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Departmental Freedom of Information

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many freedom of information officers are employed on (a) a full-time and (b) a part-time basis by his Department, its agencies, health authorities and trusts; and what recent estimate he has made of the overall annual cost of their employment. (253079)

The number of staff employed to deal with requests under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act on a full-time and a part-time basis by the Department, its agencies, and the overall estimated annual cost of their employment are set out in the following table.

The estimated overall annual cost of their employment is £360,000, based on the mid-range of salary per member of staff.

In addition, the Department and its agencies call on legal support as required.

Information for health authorities and trusts is not routinely collected. The cost of gathering such information would be disproportionate.

Staff employed to deal with requests under Freedom of Information Act: Department of Health (including. Connecting for Health), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency

Number of staff

Department of Health (including CfH)

MHRA

NHS PASA

Total WTE

Full-time

8.3

0.65

0.13

9.78

Part-time

2.28

nil

nil

2

Total WTE

10.58

0.65

0.13

11.78

Notes:

1. CFH: Connecting for Health

2. Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency

3. NHS PASA: NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency

4. WTE: Whole Time Equivalent

5. Estimates from proportions of staff time dedicated to FOI work

6. p/t staff includes one agency staff