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Staff Awards Sponsorship

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Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I would be interested in any information held by your organisation regarding my request. I understand that I do not have to specify particular files or documents and it is the departments responsibility to provide the information I require. If you need further clarification please contact me via this website (or email). I would like to request the following information:

I am interested in the sponsorship of your Staff Awards, this year (23rd November 2018) and the preceding one:
1) Please disclose a full list of the sponsors of your Staff Awards and amount of sponsorship received both this year and last year.
2) If available please provide the breakdown in sponsorship per category of award (organisation and amount donated for each category) or prize with monetary value (for each year).
3) Please disclose a copy of the invitation to the Staff Awards for each of the last two years (emails and flyer if available).
4) Please disclose which external organisations had representatives present last year, and that it is known (or intended as of time of writing) will have representatives this year - company name and job title/grade if known please.
5) Please confirm who was eligible to attend last year, and will be eligible to attend this year.
6) If held please disclose attendance numbers last year.
7) Was there a fee to attend, if so how much was this? Were only prize winners and family permitted to attend?
8) Was there an open bar, if so who paid for this? Else was there any discount at the bar due to sponsorship and if so from whom.
9) Please disclose copies of any photographs you hold from the event last year.

I would like the information to be provided by email or on this website in electronic form. If my request is denied in whole or in part I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to your response within 20 working days as outlined by the statute. Many thanks for your assistance with this request.

Yours faithfully,
Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Hello,

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request. Freedom of information only applies to corporate information; this e-mail confirms receipt of your request for this type of information only.

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act we will expect to respond to this request in 20 working days. However we are now investigating the nature of the search and the quantity of information requested. If there is a cost involved in collecting the information then we will suspend the period for response until such time as we receive your payment. We will advise you of any such costs.

In accordance with section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 where multiple requests for information are received from one person or by different persons who appear to be acting in together in a single campaign the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them. To this effect your requests for information will be dealt with under the single reference number above.

There are also a number of exemptions which the Act permits with respect to releasing information. The information will be assessed for these exemptions prior to us releasing the information to you. We will advise you if we are unable to provide the information requested.

Please note that a significant amount of information is also available via our Publication Scheme which can be accessed via the Trust’s website www.coch.nhs.uk and one of its benefits is that it makes information easily accessible and without charge.

Freedom of Information Officer
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
[email address]

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Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST),

I note this section in your acknowledgement:

"In accordance with section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 where multiple requests for information are received from one person or by different persons who appear to be acting in together in a single campaign the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them. To this effect your requests for information will be dealt with under the single reference number above."

I would request that you process my FOIs separately, however if not I would direct that you please contact me before the deadline asking for a refinement to be made to permit you to comply. You have a statutory duty to help me adjust my request should section 12 be truly engaged and you should not lump unconnected requests together to create a pretence of engagement of this section.

Also, I assume you are only referring to my other request? I say this as I note this section:

"or by different persons who appear to be acting in together in a single campaign the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them."

The second criterion would appear not to apply to my requests at first glance, but I note there is a typo (here 'or by different persons who appear to be acting IN [TYPO] TOGETHER IN a single campaign' ) which suggests this phrase may be bespoke rather than generic - I cannot see this reproduced elsewhere on previous FOIs (but I'll look more carefully). I am hopeful I am reading too much into a simple typo here and, if this is reproduced in other FOIs as part of standard wording you may wish to fix it.

To be clear: 
I am making this request on my own and will not have my access rights unjustifiably restricted/curtailed by any attempt to falsely conflate or aggregate my request with any other FOI(s) you may be receiving from other parties - whether or not they are also interested in similar issues. I would view such an assertion as simply a way for the trust attempting to avoid discharging its statutory duties.

For your information, I have heard from a number of locums at your trust directly - many of whom would be fearful of speaking out directly as lack of job security/mutuality of obligations means they could be dismissed immediately on a whim - and I am reading all other related public information disclosed on http://www.whatdotheyknow.com in response to FOIs. Where I wish to corroborate this first hand information, or learn more regarding information I find published on www.whatdotheyknow.com I will naturally place further FOIs, if necessary. Obviously I will seek to avoid this, if possible.

