Correspondence on Management of Asbestos in Schools between DFE and HSE

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Department for Education,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide me with the following information:

Any email correspondence between the Department for Education and the
Health and Safety Executive that are on the subject of or contain the word
'asbestos', 'ACMs' , or 'AIBs'. Please also provide an itemised list of
any such correspondence containing any of the words or phrases specified.

I am particularly interested in correspondence relating to the DFE survey of asbestos management in schools.

I am interested in information from between the dates 1 January 2014 and
31 December 2016.

I understand that under the Act I am entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this request. Some parts of the request may be easier to answer than others. Should this be the case, I request that you release information as soon as possible.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive
fees.

I would prefer to receive the information electronically.

If you require any clarification, please contact me in accordance with your duty under Section 16 to provide advice and assistance if you find any aspect of this FOI request problematic.

Please acknowledge receipt of this request by email. I look forward to receiving the information in the near future.

Yours faithfully,

Lucie Stephens

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Dear Ms Stephens

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2017-0057186.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,
Dear Department for Education,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide me with the following information:

Any email correspondence between the Department for Education and the Health and Safety Executive that are on the subject of or contain the word 'asbestos', 'ACMs' , or 'AIBs'. Please also provide an itemised list of
any such correspondence containing any of the words or phrases specified.

I am interested in information from between the dates 1 January 2016 and
31 December 2016.

I understand that under the Act I am entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this request. Some parts of the request may be easier to answer than others. Should this be the case, I request that you release information as soon as possible.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive
fees.

I would prefer to receive the information electronically.

If you require any clarification, please contact me in accordance with your duty under Section 16 to provide advice and assistance if you find any aspect of this FOI request problematic.

Please acknowledge receipt of this request by email. I look forward to receiving the information in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Lucie Stephens

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

MAILBOX, MPCD,

Dear Ms Stephens

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2017-0060674.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear MAILBOX, MPCD,

Please can you indicate when you will be releasing the information that I requested on 21st December.

Yours sincerely,

Lucie Stephens

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Dear Lucie

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on the 21st
December 2017. You requested:

 

‘Any email correspondence between the Department for Education and the
Health and Safety Executive that are on the subject of or contain the word
'asbestos', 'ACMs' , or 'AIBs'. Please also provide an itemised list of
any such correspondence containing any of the words or phrases specified.

 

I am interested in information from between the dates 1 January 2016 and

31 December 2016’

 

I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).

The Department holds the information you have requested.  However, I
consider that the following exemption(s) apply to your request:

Section 35 covers information that ‘relates to’:

-        formulation or development of government policy,

-        ministerial communications,

-        provision of advice by any of the Law Officers,

 

-        the operation of ministerial private offices.

The Act obliges the Department to respond to requests promptly, and in any
case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request.  However,
where one of the exemptions listed above is applicable, the Department
must consider whether the public interest lies in disclosing or
withholding the information.  In these circumstances, the Act allows the
time for response to be longer than 20 working days. 

In your case the Department estimates that it will take an additional 20
days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest
lies. It is anticipated that you will receive a full response by
19/02/2018. If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a
conclusion, we will keep you informed.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.  

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.  

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.  

Yours sincerely,

Amiel Cohen

Dear Amiel,

This response is very disappointing given that when we spoke in person you said you would be able to provide this information within the adjusted timescales that I had offered. I continue to be confused and alarmed by the inconsistencies in how asbestos is managed by your department.

Yours sincerely,

Lucie Stephens

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Lucie,

 

Further to our meeting on the 19th December 2017, you were informed that
if there were to be exemptions in the FOI request that the formal
procedure of the Act would be followed, and an extension would be applied
to perform a public interest test. This is in line with the legislation
and our response will be sent to you by the 19th February 2018.

 

 

Amiel 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

3 Atodiad

Dear Lucie

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 22
December 2017. You requested:

‘Any email correspondence between the Department for Education and the
Health and Safety Executive that are on the subject of or contain the word
'asbestos', 'ACMs' , or 'AIBs'. Please also provide an itemised list of
any such correspondence containing any of the words or phrases specified.
I am interested in information from between the dates 1 January 2016 and
31 December 2016’

I have dealt with your request under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004. 

Further to my letter on the 23 January, the Department has reconsidered
the information in scope of your request and has decided that this
information falls under the Environmental Information Regulation 2004 and
not under the FOI Act as previously advised. We have considered whether
the public interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information. 

A copy of the information which can be disclosed is enclosed in the format
you requested.

