Dear Barrow in Furness Borough Council,
We are submitting the following Freedom of Information Request for documents relating to uses of data analytics, predictive analytics, or algorithmic automated systems used for risk assessment, scoring systems or automated decision making within the jurisdiction of your authority. This could include the use of these data systems in order to draw insights from large and integrated datasets, or to influence decisions about resources, funding or service delivery. This could include, but may not be limited to, uses of predictive analytics in child welfare, health care, adult social care, fraud detection, or policing.
Specifically, we are requesting:
· Any briefing notes, reports, evaluations, or summaries concerning uses of algorithmically driven data systems. Ideally this would include information about software, hardware, operations and types of data
· Any overviews about how system outputs are produced.
· Any training manuals or materials (e.g. slides, etc.) for staff about data collection, analysis, assessment and reporting as related to the use of the systems.
. Any impact assessments
· Any data visualisation outputs connected to the systems.
· Any promotional material, presentation material, or staff educational material related to the systems.
. Any contracts relating to the systems. We argue that the release of contracts does not compromise commercial sensitivity. The full argument is provided below.*
Also, please note we are not requesting datasets or any data about individuals.
Please let us know if any information requires clarifying.
We would like to receive electronic copies of this information.
All the very best,
Data Justice Lab
Please note that we are following the Information Commissioner’s guidance on the Freedom of Information Act which specifies that requests can be made by organisations and there is no need for a named individual (pages 9-10, sections 38-39).
*Addressing the commercial sensitivity question:
a) Section 20 of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘Local Government Transparency Code 2015’, which encourages greater transparency in the public interest, notes:
‘The Government has not seen any evidence that publishing details about contracts entered into by local authorities would prejudice procurement exercises or the interests of commercial organisations, or breach commercial confidentiality unless specific confidentiality clauses are included in contracts. Local authorities should expect to publish details of contracts newly entered into – commercial confidentiality should not, in itself, be a reason for local authorities to not follow the provisions of this Code’.
Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk... (page 9, section 20)
b) There is always the potential for a company in any area to act in bad faith, but this should not be a reason to deny access to information about how public money is spent.
c) Contract and tendering details are provided regularly by a range of government bodies in the public interest. For example, many police and fire services release contractual information through the Bluelight database ( https://www.blpd.gov.uk/foi/foi.aspx ).
d) There may be core aspects of the systems contracted that have competitive commercial value and we appreciate that such details will be redacted from any documents released. We argue that commercial interests will not be compromised by revealing other details that may be provided in contracts or related communications with contracted companies. Details that could be released include details about the existence of a system, it's purpose, the tasks being contracted, continued relationships, general descriptions, types of data being used, how this data is shared.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 â€“ INFORMATION REQUEST
I have looked into your request for information and must inform you that the Council does not hold the information you require. You will need to contact Cumbria County Council.
I apologise that your request cannot be met but if you have any queries, concerns or any further information needs in the future then please contact me.
If the complaint still cannot be resolved you may contact the Councilâ€™s Corporate Services Manager at the address given above.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone: 01625 545 700
Freedom of Information
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