At the Isle of Man Government’s press conference held on Friday 30 October, the Health Minister read part of a letter from an unidentified member of the Department of Health and Social Care staff. Some people have described it as Minister Ashford’s Anonymous Letter (although it might be more accurate to describe it as a letter from an unidentified writer, as from the context of the delivery, it seems that Minister Ashford knows who wrote it).

It would have been best for Minister Ashford to just release the document (with appropriate redactions) proactively. Since he does not yet appear to have done so, I’ve submitted a freedom of information request for this letter.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

I am writing to make a freedom of information request for all the information to which I am entitled under the relevant Freedom of Information provisions. I am an Isle of Man resident.

Please send me:

1) A copy of the letter received by the Minister on Thursday 29 October which reads, in part, “Dear Minister, I’m writing to you to make you aware of how demoralised many of us feel over the media coverage of the last few weeks. The implication that our entire testing regime is down to one individual, and would not function without them is as far from the truth can be…”

This is the letter that the Minister read part of during his press conference briefing on Friday 30 October, 2020.

I believe that this is likely to be included with the Freedom of Information definition of “all information held by authorities listed in Schedule 1 of the Act and which was created on or after 11 October 2011.”

I would like the above information to be provided to me as electronic copies by email to me. If the files are too large to transfer by email, I am happy to attend your offices with a USB stick. If you prefer alternative arrangements, please contact me to discuss.

If this request is too wide or unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that Manx law requires you to advise and assist requesters.

If any of this information is already is already publicly available, please advise and assist me to locate the information I am seeking, with page references and URLs if necessary.

If the release of any of this information is prohibited on the grounds of breach of confidence, I ask that you supply me with copies of the confidentiality agreement and remind you that information should generally not be treated as confidential if such an agreement has not been signed.

I understand that you are required to respond to my request within the 20 working days after you receive this letter. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,
Michael Josem

A letter with a pretty fountain pen

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