Freedom of Information

WE ARE Steven Whittaker Optometrists and this is our Publication Scheme

Produced as required by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

 

Contents

Section 1         Introduction to the publication scheme

Section 2         About Steven Whittaker Optometrists

Section 3         Preparing the publication scheme

Section 4         Accessing information under the scheme

Section 5         Information that we may withhold

Section 6         Our charging policy

Section 7         Our copyright policy

Section 8         Our records management and disposal policy

Section 9         Feedback

Section 10       Complaints

Section 11       How to access information that is not available

under this scheme

Section 12       Classes of information           

Section 1: Introduction to the Publication Scheme

 

Welcome to the Publication Scheme for Steven Whittaker Optometrists as required by the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 (FOISA)

 

FOISA provides individuals with a right of access to all recorded information held by Scotland’s public authorities (including a person providing general ophthalmic services). Anyone can use this right, and information can only be withheld where FOISA expressly permits it.

 

Section 23 of FOISA requires that all Scottish public authorities maintain a publication scheme. A publication scheme sets out the types of information that a public authority routinely makes available. This scheme uses the model publication scheme prepared by Optometry Scotland and approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing FOISA. We are obliged to review this scheme from time to time and it will be reviewed at regular intervals to monitor its effectiveness.

 

The purpose of the scheme is to provide you with details of the range of information that we routinely publish. The scheme also provides details of how you can access this information, and tells you whether it is available free, or if there is a charge for the information.

 

Alongside FOISA, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) provide a separate right of access to the environmental information that we hold. This publication scheme also contains details of the environmental information that we routinely make available.

 

Where information is not published under this scheme, you can request it from us under FOISA or, in the case of environmental information, the EIRs. For further information on accessing information not covered by this scheme, refer to Section 11 – How to access information not available under the scheme.

Section 2: About Steven Whittaker Optometrists

This Publication scheme is a complete guide to the information routinely made available to the public by Steven Whittaker Optometrists, and describes the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) we provide.  GOS comprises eye examinations and sight tests carried out by optometrists for eligible groups of the population paid for by NHS Scotland.  Details of eligibility are available from the practice(s). The Scheme applies to optometrists individually.

The optometrists are: Steven Whittaker

 

As providers of NHS services under the General Ophthalmic Services for NHS Scotland, the optometrists are public authorities under the FOISA and are required to adopt and maintain a scheme of the information we publish. The purpose of FOISA is to ensure that organisations working for the public are more open about the information they have. The optometrists at the practice have regard to the public interest in the information that they make available. We are committed to openness and transparency.

 

We are required by the FOISA to respond to requests from the public to access recorded information that we hold about our NHS services. There are some exemptions to this right and it does not change the rights of our patients to have all of their personal information kept strictly confidential and available to them on request under the Data Protection Act 1998 (see section 11 below).

 

Section 3: Preparing the Publication Scheme

 

When preparing or reviewing our publication scheme, we are obliged by FOISA to have due regard to the public interest in providing access to the information that we hold which relates to:

 

  • the services we provide
  • the costs of those services
  • the standard of those services
  • the facts that inform the important decisions we take, and
  • the reasoning that informs our decisions.

 

This publication scheme has been based on the model publication scheme provided by Optometry Scotland. The scheme was prepared in consultation with the Scottish Information Commissioner and Optometry Scotland.

Optometry Scotland

Optometry Scotland speaks for the optical profession as a whole in Scotland and is actively supported by all the peer group and professional organisations representing optometrists and dispensing opticians in Scotland and throughout the UK.  In formulating the model publication scheme Optometry Scotland took into account the views of optometrists with detailed day to day knowledge of the workings of optical practices and about information that is not patient confidential.  Their input was central to the development work. Optometry Scotland is not a public authority and not covered by FOISA.

 

Optometry Scotland

Suite 342 Baltic Chambers

Wellington Street

Glasgow

G2 6HJ

Tel: 0141 202 0610 50

Fax: 0141 202 0611

Email: info@optometryscotland.org.uk

Website: www.optometryscotland.org.uk

Section 4: Accessing information under the Scheme

 

Information under our publication scheme will normally be available through the routes described below. Section 12 – Classes of Information provides more details on the information available under the scheme, along with additional guidance on how the information falling within each class may be accessed.

