1. PURPOSE OF PROCEDURE
1.1 To ensure that processes exist for the handling of enquiries received from the online communications channels used by NHS Fife such as the public website, intranet, email and social networks.
2. WHERE THE PROCEDURE APPLIES
2.1 All areas where NHS Fife provides a service.
3.1 All staff dealing with website/intranet enquiries.
4. OPERATIONAL SYSTEM
4.1 Enquiries may be made by:
- Members of the public
- Members of NHS Fife staff
4.2 All staff dealing with website enquiries who receive an enquiry in any form will be responsible for dealing with the enquiry as quickly as possible and in a sensitive matter.
4.3 Enquiries received by Telephone
4.3.1 Callers who intimate to the Switchboard Operator that they wish to make a website enquiry will be transferred immediately to the relevant contact (Appendix 1).
4.4 Enquiries made by Electronic Mail
4.4.1 All email enquiries must be directed to the relevant contact who will ensure acknowledgement of receipt within 3 working days, and forward a copy of the enquiry to the relevant department immediately. See appendix 2 for example of how to deal with enquiries.
4.4.2 The website contact will log the enquiry, allocate a reference number and establish deadline dates for completion of the investigation.
4.4.3 The website contact will liaise with the appropriate Divisional Manager/Head of Department and any member of staff involved to address the enquiry.
4.4.4 The website contact must ensure a response from the relevant department within 20 working days of receipt of the enquiry.
4.4.5 If a reply cannot be achieved within 20 working days the website contact will send a holding e-mail to the enquirer explaining the reason for the delay.
4.4.6 The website contact will send copies of the final reply to the appropriate Clinical Director/Divisional Manager/Head of Department. If the enquiry has been dealt with directly by the relevant department a copy or a blind copy of the reply should be sent to the website contact.
4.4.7 The website contact will maintain a Central Register of enquiries (Appendix 3).
4.4.8 The website contact will produce at least a quarterly report on response times and outcomes.
4.5 If enquiries are received in a language other than English the Co-ordinator for Race Equality (tel: 01383 565142) should be contacted to arrange translation.
4.6 If the enquirer is dissatisfied with the response he/she may be offered the opportunity to liaise with the appropriate staff involved in the enquiry in an effort to resolve the enquiry locally.
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
4.7 There is a specific section of the NHS Fife website devoted to requests for information, in line with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. This includes an electronic form which applicants can complete, and details of the FOI contact within NHS Fife.
4.8 It must be borne in mind that any recorded request for information (in letter or email) must be responded to within 20 working days.
4.9 An FOI requester is not required to mention the Act in his/her request, and therefore any request for information (as opposed to an enquiry concerning registration with a GP practice, etc or a complaint) must be responded to within 20 working days from receipt.
4.10 The FOI flowchart must be followed in these cases. This is shown at Appendix 4.
Enquiries and Comments from Social Networks
4.11 NHS Fife is unable to respond directly to comments or messages sent via the organisation’s social network pages. NHS Fife is unable to moderate comments on social network sites out with the organisations control.
4.12 Where possible, any comments or messages should be dealt with using the same process as email enquiries, as detailed in paragraph 4.4
4.13 Where appropriate commenting should be disabled on social networking sites.
4.14 If comments contain factual errors, the administrator of the page should make all reasonable efforts to post a correction.
4.15 Comments containing personal information, or those that are deemed to be offensive by the site administrator will be removed.
4.16 NHS Fife reserves the right to remove any content from social networks, including comments and any other user generated comment.
5. RISK MANAGEMENT
5.1 This procedure must be reviewed annually under the authority of the Web and Intranet Co-ordinator. All associated procedures and processes linked to this procedure will be subject to an ongoing development and review programme.
6. RELATED DOCUMENTS
Appendix 1: Website Contact List for switchboard
Appendix 2: Example web enquiry process flowchart
Appendix 3: Example of website enquiry log and bi-monthly report
Appendix 4: FOI Request Flow Chart
7.1 NHS Fife Online Communications Policy
7.2 NHS Fife Freedom of Information Policy Statement