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A Running Journal of Written Correspondence

A Running Journal of Written Correspondence

From Big Gee’s Blog

Below is a journal tracking correspondence to various organisations and governments requesting information and clarification regarding this ongoing ‘Covid-19’ episode.

Replies (when received) are also published. Please feel free to comment on the contents of this page.


Correspondence Journal

Last Updated: 28 June 2020

 


INDEX (Click on Index Number to go to item) Correspondence Title
01 FOIA request to Welsh Government – Covid 19 death recording process
02 FOIA request to UK Government – Covid 19 death recording process
03 FOIA request to Welsh Government – Scientific evidence for 2 metre social distance rule
04 Stage 1 [a] complaint to BBC – Inaccurate news reporting: “R” Number
05 Stage 1 [a] complaint to BBC – Funding by BMGF to “BBC Media Action”
06 Letter to Mark Drakeford MS – Concerns regarding PCR test and death recording process
07 Enquiry to Welsh Government – Covid 19 home testing kit
08 Letter to Matt Hancock MP – Various concerns
09 Stage 1 [b] complaint to BBC – Inaccurate news reporting: “R” Number
10 Enquiry to Ben Lake MP – Scrutiny of emergency statutes
11 Enquiry to Office for National Statistics – Death recording statistics
12 FOIA to Welsh Government – Processing of personal data
13 FOIA to BBC – Funding provided by BMGF to “BBC Media Action” in 2018 / 19 and 2019 / 20
14 FOIA to Public Health Wales [P H W] – Covid 19 antibody testing
15 FOIA to Public Health Wales [P H W] – The total external funding (and funding source) received to date by your “Policy Research and International Development Directorate” following its official designation as Collaborating Centre by WHO
16 To: Welsh Government – First Minister – Rt Hon Mark Drakeford M S – Covid 19 Local Lockdown – Change in statute / regulations
17 To: PHW – FOI team – Covid 19 – Request for information – Facemasks

 

 

01 Enquiry

9 May 2020

Email request for information to Welsh Government under FOI Act.

I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under F O I Act 2000 / E I R 2004 with regard to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

  1. Confirmation of the criteria that must be met before “death from Covid-19 virus” can be recorded on death certificate, and

  2. Copy of guidance issued by World Health Organisation to Welsh Government regarding Covid-19 virus death recording process

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me. I look forward to receiving the information at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Regards


01 Response

28 May 2020

Response from Welsh Government

ATISN 13970 – Cause of death guidance

Thank you for your request to Welsh Government for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received on 9 May. You have requested the following:

  1. Confirmation of the criteria that must be met before “death from Covid-19 virus” can be recorded on death certificate, and

  2. Copy of guidance issued by World Health Organisation to Welsh Government regarding Covid-19 virus death recording process

Death certification is a non-devolved responsibility. The UK Government issued guidance to all medical practices in England and Wales.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-notes-for-completing-a-medical-certificate-of-cause-of-death

The Welsh Government’s guidance to doctors in Wales on death certificationfor patients with proven or suspected coronavirus was included in the guidance: “Coronavirus Act – Excess Death Provisions: Information and Guidance for Medical Practitioners” was issued on 1 April 2020.

https://gov.wales/coronavirus-act-guidance-excess-death-provisions

The Welsh Government did not directly receive the World Health Organisation guidance regarding certification and classification of Covid-19 as a cause of death. A link to these international guidelines has been provided for ease of reference:

https://www.who.int/classifications/icd/Guidelines_Cause_of_Death_COVID-19.pdf


02 Enquiry

9 May 2020

Request for information to UK Government under FOI Act.

I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under F O I Act 2000 / E I R 2004 with regard to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

  1. Confirmation of the criteria that must be met before “death from Covid-19 virus” can be recorded on death certificate, and

  2. Copy of guidance issued by World Health Organisation to UK Government regarding Covid-19 virus death recording process

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me. I look forward to receiving the information at your earliest convenience.

Thank you.


