Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
Freedom of Information (FOI) aims to increase openness and transparency for the services we provide. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is intended to promote greater accountability and gives you a general right to access information held on record by the Royal Devon.
Anyone can request this information – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live. However, there are some circumstances when information cannot be disclosed, and we have detailed these below. If what you have requested constitutes “environmental information”, we will handle your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
From April 2022, The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust joined together to form the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Until our services integrate, we will help you direct your request to the relevant team to process. This will not affect the service you receive.
You may not need to make an FOI or EIR request to get the information you want. We are required to routinely publish expenditure data, so please take a look at the links below before you make a request. We make all of our past responses available on our disclosure log, so the information you are after may already be available.
Links for the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) and our Eastern services:
Links for the North Devon District Hospital and our Northern services:
How to request information
The FOI Act stipulates that you must put your request in writing and provide us with your name and a correspondence email / address. Please be as clear and as specific as possible about the information you want.
Until our services integrate, you will need to submit this to the relevant team who will handle your request.
- Please submit FOI and EIR requests regarding the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) and our Eastern services - firstname.lastname@example.org
- For FOI and EIR requests regarding North Devon District Hospital and our Northern services - email@example.com
- If your request requires information from both our Northern services and our Eastern services, you will need to submit a request to both teams until our services have fully integrated
We only use your personal information for the purposes of processing your request and your information will not be disclosed to anyone outside of the Information Governance Team and the Chief Executive’s Office.
When will I receive a response?
Under both pieces of legislation, we are required to provide you with a response as soon as possible, but no later than 20 working days after we receive your request.
If we are unable to provide the information requested within 20 working days, we will advise why, and provide a date by when we expect to be able to respond.
What does the Freedom of information act cover?
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act gives you the right to obtain information held by public authorities unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.
The Freedom of Information Act covers:
- a general right of access to information held by the Trust subject to certain conditions and exemptions
- a duty on us to inform any person who requests information whether we hold the information, and to communicate that information to the applicant unless one or more exemptions apply
What does the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 cover?
The Environmental Information Regulations allows the public to request environmental information from public authorities.
The information covered can be divided into the following six main areas:
- The state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (including human beings)
- Emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances
- Policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment
- Reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses
- The state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain
- Cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment)
Can I request information about myself, patients or staff under the Freedom of Information Act?
The FOI Act does not allow people to obtain personal information about individuals, whether that is you, patients or our staff.
If you require information about yourself, you will need to make a request in accordance with your Data Protection rights. To find out more about how to make a subject access request, please visit our Access Your Personal Data / Health Records page.
Is there a fee?
The majority of information supplied will be free of charge, however, a fee may apply in some circumstances, such as where we seek to cover postage and photocopying expenses. If we intend to charge for your request, we will let you know the fee amount, and how to pay, before we begin to deal with your request.
Will I get all the information I ask for?
The Act aims to strike a balance between promoting openness, protecting the privacy rights of individuals and maintaining the right to confidentiality. This balance is achieved through use of the exemptions defined by the Act.
Exclusions in the Act require us to withhold information that is of a personal, confidential nature or that which may have a negative effect on the conduct of public affairs.
We are also not obliged to deal with requests that are repeated, intended to cause harassment, or would take an excessive amount of staff time to complete.
Where we decide to withhold information, we will advise you of the reason(s) why we cannot fulfil your request.
What if I am dissatisfied with the Royal Devon’s response?
If you are not happy with the information that we have supplied, or if you feel that your enquiry has not been dealt with appropriately, you are entitled to request an Internal Review. This should be made in writing within 40 days of receipt of our response. Please quote your FOI reference number on any correspondence.
To request an Internal Review please contact the Information Governance Team by emailing:
The internal review will be carried out by the appropriate Information Governance Manager relating to your request. You can expect to receive the outcome of the internal review within 20 working days.
If you remain unhappy with the handling/outcome of your Internal Review, you also have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner within two months of receiving our response. You can write to the Information Commissioner's Office at the following address:
Information Commissioner's Office
Where can I find out more?
More information is available on the ICO website at: ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/official-information.
If you have any other general questions or concerns you can contact the Information Governance team.
The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) and our Eastern services
Information Governance Office
Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
North Devon District Hospital and our Northern services
Information Governance Office