UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

----- Original Message -----
From: chsfoi@worcestershire.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2014 10:33 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request 6123070

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for contacting Worcestershire County Council (WCC).

Your request for information has now been considered. Unfortunately your request cannot be met because a legal exemption applies. The legal exemption that applies is Section 12.

Section 12 of the Act makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit as defined by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, which for local authorities is set at £450, or 18 hours of staff time spent.

The requested information is not recorded in a reportable format, therefore to comply with your request WCC would need to check all Children In Need (CIN) case files. In 2012/13 there were 5718 children and young people returned in the CIN Census which, in this case, would take an estimated 953 hours. The estimate has been arrived at based on the following: 10mins (minimum) per case file x 5718 2012/13 CIN case files = 953 hours.

Your request:

I'm not seeking the names and addresses of offenders in each category of substantiated child abuse, but rather information on the number of perpetrators, the family type (i.e. single mother, single father, joint residence and intact family ) where the abuse occurred, the gender and exact familiar relationship of perpetrators to the child victim (i.e. biological mother, biological father etc)

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me.

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ramsden

----- Original Message -----
From: chsfoi@worcestershire.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2014 10:48 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for contacting Worcestershire County Council (WCC). Your request has been considered and our response is below.

Your request:

Please will you also tell me why Worcestershire County Council does not collect & hold information on child abuse perpetrators & who your child protection policies are designed to protect children from if they are not based on this information?

Our response:

Worcestershire County Council does hold information about individual persons who pose a risk to children where we have been notified about such persons. This is held as an individual client record with confidential details about that individual. If any concerns arise about that individual, including any new allegations, we have the means to track and log information to enable identified children to be protected.

It is the role of the police and probation service to track and monitor offenders who pose a risk to children and who would hold a 'list' and decide when it would be in the public interest to disclose information to the public under what is colloquially known as 'Megan's Law'.

Our child protection policies are based on our legal and statutory duties under the Children Act 1989 and Working together to protect Children (2014). Our duty is to protect children from significant harm caused through abuse or neglect. The majority of the harm that children suffer is from persons known to the child and often from persons who do not have any prior convictions or allegations against them. We hold this information within individual client records due to the confidential nature of the information we collate. We are able to derive statistical information from these records in order to ensure we plan the right resources are allocated to meet our duties. Please be assured that we are being effective.

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ramsden

----- Original Message -----
From: chsfoi@worcestershire.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:58 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Mr Mortimer

Thank you for contacting Worcestershire County Council (WCC). Your request has been considered and our response is below.

Your request and our response:

(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;

There are a number of officers that determine what information on child neglect and abuse is collected and held by WCC. It is not the sole responsibility of one officer.

(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;

Sensitive and personal information held by Worcestershire County Council about individual children is held in secure systems to ensure confidentiality. There are clear protocols in place that meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act for the sharing of such information. Individuals may request access to information held about them through a formal process that is published. Information about patterns, trends and performance in relation to addressing neglect or abuse of children is regularly reported to the Children's Services Performance Board, and to the Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB). Key performance indicators are published on the Council's Balanced Scorecard. Different officers of the Council are responsible for aspects of the systems involved in collating this information.

Individual employees of WCC are not "held to account" directly by individual members of the public. Such employees carry out the functions of WCC on behalf of WCC. A member of the public can complain about how individuals have carried out those functions by using WCC's complaints procedures, approaching the Local Government Ombudsman to seek to make a complaint or taking legal advice about whether they have some sort of legal claim against WCC. If circumstances call for it, WCC may decide to use its disciplinary or capability procedures in relation to individual staff but that is a matter for WCC's judgment as an employer. WCC as whole is held accountable to its public by the system of democratic elections to elect its councillors."

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

There are a number of officers that have responsibility for child protection policies. It is not the sole responsibility of one officer.

(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;

There are West Mercia Multi-Agency Child Protection Procedures that has been developed in partnership by the 4 LSCBs in West Mercia and is overseen and signed off by each Board. In addition the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children's Board (WSCB) has developed a multi-agency Thresholds Guidance that is overseen and signed off by the WSCB. These are published on the WSCB website. Worcestershire County Council does not have separate child protection policies or procedures. There is additional local guidance for Children's Services staff to interpret the West Mercia Child Protection Procedures alongside local systems and structures.

Individual employees of WCC are not "held to account" directly by individual members of the public. Such employees carry out the functions of WCC on behalf of WCC. A member of the public can complain about how individuals have carried out those functions by using WCC's complaints procedures, approaching the Local Government Ombudsman to seek to make a complaint or taking legal advice about whether they have some sort of legal claim against WCC. If circumstances call for it, WCC may decide to use its disciplinary or capability procedures in relation to individual staff but that is a matter for WCC's judgment as an employer. WCC as whole is held accountable to its public by the system of democratic elections to elect its councillors."

(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 does not fall within Freedom of Information Act as it is not a request for recorded information.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me.

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ramsden

----- Original Message -----
From: chsfoi@worcestershire.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2014 1:41 PM
Subject: freedom of information request 5954267

Dear Mr Mortimer

Further to your recent Freedom of Information request, please find attached our response.

Donna Duggan

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

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