I am concerned that the apparently bespoke section of this acknowledgement may be a prelude to attempting to conflate my requests with those of some other requestor or requestors in an attempt to avoid disclosing information not covered by exemptions which ought to be disclosed.

To reduce the number of requests I need to send you it is my intention to continue reading all FOIs placed to your trust through both www.whatdotheyknow.comand your website in an attempt to avoid duplicating the trusts workload, this may mean from time to time that I place a follow up request where I feel more information would be useful about a subject matter of interest in responses provided by the trust.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Hello,

The Trust acknowledge receipt of your email and will respond in due course.

Freedom of Information Officer,
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Hello,

The Trust are working to collate the information requested and expect to respond by close of business 12th October 2018.

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Officer
Countless of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

2 Attachments

Hello,

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.

Kind regards,
Freedom of Information Officer
Countess of Chester Hospital
[email address]

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Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Staff Awards Sponsorship'.

Thank you for your response could I please ask you to clarify the answers highlighted below:

Re this question, many thanks for your response which you have interpreted in a slightly different manner from that which was intended:

"1) Please disclose a full list of the sponsors of your Staff Awards and amount of sponsorship received both this year and last year."

Thank you for the list and total, could you please provide the *per organisation* breakdown of the amount of sponsorship received.

Your answer to this question:

"If available please provide the breakdown in sponsorship per category of award (organisation and amount donated for each category) or prize with monetary value (for each year)"

Appears to be potentially wilfully obstructive in the context of a freedom of information act request. You are a specified public body as set out in schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and thus are subject to the act. Answering such questions is a statutory duty and you cannot elect not to answer then direct people to other bodies where you do not wish to answer - especially ones not subject to the FOIA themselves.

Where the cost limit does not apply, the act places you under a LEGAL DUTY to:

1) Confirm/Deny if the information is held (with very few highly specific exceptions)
2) Disclose the information unless subject to an exemption
3) Correctly cite any exemptions and, where qualified, fully disclose the reasoning behind the exemption.

In this response:

"If you require this information then this should be requested directly from the relevant organisation."

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are the relevant organisation, and it is in receipt of a freedom of information act 2000 request for this information. I would very much appreciate if you could please comply with your statutory duty to respond promptly to this request. Ignoring questions you do not wish to answer is unacceptable and would potentially leave you in breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

With respect to the following question:

"Please disclose which external organisations had representatives present last year, and that it is known (or intended as of time of writing) will have representatives this year - company name and job title/grade if known please."

Thank you for the numbers of representatives I would point you out that the company name and job title/grade has been asked for.

With respect to this part of the question on attendance:

"other relevant Trust Staff"

Could you clarify precisely which groups of staff and stakeholders please. Specifically does this mean the trust board/management?

"No open/discounted bar. No alcohol paid for by the trust"
£11.5k is rather a large sum of sponsorship, and I do note that your answer does not cover one specific possibility, which I would appreciate if you could please clarify. You have stated- No alcohol was paid for *by the trust*, was alcohol paid for with the sponsorship/by the sponsors?

Could you also address the highlighted procedural problems either by (preferably) disclosing information or correctly citing exemptions in accordance with the Act:

Re: 'Please disclose copies of any photographs you hold from the event last year.'

1. Being taken by an external party or not is *completely irrelevant* - if the trust holds the information then who took them would not prevent disclosure. It is also very likely that the trust actually engaged the photographer in which case the photos would legally be the trusts property anyway and this appears to be a simple pretext to avoid disclosure.

2. It is not necessary to gain permission to circulate photographs taken at such an event.

3. This same FOI has been placed at several other NHS trusts who received sponsorship at their staff awards all of whom have disclosed this.

Overall comment:

I note that, despite multiple parts of the request have been avoided, or ignored, without any attempt to justify this under the Freedom of Information Act/cite exemptions to explain such omissions. Whilst I am grateful for the information received, I cannot help but feel that there may be a general attempt to evade disclosure of how much each organisation paid with regard to prizes, which staff groups may have benefitted from it most, what £11.5k of sponsorship was sent on, and the job titles of those in attendance. I am hopeful this was simply a rushed job and you will now provide all the information sought and justify any redactions.

