Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Our Mission: Safer Stronger Communities - Safe Effective Firefighters.

Access to information


Access to information held by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority

Government legislation has been introduced to make public sector organisations more open and accountable to the public.

This page has been designed to assist with some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) which Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority has received in relation to accessing information.

Q. What legislation currently exists?

A. In brief there are three primarily three key pieces of legislation that have been put in place to both protect information and make it available when appropriate. These consist of:-

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 which protects personal information processed by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and allows people to have access to their own information and request that changes be made to it.
  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000, which broadens people's access to information that is held by public authorities, for example: reports, minutes of meetings etc.
  • The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which gives the public increased access to environmental information held by public authorities, for example: reports, readings, research findings etc.

Q. What does Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority do when we receive a request for information?

A. When we have decided which legislation your request for information comes under, i.e. Data Protection, Freedom of Information or Environmental Information your request will be dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the legislation. There will be differences in how requests for information are dealt with, for example: the time limit to deal with a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is 20 working days, whilst under the General Data Protection Regulation the time limit is one month.

top

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Q. So what does the General Data Protection Regulation mean?

A. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority is a large organisation providing a range of services to the community. To administer the services efficiently it is necessary to keep and use information about people. This includes employees (including potential and ex-employees), Fire and Rescue Authority members, volunteers, suppliers and service users. An increasing proportion of personal information is held in electronic files in addition to manual records. This information is used by authorised staff to provide and improve services provided by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.

Q. What is personal data?

A. The definition of personal data under the GDPR means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subject) who can be identified directly or indirectly by that data.

Q. What are the six principles of the General Data Protection Regulation?

A. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority wishes to be open about the type and extent of personal data it holds and as a responsible body is committed to follow the six principles of the GDPR when dealing with personal information. They are that personal data will be:

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
  • Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary
  • Accurate and where necessary kept up to date
  • Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which those data are processed
  • Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data

Q. What are my rights under the General Data Protection Regulation?

  • Right to be informed
  • Right of access
  • Right to rectification
  • Right to erasure
  • Right to restrict processing
  • Right to data portability
  • Right to object
  • Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

A. The GDPR gives people the right to apply for copies of personal data. This application is called a Subject Access Request (SAR).

When a request for personal data is received, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will reply to the request within one month, as required under the GDPR. No charge applies for supplying the personal data requested. For security purposes and to ensure confidentiality, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will ask potential applicants for evidence to confirm their identity e.g. driving licence, birth certificate or ID card.

If you would like further information, please contact the Corporate Information Sharing Officer.

If you wish to request Personal Information you should first complete a Subject Access Request Form. Once you have completed the form it should be sent to:

Corporate Information Sharing Officer
Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Fire Service Headquarters
Bridle Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L30 4YD

Tel: 0151 296 4479/4474

top

Ways in which Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority processes your data

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority provide many services to the public and we often need to process personal data to provide those services. Some examples are given below:

Responding to fires and other incidents - We may record your name and address as well as information about any injuries if this is required. The phone number that you call us from will be automatically recorded on our systems. We record all emergency (999) calls. As part of a post fire investigation, personal details such as name, address, date of birth, and telephone numbers are collected to be used by MFRA or external partners depending on the nature and severity of the fire.

Home Fire Safety Checks - We record name, address, telephone number and any details about fire related risks in the home, such as smoking, disabilities/illnesses, or mobility restrictions. Oxygen usage is shared by the regional provider and used to pre-plan for emergency response, particularly in relation to firefighter safety. These details are used to help us to provide the right advice and interventions to reduce the risks of fire in people's homes.

Safe and Well visits - In addition to the data collected during a home fire safety check, MFRS staff with enhanced levels of training, offer a more holistic visit which collects health data such as, falls assessment, cancer screening, alcohol and smoking behaviours and blood pressure checking. This information, with consent, will be shared with public health and other health partners.

Fire Service Direct - When calling our non-emergency call centre, the telephone advisor will record name, address and contact details and ask a series of fire and health related questions in order to triage to the appropriate intervention.

