Publication - FOI/EIR release

NHS Test and Trace and sound levels in the hospitality sector: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
6 Nov 2020
NHS Test and Trace and sound levels in the hospitality sector: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000092162
Date received: 29 Sep 2020
Date responded: 6 Nov 2020
Information requested

1. if students in halls of residence or private lets test positive - an example, Say a Fife student (their home address) was in halls in Glasgow for instance, which health board does the result get registered too? Its surely registered somehow with your NHS number too or how else do you identify people newly tested and avoid double counts? I reference the note in the trend spreadsheet where it basically said people in the UK were using Scottish postcodes to get the QR code but dont live here (then said to be going to test centres in England and using them to get test). Could there be an element of students using home postcodes and a positive result being registered to the home region even though they are not living there?

2. on the issue of music and tv sound levels. In the FM speech on 14th August, i quote " we are willing to work with the sector to see if it might be possible to agree a more nuanced position based on an acceptable decibel level". We are now at the 29th September so I would like evidence of the work that has been done with the sector and the results of said work? I would also like the scientific evidence where this was proven to be increasing transmission that it was stopped in the first place?

3. Further to above, Have live singers/DJS even been considered in this? They can work in a Covid safe way. Pubs/venues following all Scot Gov restrictions should surely be a Covid safe environment already too Can you provide scientific evidence of transmissions caused by singers/live entertainment? Has there been any proven cases anywhere in the world that you are basing the ban on? Please provide the references for evidence of this?

Response

I attatch a copy of some of the information you requested.

Question 1. The NHS Test and Trace uses the most up-to-date address held by the individual’s GP and our system also stores address information given at the point of testing. We are providing both pieces of information to local authorities so they have full clarity on the situation in their area.

Universities encourage students to register with their local GP on arrival so, for many students, any positive test will be assigned to their term-time location. However, not all do so and for those students any positive result will be attributed to the address (and local authority) in their Summary Care Record.

NHS Test and Trace collects location data at the point of testing and if a student gives their term-time address when they are tested, this information will be retained in NHS Test and Trace system, even if their Summary Care Record contains a different address.

Having said all of that it will always come back to whatever postcode the student decides to give at point of booking the test.

Question 2. You asked about the work done with the sector on background noise and the results of said work. I have been able to identify one submission to Ministers on this from September 2020. I have attached a copy of this.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.29(1)(a) (policy formulation of FOISA applies to that information.

This exemption is subject to the "public interest test". Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of the case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise there is some public interest in the release because of the high profile of the impact of coronavirus restrictions on hospitality, including the impact of banning music and tv sound. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that officials and Ministers have a safe space in which to explore topics discussed at preliminary stages of consideration when private space to discuss is essential, where options can be explored, risks identified and recommendations presented. This policy development work is ongoing.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

As regards the scientific evidence sought in questions 2 and 3, decisions on what sectors and activities to re-open on our route out of lockdown are guided by the principles set out in our Framework for Decision Making. Proposals are technically assessed using the best available evidence and analysis of their potential benefits and harms to health, the economy, and broader society to minimise overall harm and ensure transmission of the virus continues to be suppressed. This assessment process includes oversight of the assessed health risks in different settings by the Chief Medical Officer and input from the other Chief Clinicians as appropriate. It is not possible to publish scientific evidence specifically on transmission due to loud music or singers/DJs as in general neither the Scottish Government, the Chief Medical Officer's Advisory Group or SAGE have produced evidence papers on a sectoral basis. In terms of section 17(i) of the FOISA this information is not held.

Instead we have used scientific evidence on transmission coupled with the social and economic benefits of particular sectors which Ministers have used to make decisions. The Scottish Government is currently preparing to publish this information this month, so this is a formal notice under section 27(1) of the FOISA, that the information is intended for future publication. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information rather than release some of this information before the planned publication date. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in the release of this information now but we believe the public interest is best met by our planned publication. There is greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the future publication date

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

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