I would kindly ask that you please provide the clarifications sought and conduct an internal review. No information should be withheld without citing the exemptions.

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

Yours faithfully,

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Hello,

The Trust acknowledge receipt of your email and will respond in due course.

Freedom of Information Officer,
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST),

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

I am writing to highlight that you are in breach of your statutory obligations the Freedom of Information Act 2000 due to failure to respond promptly to the internal review request of 9th October 2018.

This should have occurred within 20 working days as outlined in the statutory timeframe and the Information Commissioner expects a response in all instances by 40 days - although such cases should be exceptional.

38 working days have now elapsed since the request was placed and thus your response is expected, at the latest, by Tuesday next week. We will hold off on referring the Trust for breach of the freedom of information act to the ICO until this date.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST),

My apologies for the miscalculation I forgot to deduct weekend days. In any case it is now over 20 days and the internal review is response is expected.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Your Freedom of Information request is currently under a Trust internal review and you will receive a response in due course.

Kind Regards,
Freedom of Information Officer
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST),

NOTE - RESPONSE REQUIRED BY FRIDAY AND ADDITIONAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST AT THE END OF THIS EMAIL

Whilst I am hopeful that this could be an (albeit inexcusable) simple oversight and that you will rectify the situation as a matter of urgency, this request is now outrageously overdue. This is a gross failure to honor your statutory duties under the Act.

Trusting that this is a simple oversight, I will give you until this Friday to comply before I escalate this matter to the Information Commissioner's Office and inform the Loan Charge All Party Parliamentary Group of my concerns relating to what may potentially be unlawful concealment. I would remind the trust that it is under a statutory duty to reply promptly and ICO guidance and information tribunal case law suggest that a response should have occurred by now in all instances (indeed it should have occurred long ago). I would also point to the trust's failure to request extra time.

If I am forced to escalate this matter to the ICO, which I note others have needed to do before at this trust, I will request that formal decision notices are issued against the trust in respect of its multiple breaches of its statutory duties and that appropriate sanctions to alter what appears to be a repeated pattern of behavior by the trust are put in place.

==============Further Freedom of Information Act Request================

I am interested in exploring further what has happened in relation to the answering of my original FOI request above and therefore, as a further Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request I hereby request:

1. All notes, emails, and both internal and external discussion/other information in a recorded format relating to the answering of the original FOI including subsequent internal review.
2. Specifically all communications with sponsors and their replies are to be considered within scope, and equally all discussions between the Information Governance team and board members, and any other internal departments or external sources relating to the request.
3. The subject, to, from, and date and time fields of all communications are to be considered within the scope of the request as are all attachments to any emails, and as are all email discussions and forwarded emails contained below any email identified.
4. The domain name (the bit that follows the @) can never be personal identifying information as only the username (the part before the @) identifies an individual, and thus must be disclosed in all instances. In respect of senior officials the full name should be disclosed. Job titles should be disclosed in all instances.

All qualified exemptions are to be justified in full with reference to the public interest, and where relevant prejudice tests, where actionable breach of contract is alleged then the date, time, and if relevant subject and email addresses should be disclosed along with the signed and dated non-disclosure agreement it is alleged would form a basis for this. In the unlikely event that clarification is required I would ask that you kindly contact within the statutory 48 hour time-frame.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this email and to respond to my original internal review (a response which as been awaited since December 2018) and for your prompt response within the 20 day time frame to the above follow on request.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

Dear FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST),

Errata - delete statutory before 48 timeframe - it is ICO guidance as best I am aware.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH

FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Good Afternoon,

The Trust can confirm reciept of your email and will be in contact in due course.

Freedom of Information Officer

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

[email address]

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FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH,

The Trust is conducting an internal review to your Freedom of Information Request. Please see attached update in reference to this.

Kind Regards,
Freedom of Information Officer
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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FOI, Enquiries (COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

1 Attachment

Hello,

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.

Kind regards,
Freedom of Information Officer
Countess of Chester Hospital
[email address]

show quoted sections

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Dr Colin Iain Campbell MBChB FRSPH please sign in and let everyone know.