Online

Most information listed in our publication scheme is available to download from our website. In many cases a link within Section 12: Classes of Information will direct you to the relevant page or document. Where no such link is present, you can use our website’s search facility at www.stevenwhittaker.co.uk. If you are still having trouble finding any document listed under our scheme, then please call 01241 852180 / 01356 629293 for further assistance.

By email

If the information you seek is listed in our publication scheme but is not published on our website, we can send it to you by email, wherever possible. When requesting information from us, please provide a telephone number so that we can telephone you to clarify details, if necessary.

By phone

Information can also be requested from us over the telephone. Please call 01241 852180 / 01356 629293 to request information available under this scheme.

By post

All information under the scheme will normally be available in paper copy form. Please address your request to:

 

Steven Whittaker Optometrists

58 High St Carnoustie DD76AH

21 High St Brechin DD9 6ES

 

When writing to us to request information, please include your name and address, full details of the information or documents you would like to receive, and any fee applicable (see Section 6: Our Charging Policy for further information on fees). Please also include a telephone number so we can telephone you to clarify any details, if necessary.

Personal visits

Copies of the information will be available from the Practice. Any member of staff will be able to help, but in case of difficulty ask to speak to Steven Whittaker.

Advice and assistance

If you have any difficulty identifying the information you want to access, then please contact  Steven Whittaker who will be happy to help.

 

Steven Whittaker has overall responsibility for the scheme, and can be contacted at:  58 High St Carnoustie DD7 6AH

21 High St Brechin DD9 6ES

Section 5: Information that we may withhold

All information covered by our publication scheme can either be accessed through our website www.stevenwhittaker.co.uk or will be provided promptly following our receipt of your request.

 

Our aim in maintaining this publication scheme is to be as open as possible. You should note that there may be limited circumstances where information will be withheld in one of the classes of information listed in Section 12 – Classes of Information. Information will only be withheld, however, where FOISA (or, in the case of environmental information, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004) expressly permits it.

 

Information may be withheld, for example, where its disclosure would breach the law of confidentiality, harm an organisation’s commercial interests, or endanger the protection of the environment. Information may also be withheld if it is another person’s personal information and its release would breach the data protection legislation.

Whenever information is withheld, we will inform you of this and will set out why it cannot be released. Even where information is withheld, it may, in many cases, be possible to provide copies with the withheld information removed.  If you wish to complain about any information which has been withheld from you, please refer to Section 10 – Complaints.

Section 6 – Our charging policy

Unless otherwise stated in Section 12 – Classes of Information, all information contained within our scheme is available from us free of charge where it can be downloaded from our website or where it can be sent to you electronically by email.

The publications are free unless otherwise indicated.  We reserve the right to impose charges for providing information in paper copy or on computer disc. Charges will reflect the actual costs of reproduction and postage incurred by the practice, as set out below. In the event that a charge is to be levied, you will be advised of the charge and how it has been calculated. Information will not be provided to you until payment has been received.

 

Reproduction costs

Where charges are applied, photocopied information will be charged at a standard rate of 10p per A4 sheet (black and white copy) and 30p per A4 sheet (colour copy).

Computer discs will be charged at the rate of £1.00 per CD-Rom.

Postage cost

We will pass on postage charges to the requester at the cost to the practice of sending the information by first class post.

Section 7: Our copyright policy

 

Steven Whittaker Optometrists holds the copyright for the vast majority of information in this publication scheme. All of this information can be copied or reproduced without our formal permission, provided it is copied or reproduced accurately, is not used in a misleading context, and provided that the source of the material is identified.

 

The publication scheme may, however, contain information where the copyright holder is not Steven Whittaker Optometrists. In most cases the copyright holder will be obvious from the documents. In cases where the copyright is unclear, however, it is the responsibility of the person accessing the information to locate and seek the permission of the copyright holder before reproducing the material or in any other way breaching the rights of the copyright holder. Wherever possible, this scheme will indicate where we do not own the copyright on documents within Section 12 – Classes of Information.

 

Information about Crown copyright material is available on the website of the Queens Printer for Scotland at www.oqps.gov.uk. We can provide you with a copy of this information if you do not have internet access.

 

 

Section 8: Our records management and disposal policy

Information falling into the Classes will be retained in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

Section 4 (above) provides more information about how to gain copies of the following polices.

