UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

----- Original Message -----
From: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2014 12:34 PM
Subject: RE: FOI/13/1981 RESPONSE TO FURTHER COMPLAINT

Dear Mr Mortimer

The child protection policies and procedures are designed to protect all children from any threat.
http://www.proceduresonline.com/kentandmedway/

If you do not believe KCC has complied with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you should now appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with legislation. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints

If you believe KCC is guilty of maladministration with regard to its child protection policies and procedures, you should complain to the Local Government Ombudsman http://www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint/.

I am afraid that KCC will not respond to any similar communications.

Best regards

Caroline Dodge
Team Leader, Information Resilience & Transparency Team,
Business Strategy & Support, Governance & Law
Kent County Council

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2014 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: FOI/13/1981 RESPONSE TO FURTHER COMPLAINT

Dear Caroline Dodge,

Please will you kindly tell me why Kent County Council does not collect & hold information on child abuse perpetrators & who Andrew Ireland's child protection policies are designed to protect children from if they are not based on this information?

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2014 4:05 PM
Subject: FOI/13/1981 RESPONSE TO FURTHER COMPLAINT

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for your email below. I am sorry you remain unhappy and I am sorry that that I have failed to reply to you within the 20 working day target that we set ourselves.

Kent County Council does produce data/statistics on child abuse/neglect, just not the particular statistics about the gender of the perpetrator and their relationship to the victim that you require and to extract these from other sources of information that we hold would exceed the appropriate limit. Re-reading both your original request and your follow-on query to it, it is clear that the statistics you require relate to offenders that have been convicted and therefore the Police would definitely be the best authority to contact.

If you do not believe KCC has complied with legislation, you should now appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints

Best regards

Caroline Dodge

----- Original Message -----
From: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2014 5:02 PM
Subject: FW: FOI/14/0211 RESPONSE TO FOI REQUEST RECEIVED 30th JANUARY 2014

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, relating to children social services policies and procedures. I am pleased to provide the response below:

(a) the council authority, council officer and the name of that officer, who decides on what information on child neglect and abuse is collected & held by your council;

The Corporate Director of Families and Social Care, Andrew Ireland, in liaison with Members of the council and other officers; in compliance with statutory guidance.

http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/statutory/g00206029/statutory-guidance-for-childrens-services-chiefs/the-director-of-childrens-services-and-lead-member-for-childrens-services

(b) the means by which that person is held to account by a member of the public for their performance in discharging that public function;

The Kent Safeguarding Children Board (KSCB) is a multi-agency partnership, which includes an independent Chair, responsible for safeguarding and protecting children in Kent. The purpose of this partnership is to hold each agency to account and to ensure safeguarding children remains high on the agenda across their region. The Board supports partners to adapt and review their practice to improve effectiveness.

Regular inspections by Ofsted are carried out into children’s services, highlighting strengths and weaknesses in local authority practice.

The council constantly scrutinises its policies and performance and holds its own staff to account; in turn elected Members hold officers to account.

(c) the council authority, the council officer and the name of that officer, responsible for your child protection policies;

The Director of Specialist Children’s Services, Mairead MacNeil.

(d) the means by which that person is held to account by a member of the public for their performance in discharging that public function;

KSCB, Ofsted and the elected Members of the Council, as well as statutory responsibilities.

(e) how the function in (c) is properly discharged and held accountable for policies which would best effectively protect children from abuse if the person referred to in (a) does not collect any information on child abuse perpetration?

Kent County Council has policy and procedures in place which are regularly scrutinised and reviewed to ensure they are effective. Child abuse perpetration data is maintained by the Police.

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints process; details can be found at this link http://www.kent.gov.uk on our website. Please quote reference FOI/14/0211.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints.

Yours sincerely

Miss Jemila Dodge

Information Access Officer

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 7:53 PM
Subject: FOI/13/1981 RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR REVIEW

Dear Caroline Dodge,

The cost of complying will only exceed the appropriate limit if I refuse to comply with the fees notice. That is the point of a fees notice, to stop you doing exactly what you are doing now. Rendering the entire act ineffective, simply by claiming that it will cost too much.

Your inability to efficiently and economically supply child neglect and abuse data simply confirms your inability to conform to the government's child protection guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children which requires that polices for preventing child abuse and neglect be based on data and evidence.

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 10:29 AM
Subject: FOI/13/1981 RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR REVIEW

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for your email. I am sorry that you were not happy with our original response and believe it to be non-compliant with Freedom of Information legislation.

Firstly, there is no particular form that a section 17 refusal notice should take, nor is there any requirement to use a specific template. The Act states that if we are relying on an exemption to withhold information, we should specify the exemption in question and why it applies. This was fulfilled by the following paragraph in Mr Mercer's original request

To provide you with the requested information would require us to manually check all case files for the children who have been subject to a child protection plan within the given period. We estimate that to extrapolate and collate the information that you require would involve more than 18 hours work, which at the £25 hourly rate set by the Ministry of Justice, would exceed the £450 cost limit. Therefore, under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are not obliged to provide you with this information.

In addition, this was clarified further by myself in my response of 30th January, following my review of the handling of your original request.

The Act also states that within the section 17 refusal notice, we should give details of any internal review (complaints) procedure that we have in place and explain your right to complain to the Information Commissioner. This was fulfilled by the following paragraph in Mr Mercer's original request

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints process; details can be found at this link http://www.kent.gov.ukon our website. Please quote reference FOI/13/1981.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints

In addition, this was clarified further by myself in my response of 30th January following my review of the handling of your original request.

