Changes to public authorities today

National Health Service changes in England

Today (1st April 2013) marks a significant change in the way that the NHS in England is structured.  Strategic Health Authorities (SHA) & Primary Care Trusts (PCT) are abolished, and their responsibilities are being taken on by newly created Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), the National Commissioning Board, Public Health England and local authorities.

The split is roughly along these lines:

  • Clinical Commissioning Groups commission elective hospital care, urgent and emergency care, community healthcare and mental healthcare & learning disability services for the local areas they cover
  • The National Commissioning Board covers primary care contracting (GP Contracting, Dental, Pharmacy), specialised services, offender healthcare, secure mental health care and some armed forces healthcare
  • “Top-tier” and unitary Local Authorities take on responsibilities for these aspects of public health: sexual health services, drug and alcohol treatment, health checks, school nursing programmes, giving up smoking programmes and services to prevent childhood obesity
  • Public Health England is a national body which will work closely with local authorities’ public health teams, carrying out a range of activities to protect and improve the nation’s health, eg to co-ordinating work to combat infectious diseases such as flu or infections acquired in hospitals such as MRSA, or to carry out national publicity campaigns to prevent ill health

This means quite a bit of change to the public authority listings on WhatDoTheyKnow:

1) PCTs and SHAs are now marked as “defunct” to prevent new requests from being made (see below for more details).

2) We’ve now listed all the new CCGs, but we’re missing email addresses for around 15% of them.  It’s clear that many CCGs are not quite ready to welcome FOI requests.  Even though they went live today, there are a fair number of websites still under construction (I’ve seen lots of “lorem ipsum” text today), with no contact details.  We aim to get these all up-to-date in the next few weeks as they get up to speed.

3) The National Commissioning Board and Public Health England have been added to the site

4) We’ll be adding local Health and Wellbeing Boards, Healthwatch organisations & Local Education & Training Boards soon.

Police Service changes in Scotland

Under the banner of reducing duplication and cost-saving (BBC article), police services in Scotland are being completely re-organised with 2 new central bodies replacing all the regional police forces and boards:

Fire Service changes in Scotland

Similar changes are taking place with Scotland’s fire services:

Other joiners & leavers…

The following is a round-up of other changes taking place today…

Say hello to:

And goodbye to:

And although they’re officially changing, it’s pretty much business as usual for:

Defunct public authorities

We flag old public bodies that no longer exist as “defunct” to prevent new requests from being made.  In most circumstances FOI officers transfer across in-flight requests to the relevant replacement authority.  If you need to follow-up a request to a defunct public body (e.g. if there’s no further contact from an authority), the website will let you, however the “old” authority is no longer under any obligation to reply.  You may need to re-send your request to a new public authority which will restart the 20-day clock…

Please help us!

Given the scale of change, if you find any incorrect information for these public authority listings, please let us know!  Also please get in touch if you find an email address for any of those we’re still on the hunt for…



  1. If in doubt where to send your request, PLEASE pick up the phone to your “best guess” authority and ask to speak to the FOI officer/team. If you’re not sure, then contact NHS England. Sending your request to the right body in the first place will save delays in you getting the information you need.

    Thank you

    A former PCT FOI officer!