UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

----- Original Message -----
From: GSmithson@wakefield.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 5:56 PM
Subject: FW: FOI request Ref 6000 / 6014

Dear Mr Mortimer,

I refer to your email of 11th March 2014. First of all I would like to draw your attention to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, namely the definition of the information under the meaning of the Act which covers the information that is recorded (in writing) and held by the Council. In your email you have asked a number of questions which do not constitute valid request for information and rather looking for information that would require officers’ personal judgements and opinions. This information is outside of scope of the Act and should be dealt with through other channels.

I note that you have submitted a number of foi enquiries concerning the same issue and I believe that the Council has answered them in accordance with the Act. Unfortunately we are unable to deal with this kind of follow up enquiries any further.

If you wish to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to contact me on the contact details below.

Yours sincerely

Galina Smithson

----- Original Message -----
From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
To: GSmithson@wakefield.gov.uk
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: FOI request Ref 6000 / 6014

Dear Galina Smithson,

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

Best regards Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: GSmithson@wakefield.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:50 PM
Subject: FW: FOI request Ref 6000 / 6014

Dear Mr Mortimer,

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please find the information you requested.

(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 Children and Young People, John Wilson is responsible for all the functions of the Director of Children's Services as set out in Section 18 of the Children Act 2004, statutory guidance and any regulations made under it and is authorised to discharge any of the Council's functions in relation to the services under his jurisdiction and is responsible for the day to day managerial and operational decisions within the Directorate. The Corporate Director has a duty amongst other things to promote co-operation between the Council and its partners to promote the wellbeing of children, to ensure the authority's functions are being discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.

(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;

Officers of the Council are servants of the public and are accountable to the Council as a whole carrying out the Council's work under its direction and control. Citizens have the right to complain to the Council under its Complaints Procedure, the Ombudsman after using the Council's own Complaints procedure. All Officers must abide by the Council's Code of Conduct which is included in the Council's Constitution.

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

Please see the answer to question A above.

(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;

Please see the answer to question C above.

(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?"

The Director of Children’s Services has a legal responsibility to ensure that there are child protection policies, among many other requirements, set out in legislation and statutory guidance. In doing so he works within statutory Guidance from Working Together, and discharges that responsibility through the Wakefield and District Safeguarding Children Board (established through the Children Act 2004) which has a statutory duty to co-ordinate what is done by each body on the Board (for further information on the Safeguarding Children Board see http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/safeguardingchildren) for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area and ensure the effectiveness of what is done.

A large amount of performance data relating to child protection is supplied to the Secretary of State on an annual basis as part of the Children in Need Census. This includes details of the numbers of children subject to Child Protection Plans and other information relating to child protection in each local authority). The policies relating to Child Abuse cover not only social care professionals but professionals from all partner agencies and the Safeguarding Board and ultimately the Secretary of State has a statutory duty to ensure that children are protected from abuse. The Board holds the DCS accountable, as do all the other mechanisms for accountability outlined above.

The DCS is held to account through the lead member for Children's Services (LMCS) which in Wakefield is the Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, (Cllr Olivia Rowley) who has legal responsibilities under s19 of the Children Act 2004 and subsequent statutory Guidance from the Secretary of State and accordingly "as a member of the Council Executive, has political responsibility for the leadership, strategy and effectiveness of local authority children’s services. The LMCS is also democratically accountable to local communities and has a key role in defining the local vision and setting political priorities for children’s services within the broader political context of the Council."

The DCS is also held to account through the publicly available Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which in Wakefield is the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which is made up not only of elected but independent members, and also holds Cllr Rowley to account too

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely

Galina Smithson

Freedom of Information Officer

----- Original Message -----
From: GSmithson@wakefield.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 8:43 AM
Subject: FW: FOI Request - Ref 5834 / 5999

Dear Mr Mortimer,

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please note that the Council may not always know if a perpetrator is found guilty of abuse; therefore we do not hold this information in its entirety. You may wish to re-direct your enquiry to the Police.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely

Galina Smithson

----- Original Message -----
From: GSmithson@wakefield.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 10:44 AM
Subject: FW: FOI Request - Ref 5834 - Due date 27.1.14

Dear Mr Mortimer,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

After checking our records we found that to comply with your request would mean manually going through circa 600 case files, which is an excessive amount of time and resources.

Under the Act (Section 12(1)) the Authority has the right to refuse to release the information where it is reasonably estimated that the cost of complying with a request would exceed £450 (calculated on the basis of 18 hours @ £25 per hour). On this occasion we have estimated that the cost of determining whether we hold the requested information and locating, retrieving and extracting it would exceeds £450. The Authority has therefore decided to refuse your request.

We may, however, be able to assist you with your request if you can narrow it down, which would reduce the search.

If you are unhappy with the way the authority has handled your request, you may ask for an internal review. Please contact the Council's Freedom of Information Officer, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Information Management Team, Room 115, County Hall, Wakefield WF1 2QW, who will arrange an internal review of your case.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow SK9 5AF, http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

Yours sincerely
Galina Smithson
Freedom of Information Officer
http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/

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

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