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Health and Social Care BillPage 250

255 Powers to request Information Centre to establish information systems

(1) Any person (including a devolved authority) may request the Information
Centre to establish and operate a system for the collection or analysis of
information of a description specified in the request.

(2) 5A request may be made under subsection (1) by a person only if the person
considers that the information which could be obtained by complying with the
request is information which it is necessary or expedient for the person to have
in relation to the person’s exercise of functions, or carrying out of activities, in
connection with the provision of health care or adult social care.

(3) 10The Information Centre must comply with a mandatory request unless the
Centre considers that the request relates to information of a description
prescribed in regulations.

(4) For the purposes of this Chapter a request under subsection (1) is a mandatory
request if—

(a) 15it is made by a principal body, and

(b) the body considers that the information which could be obtained by
complying with the request is information which it is necessary or
expedient for the body to have in relation to its discharge of a duty in
connection with the provision of health services or of adult social care
20in England.

(5) The Secretary of State or the Board may direct the Information Centre not to
comply with a request specified in the direction which is not a mandatory
request.

(6) The Secretary of State or the Board may direct the Information Centre to
25comply with a request specified in the direction which was made by a person
outside England.

(7) Subsection (8) applies where the Information Centre has discretion under this
section as to whether to comply with—

(a) a mandatory request, or

(b) 30other request under subsection (1).

(8) In deciding whether to comply with the request, the Information Centre—

(a) must, in particular, consider whether doing so would interfere to an
unreasonable extent with the exercise by the Centre of any of its
functions, and

(b) 35may take into account the extent to which the principal body or other
person making the request has had regard to—

(i) the code of practice prepared and published by the Centre
under section 263, and

(ii) advice or guidance given by the Centre under section 265.

(9) 40In this section “principal body” means—

(a) Monitor,

(b) the Care Quality Commission,

(c) the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and

(d) such other persons as may be prescribed in regulations.

(10) 45In this Chapter “health care” includes all forms of health care whether relating
to physical or mental health and also includes procedures that are similar to

Health and Social Care BillPage 251

forms of medical or surgical care but are not provided in connection with a
medical condition.

256 Requests for collection under section 255: confidential information

(1) A request under section 255 is a confidential collection request if it is a request
5for the Information Centre to establish and operate a system for the collection
of information which is in a form which—

(a) identifies any individual to whom the information relates who is not an
individual who provides health care or adult social care, or

(b) enables the identity of such an individual to be ascertained.

(2) 10A person may make a confidential collection request under section 255 only if
the request—

(a) is a mandatory request,

(b) relates to information which the person making the request (“R”) may
require to be disclosed to R or to the Information Centre by the person
15holding it, or

(c) relates to information which may otherwise be lawfully disclosed to the
Information Centre or to R by the person holding it.

257 Requests under section 255: supplementary

(1) The Information Centre must publish procedures for—

(a) 20the making and consideration of requests under section 255, and

(b) the reconsideration by the Centre of a decision not to comply with such
a request.

(2) The procedure mentioned in subsection (1)(b) must provide for the person who
made the request to have an opportunity to make representations to the
25Information Centre within a reasonable period for the purposes of the
reconsideration.

(3) The Information Centre may charge a person a reasonable fee in respect of the
cost of complying with a request made by that person under section 255.

(4) Before making a request under section 255 a person must consult the
30Information Centre.

(5) The Information Centre must publish details of—

(a) any mandatory request, and

(b) any other request under section 255 with which the Centre is obliged,
or decides, to comply.

258 35Information systems: supplementary

(1) Before establishing an information system pursuant to a direction under
section 254 or a request under section 255 the Information Centre must
consult—

(a) the person who gave the direction or made the request,

(b) 40representatives of other persons who the Centre considers are likely to
use the information to which the direction or request relates,

(c) representatives of persons from whom any information will be
collected, and

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(d) such other persons as the Centre considers appropriate.

(2) If the Information Centre reasonably believes that there is no longer a need to
retain information which it has obtained by complying with a direction under
section 254 or a request under section 255, the Centre may destroy the
5information.

