UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

----- Original Message -----
From: infogov2@solihull.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 4:17 PM
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Reference Number 5145

Dear Mr Mortimer

In response to your query I can confirm that no such complaint has been made.

Yours sincerely

Alison McCallum

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: infogov2@solihull.gov.uk
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 1:35 PM
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Reference Number 5145

Dear Alison McCallum,

Please will you kindly tell me if (A) the director for children’s services at Solihull council or (B) any of the members of the local safeguarding children’s board have made a formal written complaint about the way in which child abuse perpetrator information is collected or not in the last 12 months?

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: infogov2@solihull.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 10:47 AM
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request - Reference Number 5145

Dear Mr Mortimer

I am writing in response to your enclosed request for information. Please find details of our responses 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;

Social care information about a child in relation to neglect and abuse, or any other category that falls within child protection that is held by Solihull Council, and indeed all councils, is nationally prescribed by Department for Education (DfE) through what is known as the Children in Need Census (CiN). Therefore there is no single officer who “decides” on what is collected about a child subject to neglect or abuse in our Council. This information is collected throughout the year as required e.g. when a new case is opened, or closed or when there any changes, reviews, assessments or other events in the child’s life. At the end of the year this information is collected into the CiN Census and submitted to DfE.

Below is an extract from the DfE website giving a more detail about the CiN census. More detailed information on the census is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-in-need-census-2013-to-2014-specification

(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;

As outlined in a) above, there is no single person who “decides” what information is collected by the Council as it is prescribed by the DfE (and Ofsted for educational information). Therefore this question cannot be answered.

However, all councils are accountable to DfE for submitting accurate data in the CiN Census on an annual basis following the year end 31st March and within a specified timescale – usually June of each year. All staff working with children or recording, storing, maintaining, printing or dealing with information in any way about a child is responsible for recording accurate information and for protecting that information under the Data Protection Act and in line with our Council policies and procedures. In terms of accountability, should the CiN Census not be completed or not submitted on time to DfE annual for any reason or there were serious concerns about the integrity of the Census submitted, which has never been the case in Solihull, the Director for Children’s Services would be accountable to the DfE.

In terms of accountability to the public, performance reports are scrutinised on a quarterly basis by Councillors who are members of Solihull Council’s Education, Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Board and these reports include borough level performance measures calculated from aggregated data across a range of children’s services, including information gathered for the CiN census and other statutory returns. This is one of the methods that the Council is accountable for performance and the integrity of its information to the public. Here again, the Director for Children’s Services is accountable.

In addition, all local authorities, including Solihull, are held accountable for all aspects of children’s services and safeguarding through external inspection by Ofsted of children’s services. When Ofsted arrive to inspect, which is usually unannounced, they have access to any information required for their inspection that is collected by local authorities, and other organisations, about children, including social care information. This is the mechanism by which the Council and other organisations are held accountable for safeguarding children and providing children’s services and this includes the information held about children. Solihull Ofsted inspections reports and guidance on inspections are available via the Ofsted website http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/children-and-families-services/for-children-and-families-services-providers/inspecting-children-and-families-services/inspect-11.

Solihull Council is accountable to the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) which is an independent body made up of Members from a number of agencies / organisations in Solihull including, police, schools, health, fire service, mental health services, voluntary sector organisations and others. Information about the LSCB is available via http://www.solihull.gov.uk/staysafe/default.htm. This is a multi-agency body and the website explains how they work, the information they use and their information sharing protocols.

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

The Director for Children’s Services (DCS) in responsible for the correct application of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board child protection procedures.

(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;

The DCS is held to account by Ofsted and the LSCB as explained in b) above. In addition, the DCS is held to account to the public through regular reports to Education, Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Board and to the Cabinet Member for Children Services which are published on the council website.

(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?"

This question has been answered in a) and b) above.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Alison McCallum

----- Original Message -----
From: jsummerill@solihull.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2014 10:48 AM
Subject: Reply to request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Dear Mr Mortimer

Freedom of Information request – Reference 5024

I write further to your request for information, which we received on 28 December.

You asked what the (a) gender and (b) familial relationship was to the child victim of offenders in substantiated child abuse cases for the last full year for which figures are available, broken down by (i) physical abuse, (ii) emotional abuse, (iii) sexual abuse and (iv) cases of neglect.

Finding, retrieving and preparing information takes employees’ time; consequently we are allowed to consider costs. If based upon an hourly rate of £25 the cost exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’ then the public authority can refuse to fulfil the request. For Local Authorities the ‘appropriate limit’ is set at ?450 (which equates to 18 hours).

We do not collate total figures by gender or familial relationship.? To identify this information we would need to manually go through every child abuse case.? 249 cases fell into this category.

Therefore, to provide an estimate of the length of time it would take to complete this task we undertook a spot check from the list of Child Protection cases.? It took 1 hour to examine 8 cases. This was because the data is not recorded systematically so the child’s relationship to the abuser is not always clear from the ICPC minutes, so on some we have also had to read through the Strategy Discussion and/or Section 47 Enquiry to elicit the information required.

We estimate the timescale to complete the total task will be: 249 cases divided by 8 cases an hour = 31 hours.

Hence we are refusing to continue the search. In this the Council is relying upon exemption – section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides an exemption in so far as the Council is not obliged to comply with a request if the Council estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the appropriate limit.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

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

We now need more people to join this group or to simply start asking our public servants for the proof that they are acting in the public's best interests. If the right people ask their friends to join this group they will & some of the best people won't need to be asked. All it takes to make real progress is a little bit of co-operation. The change will be how we use the Internet.

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/ukfamilylawreform

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