02 Response

3 June 2020

Response from Department of Health & Social Care

I can confirm that the Department holds information relevant to your request. However, as the information held by the Department is in the public domain we will, under Section 21 of the FOIA [information accessible to the applicant by other means], refer you to the published source. The “Confirmation of the criteria that must be met before “death from Covid-19 virus” can be recorded on death certificate” is available online at:

https://improvement.nhs.uk/documents/6590/COVID-19-act-excess-death-provisions-info-and-guidance-31-march.pdf

Alternatively, guidance for medical practitioners on recording cause of death during the Covid-19 emergency can also be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877302/guidance-for-doctors-completing-medical-certificates-of-cause-of-death-covid-19.pdf

With regard to “guidance issued by World Health Organisation to UK Government regarding Covid-19 virus death recording process”, the World Health Organisation has published its International guidelines for certification and classification [coding] of COVID-19 as a cause of death. This information can be found at:

https://www.who.int/classifications/icd/Guidelines-Cause-of-Death-COVID-19.pdf


03 Enquiry

16 May 2020

Request for information under FOI Act 2000.

To: Welsh Government – Freedom of Information Team

During the Covid 19 global pandemic there is a requirement for the population of Wales to maintain a distance of 2.0 metres during social contact. I note that Welsh Government policy is driven by scientific / medical advice. I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under the F O I Act 2000 / E I R 2004.

  1. Confirmation on whether the 2.0 metre distance is a statutory requirement or government guidance, and

  2. Copy of the scientific / medical evidence provided to Welsh Government to support the 2.0 metre social distance requirement.

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me at any time. I look forward to receiving the information at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Regards


03 Response

28 May 2020

Response from Welsh Government.

ATISN 13983 – Covid 19 Social distancing policy – Scientific advice

Thank you for your request to the Welsh Government for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received on 16 May. With regard to the Covid-19 social distancing, you have requested the following:

  1. Confirmation on whether the 2.0 metre distance is a statutory requirement or government guidance, and

  2. Copy of the scientific / medical evidence provided to Welsh Government to support the 2.0 metre social distance requirement

The 2.0m distance is based on SAGE advice. Welsh Government are members of SAGE but are not the owners of the papers that are submitted. The SAGE secretariat will work with the commissioners and authors of the papers to publish in due course, but until the papers are released we do not have permission to share them. The information you have requested will be published on the GOV.UK SAGE web-pages in due course, therefore this request falls within scope of an exemption category under section 22, “Information intended for future publication”. I have attached a link to the GOV.UK SAGE website should you wish to find out more about SAGE.

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response


04 Enquiry

17 May 2020

Stage 1[a] complaint to BBC regarding inaccurate news reporting.


Constant reference in BBC News to Covid-19 SEIRUS mathematical computer model. This is a mathematical computer model, developed by Nasarawa State University Keffi Nigeria, to estimate the probability of re-infection with Covid-19 coronavirus, often referred to as the “R” number. The preprint posted 6 April 2020 is not certified by peer review and its validity may therefore be subsequently challenged. Preprints are preliminary reports of work that has not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health related behaviour and should not be reported in news media as established information, as clearly indicated on computer model documentation. This should be clearly explained in news bulletins to avoid providing totally misleading information to the public.


04 Response

1 June 2020

Stage 1 [a] response from BBC Complaints Team

Reference CAS-6066673-V3Q4M0

Thank you for contacting us regarding BBC News.
Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we are sorry you have had to wait on this occasion.
We note your concerns about our reporting on the R number.
The coronavirus crisis is a continuously developing story which has posed unprecedented challenges. The BBC is a trusted source of information, and we take our duty to report accurately and responsibly on developments extremely seriously.
Of course, choosing the information to include in any report is a subjective matter and one which we know not every member of our audience will feel we get right every time.
Whilst we appreciate you feel that the points you have raised “should be clearly explained in news bulletins” addressing this matter, it is simply not possible to explore all the various aspects of a subject such as this within the limited time provided by a news report.
Across our wider coverage, however, we have been able to shed more light on the R number and provide more information on it for our audience, such as in James Gallagher’s piece for the BBC News website below:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52473523
Finally, we would like to assure you that we value your feedback. All complaints are sent to senior management and our news teams every morning and we included your points in our overnight reports.
These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future output.
Thank you once again for getting in touch.