259 Powers to require and request provision of information

(1) The Information Centre may—

(a) require any person mentioned in subsection (2) to provide it with any
information which the Centre considers it necessary or expedient for
10the Centre to have for the purposes of any function it exercises by virtue
of this Chapter, and

(b) request any other person to provide it with such information.

(2) Those persons are—

(a) a health or social care body;

(b) 15any person (other than a public body) who provides health services, or
adult social care in England, pursuant to arrangements made with a
public body exercising functions in connection with the provision of
such services or care.

(3) But the Information Centre may not impose a requirement under subsection
20(1)(a) for the purpose of complying with a confidential collection request
falling within section 256(2)(c).

(4) In such a case, the Information Centre may, however, request any person
mentioned in subsection (2) to provide it with any information which the
Centre considers it necessary or expedient for the Centre to have for the
25purpose of complying with the request.

(5) A requirement under subsection (1)(a) must be complied with by providing the
information to the Information Centre in such form and manner, and within
such period, as the Centre may specify.

(6) If the Information Centre considers it appropriate to do so, the Centre may
30make a payment to any person who has provided information to the Centre
pursuant to a request made under subsection (1)(b) in respect of the costs to
that person of doing so.

(7) If the Information Centre considers it appropriate to do so, the Centre may
make a payment to any person mentioned in subsection (2)(b) who has
35provided information to the Centre pursuant to a request made under
subsection (4) in respect of the costs to that person of doing so.

(8) The Information Centre must publish a procedure for notifying persons of
requirements imposed, and requests made, under this section.

(9) In imposing requirements under this section the Information Centre must co-
40operate with any other person who is authorised to require the provision of
information by a person mentioned in subsection (2).

(10) The provision of information under this section—

(a) does not breach any obligation of confidence owed by the person
providing it, but

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(b) is subject to any express restriction on disclosure imposed by or under
another Act (other than any restriction which allows disclosure if
authorised by or under an Act).

(11) In this Chapter “health or social care body” means a public body which
5exercises functions in connection with the provision of health services or of
adult social care in England.

260 Publication of information

(1) The Information Centre must publish all information which it obtains by
complying with a direction under section 254 or a request under section 255
10unless the information falls within subsection (2); and, subject to subsection (3),
if the information falls within that subsection, the Centre must not publish it.

(2) Information falls within this subsection if—

(a) the information is in a form which identifies any relevant person to
whom the information relates or enables the identity of such a relevant
15person to be ascertained and the Centre, after taking into account the
public interest as well as the interests of the relevant person, considers
that it is not appropriate for the information to be published,

(b) the information is in a form which identifies any individual to whom
the information relates who is not a relevant person or enables the
20identity of such an individual to be ascertained,

(c) the Centre considers that—

(i) the information fails to meet the information standards
published under section 250 (so far as they are applicable), and

(ii) it would not be in the public interest to publish the information,
25or

(d) the information is of a description specified in a direction given to the
Centre by the Secretary of State or the Board.

(3) A direction under section 254 may provide that the obligation to publish
imposed by subsection (1) applies to information falling within subsection
30(2)(a) which is obtained by complying with the direction.

(4) Where the Information Centre publishes information which it obtains by
complying with a direction under section 254 or a mandatory request under
section 255, the Centre—

(a) must comply with the requirements (if any) specified in the direction or
35mandatory request as to the form, manner and timing of publication of
the information, and

(b) may publish the information in such other form and such other
manner, and at such other times, as it considers appropriate.

(5) Where the Information Centre publishes information which it obtains by
40complying with a request under section 255 other than a mandatory request,
the Centre—

(a) may act in accordance with such provision (if any) as may be included
in the request as to the form, manner and timing of publication of the
information, and

(b) 45may publish the information in such other form and such other
manner, and at such other times, as it considers appropriate.

