Ryan v IC and Wye Valley Trust (EA/2016/0125)

Sid Ryan v Information Commissioner and Wye Valley NHS Trust (EA/2016/0125)50

Wye Valley NHS Trust (the Trust) entered into a PFI scheme with Mercia Healthcare Limited to design, construct, redevelop and manage Hereford County Hospital. The Trust remained the owner of the hospital site’s freehold, but the building itself was owned by Mercia and leased back to the Trust. Mercia also provided facilities management services.

The Trust identified potential fire safety defects in the ‘fire barrier’ walls in the hospital and sought assurances from Mercia that the defects were not present elsewhere. Mercia then instructed Carillion, which had
constructed the original building, to survey the hospital and determine the adequacy of the fire barriers. Verbal assurances were provided. The Trust was later notified of further defects in the fire barriers. This
prompted the Trust and Mercia to each commission their own surveys.

A member of the public requested copies of the Carillion and Mercia surveys and, when they were not disclosed, complained to the Commissioner. The Commissioner investigated and concluded 51 that the surveys were not covered by FOIA because they were not held by or on behalf of the Trust.

The requester pursued the matter, appealing to the FTT. The Trust conceded that it held Mercia’s survey. However, the FTT concluded that the Trust had no power to compel Mercia to provide the Carillion survey and agreed it was not covered by FOIA.

Next The White Paper that preceded FOIA – National Highways (englandhighways.co.uk)