SD Corr

JJ Evans made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Health and Social Care Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Department of Health and Social Care.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Please provide copies of all correspondence, relating to the establishment of an Infected Blood Compensation cross-departmental group at Permanent Secretary level, sent to or received by the below persons (including any attachments) during the period 1st October 2022 - 3rd January 2023.

1) the Second Permanent Secretary, Shona Dunn

Yours faithfully,

JJ Evans

Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Evans,

Thank you for your request of 13 February under the Freedom of Information
Act (our ref:FOI-1438386)

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
Section 35.

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 13
April.
 
Please accept my apologies for this delay.
 
If you are not satisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to appeal by asking for an internal review once you have received
your response. This should be sent to [DHSC request email] within two
months of the date of our FOI response.  
 
If you are not content with the outcome of your internal review, or should
you wish to raise a complaint about our handling of the case, you may
complain directly to the ICO. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision
unless you have already appealed our original response and received our
internal review decision. You should raise your concerns with the ICO
within three months of your last meaningful contact with us.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care
 

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Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Evans,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your recent FOI request (our ref: FOI-1438386).

Yours sincerely, 

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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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 'SD Corr'.

I am writing to request an Internal Review of your response to my FOIA request FOI-1438386.

I wish to challenge the applications of S35(1).

Firstly, To be exempt under S35(1)(a), the information must relate to the formulation or development of government policy. It is disputed that the information meets this test.

The ICO is clear that "the exemption does not cover information relating purely to the application or implementation of established policy. It is therefore important to identify where policy formulation or development ends and implementation begins."

The government has already accepted the moral case for compensation (Citation: HC Deb, 15 December 2022, c1249). Indeed, the government has already paid £100,000 in interim compensation payments to those infected still alive and bereaved partners. It is, therefore, incorrect to assert that the formulation of policy relates to the principle of Infected Blood compensation itself. It is far more likely the information requested refers to "the application or implementation of established policy". The information likely relates to what the Paymaster General referred to in the House of Commons as "taking forward work strands" relating to infected blood compensation.

As part of the public interest test, I do not believe enough weight, if any, has been given to the fact that many of those infected and affected by infected blood products do not think that the government is progressing with the established policy of paying compensation in relation to infected blood. Releasing this information would increase public confidence that the government is doing what it says it is doing. Furthermore, if the information shows the opposite, then the public interest favours the public knowing that is the case.

Even if it could be shown that some information is captured by S35, it is disputed that such a wide scope of the information requested is captured by S35.

"The term 'formulation' of policy refers to the early stages of the policy process". That is not where infected blood compensation is. Indeed, it would be very worrying to those infected and affected if this were the case. Interim payments have been paid and the framework has existed for almost a year. Infected blood compensation is in the implementation stage.

The term "framework" is specifically used by the ICO in their guidance. Given Sir Robert has delivered the "compensation framework" to the government a year ago, this is of particular significance: "In this context, the policy can be seen as a framework of ‘rules’ put in place to achieve a particular objective. This framework sets in stone some fundamental details, but also inevitably leaves more detailed decisions to be made by those implementing the plan, thus giving some inbuilt flexibility on how it can be delivered. Any such adjustment or decision that can be made within this inbuilt flexibility – ie without altering the original objectives or rules – is likely to be an implementation decision rather than policy development."

Yours faithfully,

JJ Evans

Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Evans,

I am writing to inform you that our reply to your requested internal
review of FOI-1438386 will be delayed for a short period. This is owing to
the complexity of the case and staff absence. I hope we will be in a
position to issue our reply within the next 20 working days.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying and for any
inconvenience it may have caused.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Internal Reviews
Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health and Social Care

7 Attachments

Dear Mr Evans,

Your requested internal review of FOI-1438386 is now complete.

Please see the attached letter and other documents for the outcome.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Internal Reviews
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.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Gone to ICO today.

Yours faithfully,

JJ Evans