 

Confidentiality policy

At this practice, the need for the strict confidentiality of personal information about patients is taken very seriously. Our confidentiality policy sets out our policy for maintaining confidentiality and all members of the practice must comply with these safeguards as part of their contract of employment/contract for services with the practice.]

 

Practice information security policy

This practice is committed to ensuring the security of personal data held by the practice. This objective is achieved by every member of the practice team complying with this policy.]

 

Practice data protection code of practice for patients

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) provides a right of access to any personal information about you that we hold. These rights are subject to certain exceptions or exemptions.   We may hold personal information about many individuals. Information of this nature should be requested under the Data Protection Act, rather than FOISA, and it is not covered by this scheme. More information about the protection of personal information and your right to access information in your records is available from the following link [link to DPA Guidance] or contact Steven Whittaker.

 

Section 9: Feedback

FOISA requires that we review our publication scheme from time to time. As a result, we welcome feedback on how we can develop our scheme further. If you would like to comment on any aspect of this publication scheme, then please contact us. You may, for example wish to tell us about:

 

  • other information that you would like to see included in the scheme
  • whether you found the scheme easy to use
  • whether you found the publication scheme useful
  • whether our staff were helpful
  • other ways in which our publication scheme can be improved.

 

Please send any comments or suggestions to Steven Whittaker.

Section 10: Complaints

Our aim is to make our publication scheme as user-friendly as possible, and we hope that you can access all the information we publish with ease. If you do wish to complain about any aspect of the publication scheme, then we have a complaints procedure, a copy of which is available from Lorna Heald, and any complaints about this publication scheme should be made under this complaints procedure.

 

 

Any complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt and we will respond in full within ten working days of receipt. Where it appears the ten working day target cannot be met, we will inform you of the reason for the delay with an indication of when a response can be expected.

 

You have legal rights to access information under this scheme and a right of appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner if you are dissatisfied with our response. These rights apply only to information requests made in writing* or another recordable format. If you are unhappy with our responses to your request, you can ask us to review it and, if you are still unhappy, you can make an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

 

The Commissioner’s website has a guide to this three-step process, and he operates an enquiry service on Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. His office can be contacted as follows:

 

Scottish Information Commissioner

Kinburn Castle

Doubledykes Road

St Andrews

Fife

KY16 9DS

Tel: 01334 464610

Email: enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info

Website: www.itspublicknowledge.info

 

Our complaints policy also explains what you should do and whom you should contact if you have a complaint about any of our products or any aspect of the services provided by our staff.

 

*verbal requests for environmental information carry similar rights.

Section 11: how to access information which is not available under this Scheme

 

If the information you are seeking is not available under this publication scheme, then you may wish to request it from us. The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides you with a right of access to the information we hold, subject to certain exemptions. The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) separately provide a right of access to the environmental information we hold.

Your personal records are not accessible and cannot be obtained through the FOISA, but these are available under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), which provides a right of access to any personal information about you that we hold. Again, these rights are subject to certain exceptions or exemptions.

 

Should you wish to request a copy of any information that we hold that is not available under this scheme, please write to Steven Whittaker.

Charges for information which is not available under the scheme

The charges for information which is available under this scheme are set out under section 6 – Our Charging Policy. If you submit a request to us for information which is not available under the scheme the charges will be based on the following calculations:

General information requests

  • There will be no charge for information requests which cost us £100 or less to process.
  • Where information costs between £100 and £600 to provide you may be asked to pay 10 per cent of the cost. That is, if you were to ask for information that costs us £600 to provide, you would be asked to pay £50, calculated on the basis of a waiver for the first £100 and 10 per cent of the remaining £500.
  • We are not obliged to respond to requests which will cost us over £600 to process.
  • In calculating any fee, staff time will be calculated at actual cost per staff member’s hourly salary rate to a maximum of £15 per person per hour.
  • We do not charge for the time to determine whether we hold the information requested, nor for the time it takes to decide whether the information can be released. Charges may be made for locating, retrieving and providing information to you.
  • In the event that we decide to impose a charge, we will issue you with notification of the charge (a fees notice) and how it has been calculated. You will have three months from the date of issue of the fees notice in which to decide whether to pay the charge. The information will be provided to you on payment of the charge. If you decide not to proceed with the request, there will be no charge to you.

Charges for environmental information

We do not charge for the time to determine whether we hold the information requested, nor for the time it takes to decide whether the information can be released.