Kind regards
Terry Hughes

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints


05 Enquiry

24 May 2020

Stage 1 [a] complaint to BBC regarding factual inaccurate reporting


I have continuing concerns regarding the unbalanced presentation of news by the BBC during the Covid-19 crisis. I would be grateful if you could arrange to urgently investigate the funding provided by the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” [BMGF] to your subsidiary company “BBC Media Action”. This is believed to be over £56 Million. Your subsidiary company works closely with BBC News and other departments of the BBC. Would you please arrange to investigate whether the substantial funding provided by the BMGF [who are currently promoting a Covid-19 global vaccination programme] has influenced news coverage on this subject by BBC News. I take the view that we need factually accurate reporting by the BBC during this period and an explanation why the views of eminent members of the medical profession [including Professor Knut Wittkowski, Professor Dolores Cahill, Dr. Judy Mikovits, Dr. Rashid Buttat, Dr. Andrew Kaufmann and many others] are effectively being censored as they present a different narrative to that provided by the BMGF [who are not medically qualified to comment on immunology]. I would be grateful if you could arrange to process my complaint and convey the outcome to me at your earliest convenience. Would you also please provide me with the contact details of the regulator that oversees the work of the BBC so that further representations can now be made.

Thank you. 


05 Response

24 May 2020

Auto-acknowledgement from BBC: Case number CAS-6081489-B7D5D6

Our normal aim is to reply at this stage within 10 working days (two weeks), but at present we regret we have reduced staff numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic, and hope you will understand if we are unable to respond within normal service times. We will let you know if it may take us longer.

Thank you again for contacting us,

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints


06 Enquiry

29 May 2020

Letter to Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM First Minister for Wales

Dear First Minister

I refer to the above subject and enclose, as Annex 01 below, abstracts from “International Guidance for Certification and Classification [Coding] of Covid-19 as cause of death.” The document, dated 16 April 2020, was prepared and circulated by World Health Organisation [WHO]. Welsh Government policy and process is driven by the guidance contained within the document. Having examined the document in detail I offer the following observations.

A specific test for Covid-19 virus has not been developed. It has not, to date, been identified or isolated. The test conducted is the quantitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction, or qRT-PCR. It does not detect antigen but viral RNA. The method used does not conform to the gold standard for identifying a virus, which is called Koch’s postulates. The way the test is conducted is by amplifying the RNA collected from lung fluid or a swab. The mixture is filtered and amplified. What is looked for is the Ribonucleic acid (RNA) – a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding. If RNA from a corona-virus is detected, the test is considered a positive for Covid-19. There are many thousands of corona-viruses of which Covid-19 is a strain. Large sections of the population have been exposed to some corona-virus in their lives: the common cold is a strain of corona-virus as is the seasonal flu.

I have serious concerns that a positive qRT-PCR test is considered justification for recording death from Covid-19 virus. The manufacturer of “SARS-CoV-2 Corona-virus Multiplex qRT-PCR kit” has advised that it should only be used for research purposes and not for diagnostic applications as it has not yet been clinically validated.

I would be grateful if you could seek urgent clarification from your officials and scientific advisors so that we can establish why a test that should not be used for diagnostic applications is being used to confirm death from Covid-19 virus, with recorded deaths driving Welsh Government policy and process and the lock-down of the economy in Wales.

I look forward to receiving clarification at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely


06 Response

Awaiting reply.


07 Enquiry

30 May 2020

Email enquiry to Welsh Government Contact Centre.


I have viewed your helpful video demonstrating the use of the “coronavirus home testing kit” at the link below.
https://gov.wales/using-coronavirus-home-testing-kit
I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information relating to the home testing kit.

  1. Contact details of home testing kit manufacturer, and

  2. Home testing kit “Product Information Sheet”

  3. Home testing kit “Product Safety Data Sheet”

The information does not appear to be available on your website. I look forward to receiving the information at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Regards


07 Response

1 June 2020

Acknowledgement received: reference number HR-737854-K7N4. Target response 15 days.


08 Enquiry

31 May 2020

Letter to Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP Secretary of State.

Dear Secretary of State

I refer to the above subject and, specifically, to the decision by the U S Government [USA] on 28 May 2020 to end association with, and funding of, the World Health Organisation [WHO] in view of serious concerns regarding their oversight and guidance / instructions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Funding in the sum of $450 million per annum was previously provided to the WHO by USA. In view of this action by USA I would be grateful if you could confirm whether the UK Government continue to have confidence in the Covid-19 guidance / instructions issued by the WHO, taking into consideration the following issues that have been identified to date.

