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Freedom of information and data protection

  • Public

You have the right to ask us for the recorded information we have about any subject.

This 'right of access' includes all non-confidential information about our work and also your own personal data.

Much of our information and all our published documents are available online, our publication scheme explains what you can find.

How to ask us for information

If you make a request, try to be as specific as possible so we provide the information you want.

You can request:

How to ask us about official information held by us (FOI)


You must write to us, by letter or email, and include:

  • your full name.
  • your home or email address.
  • a description of the information you want - make sure your request is clear and specific or it may be delayed.

We will respond to requests made via Twitter, where it is possible and practicable to do so. But if you request information on Twitter and are unhappy with our response you may not have a right for an ICO/tribunal review. We recommend that you request information by post or email.


We do not charge for FOIA requests.

We may charge for the costs of printing and photocopying information.

What happens next?

After you send us your request, we will write to you either to:

  • tell you we have received and are processing your request
  • ask for more information.

We will reply to you within 20 working days of receiving your request. In our reply, we will tell you whether we hold the information or not and whether there are any legal reasons which may prevent us from sending it to you.

Sometimes we may need more time to think about our response, for example where there is a question of public interest. We will always write to you to tell you about any delay.

What we won’t do

We do not have to create new information to answer your request – the right of access only extends to information held by us at the time you make your request.

How to ask us about information about you (GDPR)


So that we can respond to your request, you must provide:

  • your name
  • a home or email address
We may also ask you to provide:
  • two proofs of your identity:
    • one must include your photograph or signature (eg passport or driving licence)
    • the other must include your name and current address (eg utility bill, council tax bill)
      If you cannot give us identification please contact us for advice.
  • any information to help us with the search, including:
    • whether you are registered with us to provide health and social care services
    • whether you are a person who receives care
    • the names of any registered providers, services and/or organisations that you are associated with
    • the time period your request relates to.


We will not usually charge you for making a request. However, we may ask you to pay reasonable costs if you ask for duplicate copies of information we have already provided to you.

What happens next?

We will tell you when we receive your request - this will usually be within three working days.

We will reply to your request within one month of receiving your request and, if required, identification and/or payment.

Information requests from providers

Where we are able, we will share additional information collected during an inspection with providers. This is to help providers understand our findings.

To request information we hold about your location/organisation, write to your inspector via our National Customer Service Centre.

In your request, tell us:

  • the specific information you want
  • why you need this information. We ask this because issues may be time sensitive (for example, requests covering factual accuracy of inspection reports)

Specific requests allow us to share information that may not be available under a Freedom of Information request.

Your request should refer to the specific issues you need information about, rather than documents. This will allow us to respond more quickly to your query.

Some examples of provider requests that we complied with are:

  • Names of people using or working in a service whose records were reviewed by us
  • Specific evidence that we relied on in the findings of our inspection report
  • Generic, non-identifiable details of concerns raised with us

Requests for wide ranging information or large numbers of documents are likely to be declined because of the time it would take us to provide the information.

You should avoid making requests that ask for:

  • All information that we hold about your service
  • All the information we collected on a particular inspection
  • All the inspection notes we made on a particular inspection

Confidential information about individuals

We collect confidential personal information relating to individuals and services we regulate. This can be in the form of:

  • Information sent to us by staff, health professionals, people using the service, patients and family members
  • Information collected from staff, people who use the service, patients and family members during an inspection visit, particularly where a provider is not already aware of the information

It is a criminal offence for us to share confidential personal information, except in specific legal circumstances (for example, to protect an individual who is at risk of harm). This would not normally be the case where a provider requests information from us.

More information about how we handle confidential personal information:

How to ask us for information about other people


If you wish to ask for personal information about another person, you must write to us, by letter or email, and include:

  • two forms of proof of the person’s identification.
  • a statement, signed by the person, stating that they allow you to act on their behalf.

Or, if you have a power of attorney we will need a copy of that and two forms of identification for you instead.

Non-confidential information about a person who has died

You can ask for non-confidential information about a person who has died.

What happens next

We will tell you when we receive your request - this will usually be within three working days.

We may ask you for proof of identity. Usually we ask for copies of two forms of identification - one must have a photograph or signature, and the other proof of your address.

We will also tell you how long it will take us to reply, which will depend upon the type of information you asked for.

Confidential information about a person who has died

We can only give confidential information to and authorised representative of the person who has died and we will require evidence (such as a grant of probate). It is our decision whether to provide the information or not.

Health records of a person who has died

To see the health records of a person who has died, contact the health and social care provider first.

It is very unlikely that we would hold health or social care records of person who has died. We have no legal powers to ask providers for these records except, rarely, as part of our regulatory role.

Unhappy with our answer?

If you are not satisfied you may:

Ask for an internal review

Contact us at Legal Services and Information Rights, email:

Contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

If we refuse your request, and you feel we have not complied with the law, you can ask the ICO to assess our response.

ICO contact details

Comment or complain about us

Contact us if you need to make a complaint or comment about us.


Last updated:
25 May 2018


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