Complaints made against members of staff

Trevor Drive made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Forefield Junior School, Crosby

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Forefield Junior School, Crosby.

Dear Forefield Junior School,

Please provide the following information:

The School and Governing Body's procedure that is followed when complaints are received from Parents about members of staff,in particular
a)Written Complaints
b)Verbal Complaints

Also,I would like you to provide the exact number of the following:
a) Written complaints within the past three years
b) Verbal Complaints within the past three years

I would like to clarify that I am not asking for names of individuals,or confidential data,just the actual number of both types of complaints.

Also. is the school required by law to keep a record of all complaints, whether written or verbal?

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Drive

Dear Forefield Junior School,

I writing to remind you that the due date for response to the FOI request made by myself on 10th February is due today. I await your response with immediate effect

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Drive

Dear Forefield Junior School,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Forefield Junior School's handling of my FOI request 'Complaints made against members of staff'.

Despite a reminder being sent on March 10th 2010,the school has declined to either respond or give reasons for the delay in complying with my request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Drive

Forefield Junior School,

12th March 2010

Dear Trevor Drive

FOI request re Voluntary Donations

Dear Trevor Drive,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request with regard to
Voluntary Donations at Forefield Junior School.

We have considered your request and believe that you are using a
pseudonym, technically, you must use your real name for your
request to be a valid Freedom of Information Request.

The Information Commissioner’s Office state that:

 Section 8 (1) of the FOIA sets out the requirements of a valid
request for information and states that a request must, amongst
other things, “state the name of the applicant and an address for
correspondence”.

 A public authority is entitled to treat as invalid a request
where the real name of the applicant (whether an individual or a
corporate body) has not been used.

 Requests involving known pseudonyms cannot be subject of a valid
complaint to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of the
FOIA.

Therefore, we are of the view that it was the intention of the
legislation that an applicant should provide there real name so
that the request can be processed in accordance with the
requirements of the FOIA.

The definition of “applicant” in section 84 of the FOIA add weight
to this as the phrase in section 8 (1)(b) should be read as “the
name of the person making the request”. This also suggests that the
use of false or fictitious name is not acceptable. Therefore, where
a public authority receives a request from a person using an
obvious pseudonym, there is no obligation to comply with the
request; nor would it fall within the jurisdiction of the
Information Commissioner.

Yours Anna James Deputy Headteacher

Dear Forefield Junior School,

Please note the extract from an information leaflet from the Information Commisioner's Office. In particular the reference to use of pseudonyms in FOI requests.

As the ICO state,"We recognise that it may be difficult for a public authority to be certain that a pseudonym has been used by an applicant. A relatively low-key approach is recommended and public authorities should not seek proof of the applicant’s identity as a matter of course.Even when an obvious pseudonym has been used, as good practice a public authority should still consider the request even though technically it can be regarded as invalid."

Email address
An email address also satisfies the requirement of section 8(1)(b) that the applicant should provide an address for correspondence. Support for this is found in the FOIA as follows:
• a request for information can be made by email

Below is the full information sheet provided by the ICO. Therefore again I wish to reconfirm the original request. The request is therefore now overdue.

Freedom of Information Act
Valid request – name and address for correspondence
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives a right of public access to information held by public authorities. This is part of a series of guidance notes produced to help public authorities understand their obligations and to promote good practice.
Section 8(1) of the FOIA sets out the requirements of a valid request for information and says that a request must, amongst other things, “state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence”. This guidance provides advice on how these two terms should be interpreted.
In providing this guidance we are seeking to encourage public authorities to adopt a common sense approach to establishing the validity of a request which maintains the spirit of the FOIA that disclosure is to the world at large. However, the Information Commissioner is bound by his legal duties under the FOIA which means that pseudonymous requests are outside the scope of his jurisdiction.
Overview
• A public authority is entitled to treat as invalid a request where the real name of the applicant (whether an individual or a corporate body) has not been used.
• Requests involving known pseudonyms cannot be the subject of a valid complaint to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of the FOIA.
• Where a public authority knows that a pseudonym has been used, as a matter of good practice it should still consider the request, for example where identity is not relevant and it is content to disclose the information requested, even though technically the request is invalid.
• Either an email or postal address is acceptable as an address for correspondence.