  1. The death classification process from Covid-19 is based on a positive result from a test using “SARS – CoV-2 Coronavirus Multiplex RT-qPCR kit“. The test manufacturer confirms that the test should only be used for research purpose and not for clinical diagnosis. The relevant abstract is reproduced below. Do you consider that this has led to misreporting of deaths from Covid-19 virus by the UK Government and Media [including the British Broadcasting Corporation {BBC}]

  1. Although computer models, endorsed by WHO, have not been subject to peer review their outputs / predictions have been used to drive UK Government health policy and process. This has resulted in the lock-down of the UK economy with increased borrowing requirement for the Treasury, currently in the region of £400 billion. It has also resulted in substantial capital investment in additional hospital capacity [under the “Nightingale” programme], with the hospitals now mothballed and empty. The use of these flawed computer models has also resulted in significant delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients, and others with life-threatening conditions, generating a future crisis for the National Health Service. Do you consider that an independent investigation is now justified in order to establish the facts regarding these flawed computer models and the source of funding to develop the models.

  1. A possible conflict of interest as a result of funding provided to WHO by the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [BMGF]” who are in a position to benefit financially through their substantial shareholding in major pharmaceutical companies that will deliver a Covid-19 solution [through a global vaccination programme and / or other countermeasures]. Does the UK Government consider that the BMGF should be in a position [through the funding provided] to dictate health policy and process to democratically elected national governments, given the serious medical and economic consequences. Funding provided by BMGF to WHO is in the region of £4.3 billion. The WHO coordinate, advise and instruct national governments on healthcare policy and process. Your scientific advisors receive substantial funding from the BMGF: Imperial College London £280 million, University of Oxford £243 million, Departments overseen by Professor Chris Witty England’s Chief Medical Officer £40 million.

  1. Does the UK Government endorse the action taken by USA on 28 May 2020 to issue an “executive order” preventing online censorship. Does the UK Government agree that the views of eminent members of the medical profession regarding the Covid-19 pandemic should not be censored in a free society. Additionally, does the UK Government accept that there may be a conflict of interest at the BBC given the funding, in the region of £56 million, provided to its subsidiary company “BBC Media Action” by the BMGF. I offer the following as evidence in support of my assertion. None of the following eminent members of the medical profession, who have clear views and guidance on how to manage the Covid-19 crisis, have been interviewed by BBC News broadcasters: Dr Andrew Kaufman, Dr Rashid Buttar, Professor Dolores Cahill, Professor Knut Wittkowski Dr Judy Mikovits Dr Shiva Ayyadurai.

I look forward to your response to my concerns as set out above at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Yours sincerely


08 Response

Awaiting reply.


09 Enquiry

1 June 2020

Stage 1 [b] complaint to BBC: reference CAS-6066673-V3Q4M0

I acknowledge receipt of your Stage 1a response to my complaint under reference CAS-6066673-V3Q4M0. In accordance with protocol set out in “BBC Complaints Framework and Procedures” dated October 2017, I would be grateful if you could arrange to progress to Stage 1b of your complaints process. I remain of the view that the information provided in news bulletins relating to the SEIRUS computer model is factually inaccurate and not a matter of subjective judgement. Your complaints process does not allow me to communicate by email and there is no provision on your web-form to provide documentation as attachments. Please therefore refer to the scientific documentation relating to the SEIRUS computer model to inform your Stage 1b response. Your attention is drawn specifically the following statement from model developer.

Caution: Preprints are preliminary reports of works that have not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behaviour and should not be reported in news media as established information“.

I look forward to your Stage 1b response at your convenience. Thank you.


09 Response

1 June 2020

Acknowledgement from BBC Complaints Team

We are sorry to learn you weren’t satisfied with our earlier response and appreciate that you felt strongly enough to contact us again. Although we aim to reply at this next stage within 20 working days (four weeks), at present we regret we have reduced staff numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic, and hope you will understand if we are unable to respond within normal service times. If so we will let you know. For full details of our complaints process please visit: https://www.bbc.co.uk/contact/how-we-handle-your-complaint.

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

15 June 2020

Update from BBC Complaints Team

Your Reference CAS-6066673-V3Q4M0

We are contacting you to apologise that we’ve not been able to reply to your complaint within the time period we aim for. Although we manage this for most complaints, we regret it’s not been possible so far because we have been dealing with a higher than normal number of cases.