Health and Social Care BillPage 254

(6) In considering the appropriate form, manner and timing of publication of
information under this section, the Information Centre must have regard to—

(a) the need for the information to be easily accessible,

(b) the persons who the Centre considers likely to use the information, and

(c) 5the uses to which the Centre considers the information is likely to be
put.

(7) In this Chapter “relevant person” means—

(a) any person who provides health care or adult social care, or

(b) any body corporate not falling within paragraph (a).

261 10Other dissemination of information

(1) The Information Centre may disseminate (other than by way of publication), to
any such persons and in such form and manner and at such times, as it
considers appropriate, any information—

(a) which it obtains by complying with a direction under section 254 or a
15request under section 255, and

(b) which falls within subsection (2).

(2) Information falls within this subsection if—

(a) the information is required to be published under section 260;

(b) the information is in a form which identifies any relevant person to
20whom the information relates or enables the identity of such a relevant
person to be ascertained and—

(i) the relevant person has consented to the dissemination, or

(ii) the Centre, after taking into account the public interest as well
as the interests of the relevant person, considers that it is
25appropriate for the information to be disseminated;

(c) the information is in a form which identifies any individual to whom
the information relates who is not a relevant person or enables the
identity of such an individual to be ascertained and the individual has
consented to the dissemination;

(d) 30the Centre is prohibited from publishing the information only by virtue
of it falling within section 260(2)(c) and the Centre considers it would
be in the public interest for the information to be disseminated;

(e) the Centre is prohibited from publishing the information only by virtue
of a direction given under section 260(2)(d) and that direction provides
35that the power in subsection (1) applies to the information.

(3) A direction under section 260(2)(d) may require the Information Centre to
disseminate information which the Centre is prohibited from publishing only
by virtue of the direction.

(4) The Information Centre may also disseminate, in such form and manner and at
40such times as it considers appropriate, any information which it collects
pursuant to a direction under section 254 or a request under section 255
(whether or not it falls within subsection (2)) to any person to whom the
information could have been lawfully disclosed by the person from whom the
Centre collected the information.

(5) 45The Information Centre may also disclose information which it obtains by
complying with a direction under section 254 or a request under section 255
(whether or not it falls within subsection (2)) if—

Health and Social Care BillPage 255

(a) the information has previously been lawfully disclosed to the public,

(b) the disclosure is made in accordance with any court order,

(c) the disclosure is necessary or expedient for the purposes of protecting
the welfare of any individual,

(d) 5the disclosure is made to any person in circumstances where it is
necessary or expedient for the person to have the information for the
purpose of exercising functions of that person conferred under or by
virtue of any provision of this or any other Act,

(e) the disclosure is made in connection with the investigation of a criminal
10offence (whether or not in the United Kingdom), or

(f) the disclosure is made for the purpose of criminal proceedings
(whether or not in the United Kingdom).

(6) Paragraphs (a), (b) and (f) of subsection (5) have effect notwithstanding any
rule of common law which would otherwise prohibit or restrict the disclosure.

(7) 15Nothing in this section or section 262 prevents the Information Centre from
disseminating information (otherwise than by publishing it) under or by virtue
of any other provision of this or any other Act.

(8) For the purposes of this section and section 262 the provision by the
Information Centre of information which it has obtained by complying with a
20direction under section 254 or a request under section 255 to the person who
gave the direction or made the request is to be treated as dissemination by the
Centre of that information to that person.

262 Other dissemination: directions and requests under sections 254 and 255

(1) A direction under section 254 may require the Information Centre to
25disseminate information which it obtains by complying with the direction if
the information falls within subsection (2).

(2) Information falls within this subsection if—

(a) the information is required to be published under section 260;

(b) the information is in a form which identifies any relevant person to
30whom the information relates or enables the identity of such a relevant
person to be ascertained and—

(i) the relevant person has consented to the dissemination, or

(ii) the person giving the direction, after taking into account the
public interest as well as the interests of the relevant person,
35considers that it is appropriate for the information to be
disseminated;

(c) the information is in a form which identifies any individual to whom
the information relates who is not a relevant person or enables the
identity of such an individual to be ascertained and the individual has
40consented to the dissemination;

(d) the Centre is prohibited from publishing the information only by virtue
of it falling within section 260(2)(c) and the person giving the direction
considers it would be in the public interest for the information to be
disseminated.