We may share information with other agencies that can provide more help and we will usually let you know if we do this, or ask your consent to share.

SAFE scheme (previously FACE) - We work with adolescents who have shown an interest in fire setting behaviours in order to support a change in behaviour. These individuals may have been referred to our SAFE scheme by the parent/guardian, partner agencies or because of concerns following a fire incident.

We only provide SAFE scheme work with parent/guardian agreement and we aim to include parents or guardians in our work. We recognise the privacy rights of those aged under 13 or up to 25 if they have a diagnosed learning disability. We keep personal details of all young people for 5 years and photographs for 2 years in line with national educational protocol. The purpose of this retention is to narrow future fire risk and to provide evidence of our intervention should that information be required at a future date.

We may have to share SAFE scheme information with other agencies if there is a significant risk or if we are required by law. Where possible we will advise before we share information, but there may be exceptions to this. With the consent of the parent or legal guardian, we will refer to the Local Authority Early Help teams to implement the relevant support needed to offer sustainable solutions for the whole family.

Safeguarding Referrals - Where a case meets the safeguarding threshold, we have a statutory duty to report these concerns to the relevant local authority safeguarding team. We will complete a Safeguarding reporting form which records personal information and also the details of the concerns relating to the individual (adult or child).

Hate Crime - When we perceive that a hate incident or hate crime has been committed then Merseyside Police will be informed. If this is at an operational incident, then this will be done whilst in attendance and Police requested via Fire and Rescue Control. If this information is obtained during a visit then a hate crime referral form will be completed. This form records personal information and also the reason for the hate crime referral.

Youth Engagement programmes - We run a number of courses and development programmes with young people and collect personal data to allow us to provide these opportunities. Many courses are run in partnership with other organisations (such as colleges) and we may need to share some of that information with them.

Photographs - If you attend a public event at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority premises, photographs may be taken for publicity purposes. It will not always be possible to ask for your consent, particularly if these are un-posed group photographs. If you are asked to take part in a posed group or individual photograph, we will ask for your consent.

Privacy Notice

As a data controller Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority processes the personal data of Service employees (including ex and potential employees), Fire and Rescue Authority members, volunteers, suppliers and service users based on the following conditions under GDPR:

  • When it is necessary to comply with a legal obligation
  • When it is necessary for the performance of a contract
  • When processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller
  • Where we have the data subject's consent

We work closely with other agencies, and may offer assistance to our service users from other agencies such as councils, health Services, adult & children's services or charities, and may for the purpose of making vulnerable people safer share personal information with other agencies. Those agencies may also share information with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority.

There are some circumstances where we will not be able to or are not required to ask for consent to share information. This includes where the law permits or requires us to pass information to other agencies.

The links below provide details of our privacy notices which set out why and how we process your data and the legal reasons we use for doing so.

We also often tell you why we need your personal data by including a privacy statement on any forms or letters that we use.

Information we receive from partner organisations

Other agencies share information about people with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority, where both parties have identified that the people concerned are at a higher risk from fire and other emergency incidents, in particular, fires in the home. This includes information from councils, housing providers, the police, the health service and charitable organisations.

For example; NHS England, the Royal College General Practitioners and Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) in England work together to share information (where relevant, proportionate and necessary) to allow fire service personnel to undertake home safety assessments for those people who would most benefit from a visit.

The majority of fire deaths in the UK occur amongst the elderly population. Older people are most vulnerable to fire and a number of other risks. A home visit from the FRS is proven to make them safer and can reduce risk significantly.

In one area of the United Kingdom where this work has been piloted since 2007, there has been very significant reductions in fire deaths and injuries which has developed into a current trend well below the national average. So we know this work can save many lives.

The FRS and NHS will continue to work together in the future to ensure the visits undertaken by the FRS are effective in helping to make people safe and well.

Want to know more?

We recognise that people trust us to handle information correctly and keep it safe. We will not use information for marketing, and we will only use it for the purpose we collected it. We process information securely and follow the principles of the GDPR. We use secure methods when transferring the data and also apply appropriate retention periods. We also ensure that the data is disposed of securely when it is no longer required.