If you wish to refer this delay and the substance of your complaint to the BBC’s regulator Ofcom, you can do so online at https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/how-to-report-a-complaint/bbc-tv-channel-radio-station-bbciplayer or by post to: Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA. Please include for Ofcom your latest correspondence from and to the BBC and any BBC case reference numbers which you have been given.

Full details of the BBC’s complaints process can be found by visiting https://www.bbc.co.uk/contact/how-we-handle-your-complaint, and details of Ofcom’s complaints process are available at https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/information-for-industry/guidance/procedures.

In the meantime we appreciate your patience and will respond as soon as we can.

Kind regards

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints


10 Enquiry

2 June 2020

Email enquiry to Rt Hon Ben Lake MP for Ceredigion.

I refer to the Coronavirus Act 2020, enacted 25 March 2020, as set out in the link below.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2020/7/contents/enacted
I would be grateful if you could advise me whether Members of Parliament, including yourself, were given adequate opportunity to scrutinise this legislation in accordance with correct protocol, or whether you consider the legislation was “fast-tracked” to avoid scrutiny by Member of Parliament. I would welcome your views on this subject at your convenience. Thank you.

Regards


10 Response

5 June 2020

Response from Rt Hon Ben Lake MP for Ceredigion.

Dear Mr Jones,

I hope this finds you well in these uncertain times.

Thank you for writing to me with regard to the Coronavirus Act 2020. In my opinion, Parliament was not afforded the usual opportunity to scrutinise this piece of legislation, and indeed its progress through Parliament was expedited insofar as it was considered necessary to urgently pass the measures that it contained in order to effectively address the Coronavirus outbreak.

As such, I am not sure whether it was intentionally ‘fast-tracked’ in order to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny, although it is undoubtedly the case that this emergency measure was not subjected to the usual level of scrutiny nor indeed allocated the same amount of time as one would usually expect for such an important piece of legislation. The Government would justify this of course by pointing to the developing outbreak and the need for urgent action, and whilst I can accept this argument to some extent, I do believe that the Government should have conceded far greater opportunities for Parliament to scrutinise its handling of the crisis – and the exercise of the powers contained within the Act – on an ongoing basis.

Thank you once again for writing to me on this matter.

With best wishes,

Ben


11 Enquiry

3 June 2020

Request to: Office of National Statistics [ONS] – Contact Centre

I have concerns regarding the way the number of deaths from Covid-19 is currently being recorded and published and would appreciate clarification on how the statistics are compiled. I set out below information copied from “World Health Organisation” website relating to the I C D -10 codes used.

Abstract

  • Emergency use I C D codes for COVID-19 disease outbreak
  • The COVID-19 disease outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern.
  • An emergency ICD-10 code of ‘U07.1 COVID-19, virus identified’ is assigned to a disease diagnosis of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory testing.
  • An emergency ICD-10 code of ‘U07.2 COVID-19, virus not identified’ is assigned to a clinical or epidemiological diagnosis of COVID-19 where laboratory confirmation is inconclusive or not available.
  • Both U07.1 and U07.2 may be used for mortality coding as cause of death. See the International guidelines for certification and classification (coding) of COVID-19 as cause of death following the link below.
  • In ICD-11, the code for the confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 is RA01.0 and the code for the clinical diagnosis (suspected or probable) of COVID-19 is RA01.1.

End of abstract


Am I correct in assuming that clinicians are able to use code U07.1 on death certificate following a positive test result. It remains unclear which test is used as the manufacturer of “SARS – CoV-2 Coronavirus Multiplex RT-qPCR kit” has confirmed that the test should only be used for research purpose and not for clinical diagnosis. It also remains unclear under what circumstances clinicians are able to use code U07.2 on death certificate thus confirming death from Covid-19 without any evidence that the “virus” is the cause of death.

In compiling and analysing death statistics is the ONS able to differentiate between code U07.1 and code U07.2.

I remain concerned that misleading statistics regarding number of deaths from Covid-19 may now be driving UK Government policy and process with serious consequences for the UK economy. You will be aware of constant reference in news bulletins to “death from coronavirus“. There are a number of coronaviruses, the common cold and seasonal flu being two examples. In order to avoid generating misleading death statistics, does the ONS agree that we need to clearly differentiate between:

  1. Death from Covid-19, and

  2. Death with a coronavirus

I appreciate the difficult working conditions for ONS staff during the current lock-down period but would appreciate clarification on death recording process at your convenience. Thank you.