(3) 45A direction under section 254 may require the Information Centre to exercise—

(a) the power conferred by section 261(4) in relation to information which
it collects pursuant to the direction, or

Health and Social Care BillPage 256

(b) any other power it has under or by virtue of any other provision of this
Act (other than section 261(1) or (5)) or any other Act to disseminate
information which it obtains by complying with the direction.

(4) A request under section 255 may request the Information Centre to exercise—

(a) 5the power conferred by section 261(1) or (4) in relation to information
which it obtains by complying with the request, or

(b) any other power it has to disseminate such information under or by
virtue of any other provision of this or any other Act.

(5) A direction under section 254 may require, and a request under section 255
10may request, the Information Centre not to exercise the power conferred by
section 261(1) or (4) in relation to information which it obtains by complying
with the direction or request.

(6) Section 255(3) does not apply in relation to anything included in a mandatory
request by virtue of subsection (4) or (5).

(7) 15A requirement imposed on, or a request made to, the Information Centre in
accordance with this section to disseminate information may include a
requirement or request about the persons to whom the information is to be
disseminated and the form, manner and timing of dissemination.

263 Code of practice on confidential information

(1) 20The Information Centre must prepare and publish a code in respect of the
practice to be followed in relation to the collection, analysis, publication and
other dissemination of confidential information concerning, or connected with,
the provision of health services or of adult social care in England.

(2) For the purposes of this section “confidential information” is—

(a) 25information which is in a form which identifies any individual to
whom the information relates or enables the identity of such an
individual to be ascertained, or

(b) any other information in respect of which the person who holds it owes
an obligation of confidence.

(3) 30Before publishing the code, the Information Centre must consult—

(a) the Secretary of State,

(b) the Board, and

(c) such other persons as the Centre considers appropriate.

(4) The Information Centre must not publish the code without the approval of—

(a) 35the Secretary of State, and

(b) the Board, so far as the code relates to information concerning, or
connected with, the provision of NHS services.

(5) The Information Centre must keep the code under review and may revise it as
it considers appropriate (and a reference in this section to the code includes a
40reference to any revised code).

(6) A health or social care body must have regard to the code in exercising
functions in connection with the provision of health services or of adult social
care in England.

(7) A person, other than a public body, who provides health services, or adult
45social care in England, pursuant to arrangements made with a public body

Health and Social Care BillPage 257

exercising functions in connection with the provision of such services or care
must, in providing those services or that care, have regard to the code.

264 Information Register

The Information Centre must maintain and publish a register containing
5descriptions of the information which has been obtained by virtue of this
Chapter.

265 Advice or guidance

(1) The Information Centre—

(a) may give advice or guidance to any person mentioned in subsection (2)
10on any matter relating to the collection, analysis, publication or other
dissemination of information, and

(b) must, if requested to do so by the Secretary of State or the Board, give
advice or guidance on any such matter as may be specified in the
request to—

(i) 15the Secretary of State or (as the case may be) the Board;

(ii) such other persons as may be specified in the request.

(2) Those persons are—

(a) the Secretary of State,

(b) the Board,

(c) 20any person who makes, or is proposing to make, a request under
section 255,

(d) any health or social care body, and

(e) any person (including a devolved authority) who collects, or is
proposing to collect, information which relates to the provision of
25health care or adult social care.

(3) The Secretary of State must, at least once in any review period, exercise the
power under subsection (1)(b) by requesting the Information Centre to give the
Secretary of State advice about ways in which the burdens relating to the
collection of information imposed on health or social care bodies and other
30persons may be minimised.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) a review period is—

(a) the period of 3 years beginning with the day on which this section
comes into force, and

(b) each subsequent period of 3 years.

(5) 35A health or social care body to whom advice or guidance is given under this
section must have regard to the advice or guidance in exercising functions in
connection with the provision of health services or of adult social care in
England.