For further information about this you can contact the Corporate Information Sharing Officers on dataprotection@merseyfire.gov.uk, or by phone on 0151 296 4479/4474

If you have any concerns about the way we process your data, you can contact the Data Protection Officer on 0151 296 4301 or email janethenshaw@merseyfire.gov.uk

Alternatively you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.

top

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Q. What is the Freedom of Information Act?

A. The Freedom of Information Act came into force on the 1st January 2005. The Act allows people access to information that is held by public authorities.

Q. What are my rights under the Freedom of Information Act?

A. The Act allows you to:

  • Request information from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority in writing, this could be via letter, fax or email. The request should have your contact details on it and a description of the information that you are requesting for.
  • Anyone can put in a request for information to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority from anywhere in the world.
  • When submitting a request, you do not have to give a reason as to why you want the information.
  • You can request that the information to be in any form and format.

Q. What are Merseyside Fire and Rescue's Authority's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act?

A. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act are:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your request for information.
  • Deal with your request for information within 20 working days.
  • To inform you if we hold the information requested and if no exemption applies, supply you with the information.
  • Provide advice and assistance to those making a request or wishing to make a request for information.
  • Inform you if the information is publicly available and inform you where you can obtain the information.

Q. How do I make a request for information?

A. If you would like to submit a request for information to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, your request should be in writing, e.g. fax, email or letter, with your contact details and a description of the information you require.

Requests for information can be submitted to:

The Corporate Information Sharing Officer
Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Fire Service Headquarters
Bridle Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L30 4YD

Or you can email your request to: foiteam@merseyfire.gov.uk

Q. What is the Publication Scheme?

A. The Freedom of Information Act requires all public authorities to create and maintain a Publication Scheme. The Publication Scheme is a guide to what information is being held by public authorities. The purpose of a Publication Scheme is to persuade public authorities to engage more with the public by informing the public what information is available.

  • The classes of information the Authority publishes.
  • The format in which information is available.
  • If there are any charges for the information.

You can also view a hard copy of the publication scheme at your local community fire station. Information that is available on the Publication Scheme is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, as it is information that accessible to the applicant by other means.

Q. Will I be charged for the information requested?

A. For a majority of requests under the Freedom of Information Act there will not be a charge. However, if dealing with a request exceeds 18 hours or more, we are not bound to deal with the request. If this does occur, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will get in touch with you to see if you wish to refine your request. If there is a charge for supplying information requested, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will contact you informing you about the charges. Information will only be released to you when we have received payment.

top

Exemptions

Q. What are Exemptions?

A. Whilst the Freedom of Information Act allows the public to access to information held by public authorities, there are a number of exemptions that public authorities can apply to prevent the release of information. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority may on occasions release information that may have sections removed as an exemption applies which prevents the information being released. Within the Act there are two categories of exemption:

Absolute Exemption

An authority may simply refuse to provide the information citing the exemption and reasons why it applies. Within this category there are eight exemptions:

  • Information accessible to the applicant by other means
  • Information supplied by or relating to bodies dealing with security matters
  • Court records
  • Parliamentary privilege
  • Personal information
  • Information supplied in confidence
  • Information subject to a prohibition on disclosure

Qualified Exemptions (Exemptions where the public interest test applies)

If the information that is requested falls into one of the categories listed below, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority has to decide whether to release or withhold the information. We have to decide whether it is in the public interest to release the information. The only time Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will apply this exemption is if it believes that releasing such information would cause harm or discrimination. If it is decided that a qualified exemption applies, we will explain to you the reason was to why the exemption has been applied to the information you have requested. There are 15 qualified exemptions:

  • Information Intended for Future Publication
  • National Security
  • Defence
  • International Relations
  • Relations within the United Kingdom
  • The Economy
  • Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Public Authorities
  • Law Enforcement
  • Audit
  • Formulation of government policy
  • Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
  • Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and Honours
  • Health and Safety
  • Environmental Information
  • Legal Professional Privilege
  • Commercial Interests

If one of the above exemptions does apply to the information you have requested, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will inform you if the information requested is exempt.

top

Environmental Information Regulations

The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) came into effect on the 1st January 2005, along with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. These Regulations give the public increased access to environmental information held by public authorities. It is part of a wider group of policies to ensure that decision-making is more open and accountable. The aim of these Regulations is to increase public participation in decision-making processes.

