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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde intervention escalated

Commissioner escalates intervention to bring FOI improvements to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Scottish Information Commissioner David Hamilton has escalated his intervention to bring improvements in the freedom of information request-handling of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC). 

Under freedom of information (FOI) law, public authorities must respond to the requests for information they receive promptly, and within 20 working days of receipt. In June 2023, the Commissioner launched an intervention to bring improvements NHSGGC’s FOI practice, following data which found that NHSGGC was responding to only 61% of requests within the statutory timescale. The Commissioner’s intervention requires NHSGGC to raise on-time performance levels to 85% or above.

The Commissioner has this week taken the decision to escalate this intervention from Level 1 to Level 3 – the second highest intervention level - following a review of recent data which showed that no significant improvement in on-time performance levels had been achieved over the last year. Across 2023-24, data shows that an average on-time performance level of just 59% was achieved, with performance falling below 50% between July and December 2023.  

Commenting on the decision to escalate the intervention, David Hamilton said:

“It has been disappointing to see that our initial Level 1 intervention to improve the provision of information to patients, families and other stakeholders has not had the effect required, with fewer than 50% of requests to NHSGCC being responded to on time over a significant period last year.

“This situation benefits no one. It causes frustration and delay for service-users, while contributing to more requests or more challenging relations for the public authority. It also, of course, means that the authority is failing to comply with its legal duties under FOI law.

“As a result, I have no choice but to escalate this intervention to Level 3. Level 3 interventions are designed to address serious and systemic FOI failures in Scottish public bodies. They require the development of a detailed action plan to restore performance to an acceptable level – and with it, helping to restore public confidence and public accountability in the service provided.

“I look forward to working with NHSGCC over the coming months as we support the delivery of necessary improvements in this important area.”

The escalation of the NHSGCC intervention brings the number of current Level 3 interventions being carried out by the Commissioner to three. The other two live Level 3 interventions are being undertaken to bring improvements in key areas of the Scottish Government’s FOI performance.

Read more about the Commissioner’s intervention with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.