Regards


11 Response

3 June 2020

Acknowledgement from ONS

Good afternoon. Thank you for your email. I have forwarded your request to our Health Data Team. The team will send a response directly to you. Their contact details are:

Phone: 01329 444110
Email : health.data@ons.gov.uk

Kind regards

Nathan Morgan
Customer Advisor
Office for National Statistics


12 Enquiry

8 June 2020

Request to Welsh Government under F O I Act 2000


I attach latest update report from “Public Health Wales” with regard to Covid-19 outbreak. Your attention is drawn to the text highlighted therein. With regard to the Novel Coronavirus [Covid-19] Symptoms Study App [supported by Welsh Government] I note that all data is shared daily with researchers at King’s College London and ZOE research teams. I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under the F O I Act 2000:

  1. Details of how personal data under “Test, Trace and Protect” Strategy is processed in accordance with the key data management principles set out in the “General Data Protection Regulations” and “Data Protection Act 2018”, and

  2. Information setting out how the personal data gathered using the “Systems Study App”, and statistics generated from the data, is anonymised to comply with the key data management principles set out in the “General Data Protection Regulations” and “Data Protection Act 2018”.

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me at any time. The information can be provided as an attachment to email. I look forward to receiving the information at your convenience. Thank you.

Regards


12 Response

9 June 2020

Response from Welsh Government

Acknowledgement from Welsh Government received under reference ATISN 14035. Response due on or before 6 July 2020.


13 Enquiry

10 June 2020

To: BBC Freedom of Information – Information Rights Team

Thank you for responding to my request for information. Your letter dated 10 June 2020 is attached hereto. I note that my request is excluded, pursuant to Part VI of Schedule 1 of the F O I A, with no provision for internal review.

Accordingly, I would be grateful if you could arrange to process a separate request as set out below that is considered to fall outside the criteria set out in Part VI of Schedule 1. I would be grateful if you could provide the following information at your earliest convenience.

The total funding provided by the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [B M G F]” to your subsidiary company “BBC Media Action” itemised as under:

  • Total funding provided by B M G F in 2018 / 19 financial year, and
  • Total funding provided by B M G F in 2019 / 20 financial year


If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me at any time. I accept that this can now be processed as a separate request for information. Thank you.

Regards


16 June 2020

To: BBC Freedom of Information – Information Rights Team [Ref: RFI 20200628]

Thank you for your prompt reply to my request for information. The reference provided on your cover note [RFI20200728] differs from the reference provided in your letter [RFI20200628]. Clarification would be appreciated. Your response is noted. The following documentations is attached.

  1. My request dated 10 June 2020

  2. Response from BBC dated 16 June 2020

  3. Abstract from F O I Act – Section 6

In accordance with your established protocol I would be grateful if you could arrange to undertake an “internal review” of the decision to withhold the information requested. I remain of the view that disclosure is in the wider public interest. Justification for the review is set out below.

  1. Your reference to section 6 [1] [b] [ii] of the F O I Act appears to conflict with the relevant abstract of the Act downloaded today, as attached.

  2. Your subsidiary company “BBC Media Action” has a close working relationship with BBC News. I have reason to believe that your subsidiary company has received funding of over £56 million from the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” who are therefore in a position to influence news coverage regarding the current Covid-19 crisis through the funding provided.

I look forward to the outcome of your internal review at your earliest convenience or, alternatively, confirmation that the matter may be referred to the Information Commissioner for external assessment. In your further response can you also please provide me with the contact details of the external regulator that oversees the work of the BBC. Thank you.

Regards


13 Response

16 June 2020

Freedom of Information request – RFI20200628

Thank you for your request to the BBC of 10 June 2020 seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 [“the Act”]:

The total funding provided by the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [B M G F]” to your subsidiary company “BBC Media Action” itemised as under:

  • Total funding provided by B M G F in 2018 / 19 financial year, and
  • Total funding provided by B M G F in 2019 / 20 financial year

As set out in section 6[1][b][ii] of the Act, our subsidiaries [including BBC Studioworks Ltd, UKTV, BBC Global News Ltd and BBC Studios Ltd], as well as the charities BBC Media Action and BBC Children in Need, are not subject to the Act. Therefore information regarding their activities is also not subject to the Act.

