Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Freedom of Information Act gives any person the right to request any information held by a public authority.

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is to promote openness by public authorities by increasing transparency and accountability and improving decision making.

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside will comply in full with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (2000).

The presumption is always that the requested information, where it exists, should be supplied.

A written response should be made to the enquirer within 20 working days.

To make a request under Freedom of Information please email:

Who can request information?

Anyone, anywhere in the world can make a Freedom of Information request to NHS Cheshire and Merseyside.

What can I request?

You can seek any recorded information that you think the organisation may hold.

If the information you seek is environmental then we will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. You do not have to know whether the information you want is covered by the Environmental Information Regulations or Freedom of Information Act. When you make a request, we will decide which law applies.

If the information you seek is your own personal data or information about yourself then you should make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998, and not under the Freedom of Information Act.

What information must I include in my request?

The Freedom of Information Act requires certain information to be supplied before the organisation can respond to your request:

• your real name – we do not have to respond to requests submitted under a pseudonym;
• your address (email addresses are acceptable);
• a description of the information you wish to obtain; and
• any preferences for the format in which you wish to receive the information e.g. electronic or hard copy. We will endeavour to meet your preferences but cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so

What happens when my request is received?

The organisation has a legal obligation to reply to your Freedom of Information request and must do so within 20 working days of receipt. In replying we will do one of the following:

  • supply you with the information you requested;
  • inform you that we don’t hold the information and, if we are able, advise you who does;
  • inform you that your request will exceed the cost limit specified in the Fees Regulations and invite you to submit a further narrower request;
  • inform you that we hold the information requested but refuse to provide all or part of it and explain why – this will involve citing one or more of the exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act;
  • inform you that we are refusing your request on the basis it is repeated or vexatious; or
  • inform you that we need more time to consider the public interest test in relation to your request and let you know when to expect a further response. This should not be later than 40 working days after receipt of your request.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the reply or the way in which my request was handled?

You can complain.

Your first point of complaint is the organisation. You will need to ask for an internal review of your Freedom of Information request.

If, after an internal review, you are still not satisfied you can then complain to the Information Commissioner (ICO). Details of how to do this are available at the ICO website.

Full details of how to complain to the organisation will be included in our initial reply to your Freedom of Information request. Details of how to complain further to the Information Commissioner will be included in our response to your internal review request.