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Our Hospital Clinical Operational Client Group (COCG) minutes (FOI)

Our Hospital Clinical Operational Client Group (COCG) minutes (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 29 April 2022.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


In a recent FOI ( Number 369199086 for reference) it was stated that Prof Ashok Handa did not minute his meetings which were informal discussions but that the formal Governance Group meetings are recorded with formal minutes, reviewed and signed off by meeting attendees.

As meetings with senior clinicians to ascertain their requirements for their respective departments within the new hospital build is clearly something of utmost importance, I would be grateful if you could please forward these minutes to me as the Professor's work on the design brief for the new hospital surely comes under governance.
I look forward to receiving all of Prof Handa's signed off minutes. 


The approved minutes for Our Hospital Clinical Operational Client Group (COCG) meetings from 19th August 2020 to 13th January 2022 are attached. Any subsequent meeting minutes will be awaiting approval. 

Redactions have been applied to the minutes where required under the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011. Justification for such redactions is provided within the detail below.  

Articles applied 

Article 25 - Personal information 

(1)     Information is absolutely exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005.

(2)     Information is absolutely exempt information if –

(a)     it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005; and

(b)     its supply to a member of the public would contravene any of the data protection principles, as defined in that Law. 

Article 25 is an absolute exemption, and therefore does not require a public interest test. However, it is noted that minimal personal information has been redacted within the minutes, such redactions limited to the names and roles of less senior members of staff.   

Article 33 - Commercial interests 

Information is qualified exempt information if – 

(a)     it constitutes a trade secret; or

(b)     its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information). 

Public interest test 

Article 33 (b) is a prejudice-based exemption. That means that in order to engage this exemption there must be a likelihood that disclosure would cause prejudice to the interest that the exemption protects. In addition, this is a qualified exemption and consideration must be given to the public interest in maintaining the exemption.  

The Scheduled Public Authority (SPA) considers that the sections of the minutes redacted under Article 33 could prejudice the commercial interests of the Government of Jersey and/or third parties. There may be public interest in the commercial information however it was considered that this is outweighed by the potential for commercial and/or financial damage.   

Article 35 - Formulation and development of policies 

Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.  

Public interest test  

The SPA has redacted certain information within the minutes as it relates to the formulation and development of policy and procedure by the public authority. Article 35 is a qualified exemption, which means that a public interest test has to be undertaken to examine the circumstances of the case and decide whether, on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.   

Although there is a need for transparency, accountability, financial and good decision making by public authorities this information relates to an ongoing situation. The SPA, and indeed good government, requires Ministers to be provided with full, frank advice from officials about the possible impact of proposed policy, and for Ministers and officials to be able to discuss and test those proposed policies in a comprehensive way.   

The following considerations were taken into account:  

Public interest considerations favouring disclosure  

  • disclosure of the information would support transparency and promote accountability to the general public, providing confirmation that the necessary discussions have taken place 
  • disclosure to the public fulfils an educative role about the early stages in policy development and illustrates how the department engages with parties for this purpose.  

Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information   

  • in order to best develop policy, Officers and Ministers need a safe space in which free and frank discussion can take place. The need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of a policy. Sharing views is important to ensure that all relevant considerations are taken into account in developing and implementing policy. Disclosure at a time when these views are still being considered would negatively impact the Department's ability to fully consider the information 
  • the need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of a policy  
  • release of the information at this stage might generate misinformed debate in areas where future options have yet to be finalised. This would affect the ability of officials to consider and develop policy away from external pressures, and to advise Ministers appropriately 
  • disclosure of this information may limit the willingness of parties to provide their honest views and feedback in future. This would hamper and harm the policy–making process not only in relation to this subject area but in respect of future policy development across wider Departmental business. 

Taking into account the various factors, the SPA decided in favour of withholding the redacted information. 

Our Hospital COCG minutes.pdf

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