For more information on BBC Media Action please follow this link to their website:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/

Appeal Rights

If you are not satisfied that we have complied with the Act in responding to your request, you have the right to an internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal advisor. Please contact us at the address above, explaining what you would like us to review and including your reference number. A request for internal review must be made within 40 working days of receiving the BBC’s response to your original request.

f you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The contact details are: Information Commissioner’s Office Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF or see https://ico.org.uk/


17 June 2020

Update from BBC

We have received your request for an internal review which was received 16 June 2020. We shall deal with the review as promptly as possible and, aim to respond at the latest, within 20 working days from the date of receipt. If you have any queries please contact us at the address below. The reference number for your internal review is IR2020024.

Yours sincerely,

Information Rights

BBC Freedom of Information


14 Enquiry

26 June 2020

To: Public Health Wales [P H W] – Freedom of Information team

I attach information [LINK] on Covid 19 antibody test downloaded from P H W website. It remains unclear, from the information provided, how Covid 19 antibody test results are to be used in Wales to guide government policy and process. Given that eminent members of the medical profession have questioned the value of these tests I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under the F O I Act 2000.

  1. Estimated cost of the antibody testing programme in Wales
  2. Have the antibody tests been assessed by P H W and validated by peer review.
  3. How antibody test results are to be used in Wales to guide Welsh Government policy and process.
  4. How personal data gathered through the testing process is to be managed to ensure compliance with the data management principles set out in the G D P R and Data Protection Act 2018.

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me at any time. I look forward to receiving the information at your convenience. Thank you.

Regards


14 Response

Awaiting reply.


15 Enquiry

28 June 2020

To: Public Health Wales [P H W] – Freedom of Information team

I attach abstract from P H W Annual Report 2018 / 19 [LINK]. I note that the “Policy Research and International Development Directorate” of P H W has been designated an official Collaborating Centre by the “World Health Organisation [WHO]“, thus providing income generation opportunities for P H W.  I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under the F O I Act 2000 at your convenience.

The total external funding [and funding source] received to date by your “Policy Research and International Development Directorate” following its official designation as Collaborating Centre by WHO .

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me at any time. Thank you.

Regards


15 Response

Awaiting reply.


16 Enquiry

30 June 2020

To: Welsh Government – First Minister – Rt Hon Mark Drakeford M S

With regard to the Covid-19 crisis you will be aware of the decision by U K Government to impose “local lockdown” in England, notably Leicester. I understand this requires “legal underpinning” with new statutes / regulations to be introduced within the next few days. In the event of similar “local lockdowns” being required in Wales I would be grateful if you could clarify the position and respond to the enquiries listed below.

  1. In Wales, is a change to statute / regulations required to impose “local lockdowns” in designated areas.
  2. If a change to statute / regulations is required, are Members of Senedd to be given an opportunity to debate and scrutinise the changes considered necessary.
  3. Are there any plans in Wales to develop “local lockdown management plans” similar to the plans being developed in England

I look forward to receiving clarification at your convenience. Thank you.

Regards


16 Response

30 June 2020
Acknowledgement received from Welsh Government under ref: TO/FM/01235/20. Will endeavour to reply as soon as possible but are unable to provide timescale for response due to current Covid-19 crisis.


17 Enquiry

03 July 2020

To: Public Health Wales [P H W] – Freedom of Information team
Your attention is drawn to a recent post on “Big Gee’s blog” available at the following link:

https://biggeesblog.cymru/index.php/2020/07/02/facemask-hysteria-and-misinformation/

Would you please note the content. I would be grateful if you could arrange to provide me with the following information under the F O I Act 2000.

  1. The advice provided by P H W to Welsh Government regarding the wearing of facemasks in public [while shopping, or by employees at their place of employment].
  2. The advice provided by P H W to Welsh Government regarding the wearing of facemasks in public by the elderly with poor lung function or those with lung diseases. For example, COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis, or those with underlying health conditions and weakened immune systems.
  3. Details of the scientific / medical studies regarding wearing of facemasks upon which the advice to Welsh Government is based.

If you require further clarification you are welcome to contact me at any time. The Rt Hon Mark Drakeford M S, First Minister, has received a copy of this request for information in view of his frequent media briefings. I look forward to receiving the information at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Regards


 

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