UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: Carolyn.Haslam@salford.gov.uk
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:44 PM
Subject: Re: Internal Review response

Dear Carolyn Haslam,

Please will you kindly confirm if you are aware there is no legislation or regulations which specifically requires local authorities to collect & hold information on child abuse perpetrators or for them to use that information to formulate their child protection policies. Nor is this information available for Government to use that information to formulate their child protection policies.

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn.Haslam@salford.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:47 AM
Subject: Internal Review response

Dear Mr Mortimer

I refer to your request for information of the 4th February 2014 and your subsequent request for an internal review of the 24th February 2014.

You originally asked for

(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;

(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;

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

(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;

(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 perpetratration?"

The council responded in respect of the specific questions above on the 24th February 2014 with the following information:

The majority of your request received on 4 February is not a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act. The Act provides a right of access to any recorded information held, not covered by an exemption. It does not require public authorities to answer questions generally, only if they already hold the answers in recorded form.

We can advise that the full organisation structure for Children’s Services, including areas of responsibility, is available on our website via the following link:

http://www.salford.gov.uk/d/Childrens_Services_Interim_Structure_web_page.pdf

Your response on 24th February 2014 stated that we had not provided you with the information which you requested in your second freedom of information request. This referred to the questions above and the response highlighted in blue font.

Your response on the 24th February also included a new question as follows: Please will you also tell me who set the criteria for what types of child abuse information is collected & held by Salford City Council?

As explained above this is not recorded information and is not a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The council can confirm we work to the following legislation:

Childrens Act 1989 and Childrens Act 2004

Working together to Safeguard Children 2013

The council has reviewed its initial decision above and upon review is able to confirm that you have received a full response to your original request of 28th December 2013 (copy enclosed) a response to your request above of 4th February 2014 and a response to your new question which you raised on the 24th February 2014.

That concludes our review of your internal review. If you continue to remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may wish to contact the Office of the Information Commissioner at: - Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Carolyn Haslam

----- Original Message -----
From: Paula.Egerton@salford.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 5:13 PM
Subject: Re: CAMS-012-30575544-8 FOI Response D Mortimer

Dear David, I have forwarded your mail below to be handled as a formal appeal to the response sent to you. In terms of your latest question, I did explain in my response to your second request that the Act relates to access to recorded information that is held rather than general questions - but I will also pass this on and an officer will get back to you in due course.

Regards,
Paula Egerton

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: Paula.Egerton@salford.gov.uk
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 4:52 PM
Subject: Re: CAMS-012-30575544-8 FOI Response D Mortimer

Dear Paula,

Please deal with the two requests which I have sent you separately. Please will you also tell me who set the criteria for what types of child abuse information is collected & held by Salford City Council?

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: Paula.Egerton@salford.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 12:20 PM
Subject: CAMS-012-30575544-8 FOI Response D Mortimer

Dear Mr Mortimer,

Further to your request for information dated 4 February in which you ask for:

(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;

(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;

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

(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;

(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 perpetratration?"

Your request above seems to be based on a misunderstanding of our response to your request of the 28 December, please accept our apologies if this was not clear. You originally asked:

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.

For clarification, this information is held by the Council. However, as explained in our original response, there is a limit set within the Act on the amount of time that Council officers need to spend in retrieving information in response to a request. This limit effectively amounts to 18 hours. Further guidance on this matter can be found on the ICO website at the following link, under the title ‘When can we refuse a request on the grounds of cost’ :

http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/freedom_of_information/guide/refusing_a_request#when-can-we-refuse-a-request-for-information-1

The reason why we were unable to respond to your initial request is that while details of offenders are held, core information recorded and held by the authority is centred around the child. Therefore, when a case is opened on our IT systems, the fields within that case tend to focus on descriptors of the child rather than the possible offender. Details of any offender will be included within narrative reports also held within our systems within the case file, but it is not possible to extract this information electronically. Retrieval of this information would entail a manual search through the reports held within case files of all relevant referrals for the last full year. This means that staff responsible for this area of work would need to take the time out to complete this exercise. This limit is in place to reduce the burden on staff resources.

I hope this now clarifies our response to your original request. As stated in our original response, we can provide details of cases broken down by the category of abuse if required.

The majority of your request received on 4 February is not a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act. The Act provides a right of access to any recorded information held, not covered by an exemption. It does not require public authorities to answer questions generally, only if they already hold the answers in recorded form.

We can advise that the full organisation structure for Children’s Services, including areas of responsibility, is available on our website via the following link:

http://www.salford.gov.uk/d/Childrens_Services_Interim_Structure_web_page.pdf

Yours sincerely,

Paula Egerton
Principal Information Governance Officer Business Support and Corporate Information Resources Team Salford City Council

---- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: Paula.Egerton@salford.gov.uk
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 10:13 AM
Subject: Please accept this message as a official request for information.

Dear Paula Egerton,

Please will you kindly tell me:

(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;

(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;

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

(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;

(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 perpetratration?"

Yours Sincerely

David Mortimer

----- Original Message -----
From: Paula.Egerton@salford.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 10:01 AM
Subject: CAMS-012-30575132-7 FOI Response D Mortimer

Dear Mr Mortimer,

Further to your request for information dated 28 December in which you ask:

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.

I regret that the council is unable to fulfil your request. This is because the council does not hold the information about offenders in such a way that it can reasonably be collated and provided in response to your request. As you may be aware, under section 12(1) of the FOIA, public authorities are not obliged to comply with requests for information if they estimate that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’. The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 set an ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 for public authorities, which equates to 18 hours work at a statutory rate of £25 per hour.

Details of offenders are not recorded on our systems in such a way that we could easily extract from our systems. This information is likely to be held within the narrative of individual children’s cases, but is not held within a reportable field within our systems. It would therefore require a manual search through approximately 300 individual records to establish the gender and familial relationship of each offender. We can however provide details of cases broken down by the category of abuse if required. Please advise if you require this information and we will respond as soon as possible.

Regards

Paula Egerton
Principal Information Governance Officer
Business Support and Corporate Information Resources Team
Salford City Council
http://www.salford.gov.uk

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

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