When a request for information is submitted to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, we have to determine what category of information is being requested. If the information requested is classed as environmental information under the Regulations then we deal the request as a request for information under the requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations.

Q. What is regarded as environmental information under the Regulations?

A. The Regulations increase the criteria of what is environmental information. For further advice and guidance read Regulation 2, of the Environmental Information Regulations or contact the Freedom of Information Team.

Q. What type of information fall under the Environmental Information Regulations?

A. The Regulations state that it is the duty of authorities to release environmental information when it is requested.

This applies to all information that is held by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority or on behalf of the Authority, including information that is held by consultants and private companies on behalf of the Authority. Information that was collated by the Authority before the Regulations came into force are also accessible through these Regulations.

Q. How do I make a request for information?

A. If you would like to submit a request for information to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, you can submit a verbal request as well as in writing.

Requests for information can be submitted to:
Corporate Information Sharing Officer
Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Fire Service Headquarters
Bridle Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L30 4YD

Tel: 0151 296 4479/4474
Or you can email your request to: foiteam@merseyfire.gov.uk

You can also use this email address if you would like help in drafting your request for information or wish to discuss your request.

When the Authority receives your request and your request is not covered by an exception, the information will be forwarded to you within 20 working days. However, if you submit a request for a large amount of information or it is a request where there are complexities in retrieving the information, we can extend the time to deal with the request from 20 working days to 40 working days. If this does occur Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority will contact you within the 20 working days to inform you about this extension of time.

Q. Will there be a charge for the information I request?

A. The Regulations allows the Authority to charge for environmental information, the Authority can only impose a charge that is a "reasonable amount". Unlike the Freedom of Information Act, the Authority cannot refuse to release information on the grounds that it is too expensive to produce. 

If a charge is imposed, the Authority can request payment in advance from you before the requested information is released. If there is a charge, we will contact you within 20 working days of receipt of the request for information.

Q. What are Exceptions?

A. Under the Regulations, information that is exempt is classed as an exception. The reason for this is that under the Regulations it is presumed that the Authority will disclose the information requested. The number of exceptions under the Regulations is smaller to that of the Freedom of Information Act and they are under the category of "Qualified" exceptions, whereby the Authority has to look at each case individually and determine whether it is in the public interest to release the information requested.

top

Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations

Q. What are the re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations?

A. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations allow people to access information held by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. However, the two legislations do not allow the information to be re-used. The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations was introduced on the 1st July 2005, it was introduced to encourage the re-use of information created by public authorities.

Q. What is meant by "re-use"?

A. The term "re-use" is in regard to the use of the document other than the purpose it was created for. Information supplied under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations may be copyright and those who access the information through those legislations may not be able to use the information other than the purposes it was created for.

Q. What are Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority's obligations under these Regulations?

A. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority have to deal with requests for re-use of information in accordance to the Regulations:

  • Provide advice and assistance to those making a request or wishing to make a request.
  • When we receive a request, we have 20 working days to deal with the request. However, if the request is a complex one, this can be extended.

Q. What Information is available for re-use?

A. Any information that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority produce that is available under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations. Our publication scheme provides a list of information that is available to the public. If the information you wish to access is not listed on our publication scheme, you can submit a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Q. How do I make a request?

A. If you would like to submit a request to re-use information supplied by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, your request should be submitted in writing with your name and address, what information your wish to re-use and the for what purpose.