The Department holds some further information in scope of your request,
but it is being withheld because we consider that exceptions under the
following regulations apply:

-        Regulation 12(4)(d) of the Act – material in the course of
completion, unfinished documents and incomplete data.

-        Regulation 12(4)(e) of the Act – Internal Communications.

-        Regulation 12(5)(f) of the Act – Interests of the person who
provided the information to the public authority.

-        Regulation 12(3) &13 Personal data of third party

 

Regulation 12(4)(d) of the Act applies to information held by government
departments. It provides that information is exempt if it relates to:

-        Material which is still in the course of completion and can
include information created as part of the process of formulating and
developing policy, where the process is not complete.

-        Draft documents are unfinished even if the final version has been
produced.

-        Data that is being used or relied on at the time of the request
is not incomplete, even if it may be modified later.

 

Regulation 12(4)(e) of the Act applies to information held by government
departments. It provides that information is exempt if it relates to:

-        An ‘internal’ communication is a communication within one public
authority. All central government departments and agencies are deemed to
be one public authority for these purposes.

-        A communication sent by or to another public authority, a
contractor or an external adviser will not generally constitute an
internal communication.

 

Regulation 12(5)(f) of the Act applies to information held by government
departments. It provides that information is exempt if it relates to:

-        The interests of the person providing the information to the
public authority will be adversely affected by disclosure;

-        The person providing information was not under any legal duty to
provide it;

-        The public authority is not entitled to disclose the information
provided;

-        The person providing the information has not consented to
disclosure; and

-        The public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the
public interest in disclosing the information.

 

The majority of documents that have been withheld under the above
exemptions are correspondence that relate to advice on policy positions,
policy formulation and correspondence that include draft documents that we
have later published.  

These exceptions are subject to the public interest test which means that
when the exception is engaged it is necessary to consider whether in all
the circumstances of the case the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

In summary, the considerations for disclosure in this instance include the
general public interest in providing greater transparency and
accountability for decision-making processes. There is a public interest
in allowing the public to understand decisions made by public authorities
affecting the lives and work of fellow citizens. There is also a public
interest in accountability and transparency in policy matters which relate
to the spending of public money, and a general public interest in
understanding how government works. Further, it is in line with the spirit
of the act to presume that information that the government holds should be
released.

The case for withholding rests principally in the nature of policy making.
Ministers and those advising them need to have the necessary confidence
and space to carry out a difficult task effectively. There is a need for
officials to be able to have free and frank discussions, this is integral
to the formulation of policy. Were these documents to be released, in
future those producing these types of documents, or forming these types of
policy, may be less frank or candid in giving their views or presenting
information, so the quality of advice and hence the decision making, may
suffer. Further, draft documents are not normally released and the final
product exists in the public domain.

For some of the correspondence our assessment is that the interests of the
person providing the information to the public authority or the parties
mentioned in their correspondence could be adversely affected by
disclosure. It is also important that people feel able to approach the
department without the knowledge that the information they are providing
could be published in the public domain. Thus, releasing these documents
could deter potential whistle-blowers and other individuals from providing
the government with important information.

On balance, after conducting a public interest test, our assessment is
that the public interest is in favour of exempting these emails from being
released.

In addition we have applied Regulation 13 of the Act – personal
information and redacted the documents we have provided accordingly.

There are three documents attached to this email:

1. 2017-0060674- This is the email corraspondace that are being released.

2. Asbestos management in Brent Schools Executive Summary 23 03 2016 FINAL
RELEASED- Attachment to email 18.

3. Asbestos Management in Brent Schools  The Short Report 23 03 2016 FINAL
RELEASED- Attachment to email 18.

 

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright.
You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study
and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be
also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news
reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would
require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be
protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be
re-used under the Open Government Licence
([1]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information
please see The National Archives website
-[2]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
.

 

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information
about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual
Property Office’s website at [3]www.ipo.gov.uk.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request. 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

Yours

Amiel Cohen

Central Capital Unit

 

 

Itemised List:

Key Words
  Contained
Email (Asbestos,
Number ACM, AIB)
1 Asbestos
2 Asbestos
3 Asbestos
4 Asbestos
5 Asbestos
6 Asbestos
7 Asbestos
8 ACM/ Asbestos
9 Asbestos
10 ACMs/Asbestos
11 ACMs/Asbestos
12 Asbestos
13 Asbestos
14 Asbestos
15 Asbestos
16 Asbestos
17 Asbestos
18 Asbestos

 

 

 

 

 

References

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