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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50146982
  • Date: 3 December 2007
  • Public Authority: NHS London
  • Summary: The complainant wrote to North East London NHS Strategic Health Authority (the “SHA”) regarding an internal inquiry carried out by East London and The City NHS Mental Health Trust (the “MHT”) into the death of a patient (“Mr A”) in 2001, and the subsequent decision not to hold an independent inquiry into his death – a decision that had been made by the SHA. The complainant contacted the SHA and requested all information relating to the internal inquiry carried out by the MHT and any recommendations which the SHA had made. The request was made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Act”). The SHA provided some information but withheld the majority of the information requested, citing the exemptions listed at sections 36 and 38. After carrying out an internal review, the SHA upheld the decision to withhold the information under section 36 and also stated it believed that some of the information in question was exempt under section 41. It did, however, inform the applicant that it was no longer relying on section 38. During the course of the Commissioner’s investigation the SHA confirmed that it held further documents which fell under the scope of the request, and informed him that it believed that sections 36, 41 and 44 applied to these documents – although it later dropped section 44. After considering the circumstances of the case the Commissioner decided that most of the information was exempt under sections 36 and 41. He also decided that a limited amount of information was exempt from disclosure under section 40. However, the Commissioner did decide that section 41 did not apply to all of the withheld information and that the SHA had breached the requirements of section 1 of the Act, in that it had wrongly withheld some information under this exemption. Further to this it had not fully informed the complainant of all the information it held in relation to her request. He also decided that the SHA was in breach of section 17, as it had not informed the complainant of all the exemptions it sought to rely upon. Consequently, the complaint is partially upheld and the Commissioner requires that some of the information be disclosed. NHS London has since taken over responsibilities for North East London NHS Strategic Health Authority, and therefore this notice is addressed to it. Information Tribunal appeal (EA/2008/0044) has been withdrawn.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]