 

In the event that we decide to impose a charge we will issue you with notification of the charge and how it has been calculated. The information will be provided to you on payment of the charge. If you decide not to proceed with the request there will be no charge to you.

 

  • Charges are calculated on the basis of the actual cost to us of providing the information.
  • Photocopying is charged at 10p per A4 sheet for black and white copying, 30p per A4 sheet for colour copying.
  • Postage is charged at actual rate for first class mail.
  • Staff time is calculated at actual cost per staff member hourly salary rate to a maximum of £15 per person per hour.

 

The first £100 worth of information will be provided to you without charge.

 

Where information costs between £100 and £600 to provide, you will be asked to pay 10 per cent of the cost. That is, if you were to ask for information that cost us £600 to provide, you would be asked to pay £50, calculated on the basis of a waiver for the first £100 and 10 per cent of the remaining £500.

 

Where it would cost more than £600 to provide the information to you, we will ask you to pay the full cost of providing the information, with no waiver for any portion of the cost.

 

Requests for your own personal data

In some/most circumstances a fee for access to computerised records may be charged up to the prescribed legal maximum of £10. This charge includes administration and photocopying costs.

How should access be requested?

To obtain access, you must make a request in writing (which may be delivered electronically, that is by fax or e-mail), paying the prescribed fee, and provide any information that the data controller may reasonably require in order to be satisfied as to the identity of the individual and the location of the information. When writing to us to request information, please include your full name, address, date of birth and full details of the information or documents you would like to receive, and any applicable fee.

 

Section 12: Classes of information

We hold various types of information which we review, retain or dispose of according to NHS rules. Our information is classed in four categories:

 

  1. Who we are
  2. Our services
  3. Our Financial information
  4. Our policies and procedures

 

Section 4 (above) provides more information about how to access information in the following classes.

Class 1: Who we are

Information about Steven Whittaker Optometrists, its membership, and where our main offices are located. This includes:

 

  • Our Company (Practice) background
  • List of practices including contact phone numbers and addresses
  • Details of all the Opticians and Optometrists employed in our practices
  • Details of those providing NHS funded services in the practice
  • Company Registration number (if applicable)

 

 

Details of all opticians and optometrists registered in the UK are available from the General Optical Council (link to registration search) Tel: 0207 580 3898.

Class 2: Our services

Information about the services we provide. This includes:

 

  • Opening times
  • Eye examinations (We provide free NHS eye examinations for those who are eligible.  You may also be entitled to vouchers that can be used against the purchase of spectacles or contact lenses if you require them. To find out if you are eligible for assistance please ask for details in any of our practices. Specified Eyecare services (Additionally we provide specified eyecare services arranged and funded under locally agreed protocols. These protocols are available at individual practices
  • Terms of service for General Ophthalmic Services and requirements of clinical governance.
  • Contact details for local practice/s (To find the address or phone number of your local practice, please click here (link to practice list)  The address(es) and phone number(s) of our practice(s) is/are:

 

We work within the regulations as laid down by the General Optical Council, the Terms of Service for Scottish General Ophthalmic Services, and the requirements of clinical governance.  Our optometrists and dispensing opticians are expected to be conversant with the peer group guidance issued by the College of Optometrists and Association of British Dispensing Opticians respectively, and attain sufficient annual credits from post graduate education to comply with the G.O.C. mandatory scheme for Continuing Education and Training.

Class 3: Our Financial information

Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit.

 

Full details of the company accounts can be found here by application to our Head Office.

 

(Note: For every eye examination performed on behalf of the NHS the optician’s practice receives a fee between £20 and £44.  If you are not eligible for the NHS eye examination, please contact your local practice for details of our current charges.)

 

 

Class 4: Our policies and procedures

Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities. We have policies and procedures which ensure that the practice operates in a safe and efficient manner. The leaflets cover various topics, such as what we do with the information we hold about patients, our payment policy and health and safety issues. These policies include:

  • Complaints (see also section 10 (above) – A full copy of this policy is available on request (contact address) or on our website www.stevenwhittaker.co.uk
  • Data protection – A full copy of this policy is available on request (contact address) or on our website.
  • Health and safety ­ A full copy of this policy is available on request (contact address) or on our website.
  • Information management policies – We will publish the criteria on which our information management policies are made and a referral point for all enquires regarding information management generally in practice.