The name of the applicant
The use of the phrase “the name of the applicant” in section 8(1)(b) indicates that the real name of the applicant should be used when requesting information and not any other name, for example, a pseudonym.
Although one of the underlying principles of the FOIA is that the identity of the applicant is not taken into account, it can be relevant in certain circumstances. For example, when:
Version 1 9 January 2009 1

• a request is being made by the applicant for his/her own personal data and so would be exempt under section 40(1) of the FOIA (and would comprise a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998);
• a public authority has good reason to believe a requester is using a pseudonym to shield his/her identity in order to avoid the possibility of the request being considered as vexatious or repeated; or
• determining whether to aggregate costs for two or more requests in accordance with the Fees Regulations.

Therefore, we are of the view that it was the intention of the legislation that an applicant should provide their real name so that the request can be processed in accordance with the requirements of the FOIA.
The definition of “applicant” in section 84 of the FOIA adds weight to this as the phrase in section 8(1)(b) should be read as “ the name of the person making the request”. This also suggests that the use of a false or fictitious name is not acceptable. Therefore, where a public authority receives a request from a person using an obvious pseudonym, there is no obligation to comply with the request; nor would it fall within the jurisdiction of the Information Commissioner. If a public authority chooses not to comply with the request it should, in keeping with its duty under section 16, advise the applicant that the FOIA requires their real name to be provided.
We recognise that it may be difficult for a public authority to be certain that a pseudonym has been used by an applicant. A relatively low-key approach is recommended and public authorities should not seek proof of the applicant’s identity as a matter of course. In accordance with the spirit and purpose of the FOIA, the default position of a public authority should be to accept the name provided by the applicant unless there is good reason to enquire further about the applicant’s name, as indicated above.
Even when an obvious pseudonym has been used, as good practice a public authority should still consider the request even though technically it can be regarded as invalid. This approach could be adopted in cases where identity is not relevant to the request and, in view of the general principle within the FOIA of disclosure to the world at large, where the authority is content to disclose the information.
What constitutes a real name?
We consider that a relatively informal approach is also appropriate in this context. Therefore, title and/or first name with surname satisfies the requirement for provision of a real name, as does the use by a female applicant of her maiden name. The prime consideration is whether enough of a person’s full name has been provided to give a reasonable indication of that person’s identity.
Version 1 9 January 2009 2
Example:
Mr Arthur Thomas Roberts could satisfy section 8(1)(b) of the FOIA by stating his name in a request for information as “Arthur Roberts”, “A. T. Roberts”, or “Mr Roberts”, but not by stating his name as “Arthur” or “A.T.R.”
In the case of a company, it is not necessary to provide the full registered name. It will be acceptable to provide another name which exists as a real entity, such as a trading name. Similarly, a sole trader could provide his or her real name or trading name.
In most cases, it will be reasonable for a real name to comprise a name by which the person making the request is widely known and/or is regularly used by that person and which is not an obvious pseudonym or fictitious name.
An address for correspondence
The requirement is for an address to be supplied such that it enables correspondence to reach the applicant.
Postal address
A postal address will meet this requirement. This does not have to be the applicant’s own address, and it is acceptable for the applicant to provide a “care of” or PO Box address.
Email address
An email address also satisfies the requirement of section 8(1)(b) that the applicant should provide an address for correspondence. Support for this is found in the FOIA as follows:
• a request for information can be made by email.
• the access regime is a relatively informal one – for example the applicant does not have to state formally that the request is being made under the FOIA.

Addresses for service of notices
There is no special provision in the FOIA as to what constitutes service of a notice, but the Commissioner considers that a decision notice can be served on an email address that was provided as the address for correspondence in the original complaint.
Version 1 9 January 2009 3
More information
This guidance will be reviewed and considered from time to time in line with new decisions of the Information Commissioner, Tribunal and courts on freedom of information cases. It is a guide to our general recommended approach to this area, although individual cases will always be decided on the basis of their particular circumstances.
If you need any more information about this or any other aspect of freedom of information, please contact us.
Phone: 08456 30 60 60
01625 54 57 45
Email: please use the online enquiry form on our website
Website: www.ico.gov.uk
Version 1 9 January 2009 4

Yours sincerely,

Trevor Drive