With regard to the section 13 fees notice that you consider we should have issued, if we consider that the cost of complying with your request exceeds the appropriate limit, we actually have three options: (i) we can provide you with the information free of charge regardless of the time and/or effort involved, (ii) we can raise a fees notice under section 13 or (iii) we can refuse to deal.

Kent County Council's stance is always option (iii). This is because if we do not have the spare staff to locate, extract and collate the information requested, then the payment of a fee (and in this case the fee we would raise would be approximately £1500) would not resolve these resourcing issues. I would also argue that it would not be best use of limited public resource (funded or not) to take staff away from front-line service provision to spend several weeks extracting information that may be more readily accessible from another public authority.

I do appreciate that if we do refuse to comply with a request for information for whatever reason, then we are obliged under section 16 to provide advice and assistance. Regrettably, this was omitted from Mr Mercer's original response but was addressed by myself in my response of 30th January following my review of the handling of your original request.

Please see the Information Commissioner's website for guidance on interpretation of legislation.
http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/freedom_of_information/guide/refusing_a_request
http://ico.org.uk
http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations

If you remain unhappy, you can now appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints, or you can phone the ICO Helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Best regards

Caroline Dodge

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2014 8:56 PM
Subject: FOI/13/1981 - RESPONSE TO FOI REQUEST RECEIVED 28 DECEMBER 2013

Dear Mr Mercer,

1. The relevant part of section 13(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 reads as follows,

13 Fees for disclosure where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit.

(1) A public authority may charge for the communication of any information whose communication—

(a) is not required by section 1(1) because the cost of complying with the request for information exceeds the amount which is the appropriate limit for the purposes of section 12(1) and (2);

2. You are required to offer me the opportunity to pay the amount exceeding the appropriate limit. You have not done so.

3. Neither have you issued proper notice under section 17 of the same enactment.

I look forward to receiving your costs in respect to 2. above, or proper notice, in respect to 3. above.

Yours Sincerely

David Mortimer

----- Original Message -----
From: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:13 PM
Subject: FOI/13/1981 RESPONSE TO FOI COMPLAINT

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for your comments. I am sorry you are unhappy with Kent County Council's response to your request for information.

As we explained to you previously, although KCC will hold information about the perpetrators of sexual abuse, their gender, and their relationship to their victim (if any) within the victim's case file, we do not produce statistics using this data, nor are we required to report on this. To provide you with this information would require us to manually check all case files for the children who have been subject to a child protection plan within the specified period. As at September 2013, there were over 1200 children subject to a CP plan and allowing just five minutes per case file to locate, extract and collate the required statistics would certainly exceed the appropriate limit by some 60 hours. Therefore, under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are not obliged to comply with your request.

However, section 16 of the Act does place obligations on us to advise and assist and this is why we referred you to Kent Police who may routinely collate this information as part of their crime statistics.

http://www.kent.police.uk/about_us/foi/formal_request/Make%20a%20Request%20for%20I.html

Our Child Protection policies focus on the child/young person rather than the perpetrator and are aimed at raising the child abuse/safeguarding awareness of all the children’s workforce, including the behaviour exhibited by perpetrators. The offender profile for child abuse is very wide, albeit that Serious Case Reviews and NSPCC statistics indicate that the perpetrator is usually a member of the family, so it would not be practical or appropriate to have policies aimed at a specific type of offender.

If you are still unhappy, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints, or you can phone the ICO Helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Best regards

Caroline Dodge

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: 08 January 2014 14:02
To: Mark.Janaway@kent.gov.uk
Cc: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request 13/1981

Hi Mark,

Please can you kindly tell me who your child protection policies are designed to protect children from if you do not collect this information?

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark.Janaway@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Cc: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 11:51 AM
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request 13/1981

David

With regard to your request, the information you are seeking is more likely to be held by Kent Police as it relates to convicted offenders.

I would suggest that your request be made to the FOI Team at Kent Police Headquarters.

I am sorry that I cannot be of any help in this matter.

Regards

Mark Janaway

http://www.kscb.org.uk

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: 08 January 2014 10:25
To: Mark.Janaway@kent.gov.uk
Subject: Freedom of Information Request

Hi Mark,

Please will you kindly tell me what the (a) gender and (b) familial relationship was to the child victim of offenders in substantiated child abuse cases in the area which you have a duty to protect children from abuse for the last full year which figures are available, broken down by (i) physical abuse, (ii) emotional abuse, (iii) sexual abuse and (iv) cases of neglect.

What I want is information on the perpetrators of child abuse. I am not asking for any information about the child victims. What I mean by substantiated child abuse cases are those who have been taken through the criminal justice system & found guilty of a child abuse offence. What I mean by child is those under the age of 18 years of age.

Yours Sincerely

David Mortimer

----- Original Message -----
From: freedomofinformation@kent.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 3:04 PM
Subject: FOI/13/1981 - RESPONSE TO FOI REQUEST RECEIVED 28 DECEMBER 2013

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, relating to child abuse.

Kent County Council does not record the information you have requested centrally. To provide you with the requested information would require us to manually check all case files for the children who have been subject to a child protection plan within the given period. We estimate that to extrapolate and collate the information that you require would involve more than 18 hours work, which at the £25 hourly rate set by the Ministry of Justice, would exceed the £450 cost limit. Therefore, under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are not obliged to provide you with this information.

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints process; details can be found at this link http://www.kent.gov.uk on our website. Please quote reference FOI/13/1981.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints

Many thanks

James Mercer
Information Access Officer

Who do local authorities protect children from? 28th December 2013

http://www.ukfamilylawreform.co.uk/abuse.htm