(6) A person, other than a public body, who provides health services, or adult
40social care in England, pursuant to arrangements made with a public body
exercising functions in connection with the provision of such services or care
must, in providing those services or that care, have regard to any advice or
guidance given to the person under this section.

Health and Social Care BillPage 258

Functions: quality of health and social care information

266 Assessment of quality of information

The Information Centre must from time to time—

(a) assess the extent to which information it collects pursuant to a direction
5under section 254 or a request under 255 meets the information
standards published under section 250 (so far as they are applicable),
and

(b) publish a record of the results of the assessment.

267 Power to establish accreditation scheme

(1) 10Regulations may make provision for the establishment and operation of a
scheme for the accreditation of information service providers (“the
accreditation scheme”).

(2) The regulations may provide that the accreditation scheme is to be established
and operated by the Information Centre or such other person as the Secretary
15of State may specify in the regulations (the “operator”).

(3) The regulations may, in particular, confer power on the operator—

(a) to establish the procedure for accrediting information service providers
under the scheme,

(b) to set the criteria to be met by a provider in order to be accredited (“the
20accreditation criteria”),

(c) to keep an accreditation under the scheme under review, and

(d) to charge a reasonable fee in respect of an application for accreditation.

(4) The regulations may make provision requiring the operator—

(a) to publish details of the scheme, including, in particular, the
25accreditation criteria,

(b) to provide for the review of a decision to refuse an application for
accreditation, and

(c) to provide advice to applicants for accreditation with a view to
ensuring that they meet the accreditation criteria.

(5) 30In this section “information service provider” means any person other than a
public body who provides services involving the collection, analysis,
publication or other dissemination of information in connection with the
provision of health services or of adult social care in England.

Functions: other

268 35Database of quality indicators

(1) Regulations may make provision conferring functions on the Information
Centre in connection with the establishment, maintenance and publication of a
database of quality indicators in relation to the provision of health services and
of adult social care in England.

(2) 40The regulations may, in particular, make provision about—

(a) the persons who may propose a quality indicator for inclusion in the
database,

Health and Social Care BillPage 259

(b) the giving of advice and guidance by the Information Centre to such
persons in relation to such a proposal,

(c) the assessment and approval of quality indicators proposed for
inclusion in the database by such person as the Secretary of State or the
5Board may direct, and

(d) the inclusion in the database of guidance about how providers may
demonstrate performance measured against the quality indicators.

(3) In this section a “quality indicator” means a factor by reference to which
performance in the provision of services or care can be measured.

269 10Power to confer functions in relation to identification of GPs

(1) Regulations may make provision conferring functions on the Information
Centre in connection with the verification of the identity of general medical
practitioners for purposes connected with the health service in England.

(2) In subsection (1) “general medical practitioners” means persons registered in
15the General Practitioner Register kept by the General Medical Council.

270 Additional functions

(1) The Information Centre may do any of the following—

(a) acquire, produce, manufacture and supply goods,

(b) acquire land by agreement and manage and deal with land,

(c) 20supply accommodation to any person,

(d) supply services to any person and provide new services,

(e) provide instruction for any person, and

(f) develop and exploit ideas and exploit intellectual property.

(2) But the Information Centre may exercise a power under subsection (1) only—

(a) 25if doing so involves, or is connected with, the collection, analysis,
publication or other dissemination of information, and

(b) to the extent that its exercise does not to any significant extent interfere
with the performance by the Centre of any function under or by virtue
of any other provision of this or any other Act.

(3) 30The Information Centre may—

(a) charge for anything it does in the exercise of a power under
subsection (1), and

(b) calculate any such charge on the basis that it considers to be the
appropriate commercial basis.

271 35Arrangements with other bodies

(1) The Information Centre may arrange with any person or body to provide, or
assist in providing, any service which the Centre is required or authorised to
provide by virtue of this Chapter.

(2) The power under this section may be exercised on such terms as may be
40agreed, including terms as to the making of payments by or to the Information
Centre.

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