Written requests should be submitted to:
Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Bridle Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L30 4YD

Or if you wish to make any queries please contact Strategy and Performance on 0151 296 4479/4474 or email: foiteam@merseyfire.gov.uk

top

Regulation 113(7) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015

In accordance with Regulation 113(7) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, that requires local authorities to publish annual payment performance data after March 2016, please find below payment details for this Authority in relation to:

  1. The proportion of valid and undisputed invoices paid within 30 days in accordance with Regulation 113
  2. The amount of interest paid to suppliers due to a breach of the requirement in Regulation 113
Financial year Number of valid & undisputed invoices received in accordance with regulation 113 Proportion of valid & undisputed invoices paid within 30 days in accordance with regulation 113 The amount of interest paid to suppliers due to a breach of the requirement in regulation 113 The amount of interest plus compensation that the Authority was liable to pay due to a breach of the requirement in regulation 113
2015/16 13,263 100% £0.00 N/A
2016/17 9661 95.95% £0.00 £240.11
2017/18 10,297 99.94% £0.00 £240.31

top

Request for Incident Reports

Q. What is an Incident Report

A. An Incident Report is a document that is completed following attendance at an incident. This includes: all fires, special services (like road traffic collisions for example) and false alarms.

Q. What information does this report contain?

A. The Incident Report contains information such as:

  •  Address/location of Incident
  •  Time and Date of Incident
  •  Type of property
  •  Supposed cause of fire
  •  Damaged caused to property
  •  Casualties

Q. Will I be charged for the information requested?

A. There is a standard charge of £151.00 for the provision of an Incident Report. However, it is important to note that where the GDPR applies, there is no charge for the supply of the report where a request for a copy document or information is submitted by a person identified on the Fire Report itself. Written confirmation must be provided to the Authority when a person or organisation requests information on behalf of the identified individual. An authorisation signed by the identified individual and proof of identity must also be provided (i.e. driving licence, passport or birth certificate - photocopies will be acceptable). This is in accordance with the GDPR. There is further information about GDPR available one the UK legislation website.

Q. How can I get access to a copy of the Incident Report?

A. If you wish to obtain a copy of an Incident Report you should first "complete a request form for incident information". Once you have completed this form, it should be submitted to:

Information Assistant
Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Bridle Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L30 4YD

Email: informationassistant@merseyfire.gov.uk

Or if you wish to make any queries please contact Strategy and Performance on 0151 296 4425

Each request for a copy of an Incident Report is reviewed and there may be exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and GDPR that may stop the disclosure of part or all the report

top

Further Information

Complaints Procedure

Q. If I am unhappy with how my request for information is dealt with, how do I complain.

A. If you are unhappy with how your request for information was dealt with by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, you can use our internal complaints procedure.

Q. What will Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority do when they receive my complaint?

A. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint which will be investigated in accordance with our complaints' procedure.

Q. What can I do if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation?

A. If you are dissatisfied at the outcome of our investigation of your complaint, you can submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700

www.ico.gov.uk

Local Transparency Data

Consistent with our drive to provide greater financial transparency and in line with the Local Government Transparency regulations 2014 we now publish a range of information.

This includes information about finance and procurement, human resources, Authority property and governance.

Publishing formats

The data is published in two formats for your convenience - PDF (portable document file) and CSV (comma-separated values).

The PDF format is the easiest format in which to read the data but it does not allow the data to be analysed or sorted. If you wish to do this then you should use the CSV format, which allows you to put the data into a spreadsheet. Please note that the CSV format uses a standard column width and not all entries may be completely visible. To view all of the data, you will need to expand the columns as required.

Information in other formats

We always try to take account of your individual needs and will do our best to give you the information you need in a way that is easy for you to understand.

 We can arrange to meet you and explain things in person, or we might be able to ask someone else to meet with you. If necessary we may be able to provide a document in large print, on audio CD, as a PDF file or in a language other than English.

To ask for help please email us at foiteam@merseyfire.gov.uk Team or call Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority Headquarters on 0151 296 4000, or call in to our main reception headquarters.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing

Our main reception area has a hearing loop, and we can provide a portable hearing loop for other rooms or meetings if needed. We can provide information in writing if you would like us to.

More information

Requests for additional information will be treated in accordance with our existing Freedom of Information protocols. Please send any request to foiteam@merseyfire.gov.uk

PaymentsPay PolicyEstatesContractsTrade UnionLiverpool Car Park Fire
top
Page Top