Refusal to Answer to Questions in Writing

S Sabato made this Freedom of Information request to Highland NHS Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Highland NHS Board,

According to a recent communication I received, the public authority says that it will only answer to my questions in an organised meeting.

Can you please tell me in what circumstances public authorities have the statutory right to refuse to answer in writing to questions submitted in writing?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Oliver Kenny (NHS HIGHLAND), Highland NHS Board

Dear Mr Sabato

Thank you for your request - I am not aware of the correspondence you are referring to so I would be grateful if you could forward me a copy of your original request and the response you refer to in order that we can understand the context of you request

Thanks

Kenny Oliver
Board Secretary
NHS Highland

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Dear Highland NHS Board,

Thank you for your reply.

Please contact the interim support services manager and the H.R. manager; they will hopefully be able to provide you with a copy of our correspondence.

However, I do not see why the public authority needs to see the correspondence. This FoI request is not about the correspondence itself. It is about the request to attend a meeting for an answer to a piece of correspondence.

Anybody in the world can submit a written question to NHS Highland, and ask anything they wish. Do people have to come to attend meetings for an answer?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Oliver Kenny (NHS HIGHLAND), Highland NHS Board

Dear Mr Sabato

I am responding to your e-mail below.

Without the detail of the questions you asked I can only respond on the basis of the question asked below. The Public Authority can refuse to provide information for a number of different reasons. Under Freedom of Information legislation the Public Authority is required to provide recorded information, there are also a number of exemptions which can be applied by the Public Authority as appropriate - see the website below for details of the exemptions available:

http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Law/F...

Exemptions applied should be explained on any correspondence with the requester.

If you are able to provide more detail regarding the specific question you have asked then we can seek to provide a more comprehensive answer.

Thanks

Kenny Oliver
Board Secretary
NHS Highland

-------------------------------------------
From: S Sabato[SMTP:[email address]]
Sent: 28 November 2012 13:16:23
To: FOIRequestsHighland (NHS HIGHLAND)
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Refusal to Answer to Questions in Writing
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear Highland NHS Board,

According to a recent communication I received, the public
authority says that it will only answer to my questions in an
organised meeting.

Can you please tell me in what circumstances public authorities
have the statutory right to refuse to answer in writing to
questions submitted in writing?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

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[FOI #140211 email]

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Dear Highland NHS Board,

Thank you for your request of clarifications.

Has the public authority contacted the interim support services manager or the H.R. manager? From the emails I was sent the public authority should be able to understand what my FoI request is about. But I understand that I should try to be more specific in what I am asking in this FoI request.

The content of the emails I received should be covered by the Code of Conduct and Behaviour Policy, which I presume it to be recorded information.

Every public authority should have a Code of Conduct and Behaviour Policy, and it should be easily accessible to everybody.

The Code of Conduct and Behaviour Policy should clearly states the answers I was looking for in my emails.

I just do not see why answers can be given at meetings but not in writing?

I hope of having given sufficient information to the public authority to be able to answer to my FoI request, but please do not hesitate to contact me again if you need more clarifications.

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Dear Highland NHS Board,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Highland NHS Board's handling of my FOI request 'Refusal to Answer to Questions in Writing'.

The public authority has not responded to my reply of 12 December 2012.

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

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Oliver Kenny (NHS HIGHLAND), Highland NHS Board

Dear Mr Sabato

Apologies for the delay - I am acknowledging receipt of your e-mail below in which you request a review of our response to your request of 28th November 2012.

We will respond in due course within the prescribed timescales

Thanks

Kenny Oliver
Board Secretary
NHS Highland

-------------------------------------------
From: S Sabato[SMTP:[email address]]
Sent: 19 January 2013 14:06:49
To: FOIRequestsHighland (NHS HIGHLAND)
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Refusal to Answer to Questions in Writing
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear Highland NHS Board,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Highland NHS Board's
handling of my FOI request 'Refusal to Answer to Questions in
Writing'.

The public authority has not responded to my reply of 12 December
2012.

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

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #140211 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offic...

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your
web manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

Oliver Kenny (NHS HIGHLAND), Highland NHS Board

Dear Mr Sabato

I am contacting you in response to your request for a review of our lack of response to your Freedom of Information request regarding refusal to answer to questions in writing.

First of all, apologies for the lack of response to your e-mail of 12th December, we will try and answer your queries in this response.

If the request for information is submitted in writing and can be deemed to be a Freedom of Information request then the response is required to be in writing.

If the correspondence is to do with your employment or tenancy where NHS Highland is contacting you regarding either matter then it would not be unreasonable for NHS Highland to request a face to face discussion. As an employee and tenant you have some responsibilities as set out in your contract of employment or tenancy agreement and if there are issues surrounding these responsibilities then NHS Highland would have the right to request a face to face discussion.

I hope this information is helpful. If you are unhappy with my response, I am very happy to discuss this with you further. Alternatively you have the right to ask for a review through making a formal complaint, about the way in which I have dealt with your request for information, by writing to the Chief Executive, c/o The Complaints Team, NHS Highland, PO BOX 5713 Inverness, IV1 9AQ or via email at [email address]. If you remain dissatisfied following the investigation of your complaint, then you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner within 6 months of the date of receiving a response to your complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Kenny Oliver
Board Secretary

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