The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 came into force on 1st January 2005.
The FOI Act was introduced so that public authorities, like the NHS are seen to be open and transparent in their business processes and to promote a culture of openness and accountability. The Act ensures that:
“Any member of the public has the ability to apply for access to recorded information held by public authorities - this could include policy details, procedures, minutes of meetings”
Please note that this is non patient identifiable information as in the majority of cases requests for patient identifiable information will be made under the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Access to Health Records Act 1990.
Therefore, the FOI Act provides people with a legal ‘right to know’ and recognises that, as a member of the public, you have the right to know how public services such as the NHS are organised and run. The FOI Act gives people a right to obtain official information held by Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) unless the organisation can show there is good reason for the information to be exempt from publication. The FOI Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 were introduced on 1 January 2005 to afford members of the public access to any environmental information held by public authorities. The regulations are limited to requests for environmental information, whilst other requests for information are to be processed under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the same way as the Freedom of Information Act, requests apply to non-patient identifiable information only.