed to Minister dated 6th July 2015.

Yours sincerely

Joseph Feeney

Local Information Officer
Finance Directorate
Department of Health

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DoH| Finance Directorate | D3 Castle Buildings | Stormont Estate, Belfast | BT4 3SQ
02890 765634| Ext: 89634
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Dear Feeney, Joe,

Your communication of 6 May 2020 refers.
"If at all possible it would be most helpful in my search for information if you could perhaps clarify or provide me with the name of the suppliers you refer to in your FOI -006/2020 request (08/01/2020) from whom a letter was addressed to Minister dated 6th July 2015."

I fear you have confused yourself somewhat as the question you pose relates to another outstanding FoI request.

The reference for this request is FoI- 005/2020. You have already made a partial disclosure namely the Permanent Secretary's response letter issued under ref RP123. To fully respond to my request I expect the documents you are looking for are linked to this response letter.

I await your final response .

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb

Dear Patterson, Wendy,

My most recent communication of 8 May 2020 refers.

The Department’s failures in this regard, even in times of pandemic emergency, are totally unacceptable and with each day that passes I have a growing perception that something is badly amiss. My perception is not of incompetence but something more serious.

Then again you can prove my perception to be groundless by making the necessary disclosures and belatedly satisfying the Department's obligations under the Freedom of Information legislation.

Has this issue yet been drawn to the Minister’s attention? It perhaps should be as it has already been
(twice) drawn to the attention of the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Robb