Dear Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation,

with reference to the Ofqual blog published on December 21, 2020 "Ofqual and data-sharing" https://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/21/of...

"There is a perception that the system does not work properly and that there is secrecy over the data and processes that drive the awarding of exam grades. Rebuilding trust in the system that determines young people’s futures is essential and urgent."

"That is the reason for having such a group: there would be little point if it did not change or influence things."

Please can you provide the following information, under the terms of the FOI Aact 2000.

1. Any document with an explanation of the members' appointment process
2. Terms of Reference
3. Forward looking meetings schduled dates
4. The agenda and minutes from the meeting(s) held to date

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Jen Persson

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Thank you for your request, made under the Freedom of information Act 2000
(the Act). We will deal with your request in line with the Act.

 

Please note that due to Covid-19 we might not be able to respond within
statutory timelines. We will respond as soon as we can.

 ** Please note our office is closed 24/12/20 - 04/01/21**

Kind regards,

 

 

Freedom of Information Team, Ofqual

• Until further notice, do not send any correspondence to the Ofqual
Earlsdon Park office, which is closed due to the current COVID-19
situation.
Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

 

Your information

 

In order to provide you with a response to your email, Ofqual will process
any personal data contained in your email in line with our statutory and
regulatory duties and data protection legislation.

 

We will, as far as possible, maintain your confidentiality and anonymity,
if you have requested us to do so. However, it may be necessary to share
your personal data in order to process your enquiry and provide you with a
full response, and sometimes we may need to share your correspondence with
colleagues in Ofqual, with other government departments or with Awarding
Organisations.

 

Please be aware that if you exercise your right to remain anonymous, we
may not be able to reply fully to your correspondence.

 

If you believe that Ofqual has not complied with your data protection
rights, please contact Ofqual’s Data Protection Officer
[1][email address] in the first instance. You can also contact
the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at [2]https://ico.org.uk/ or
telephone 0303 123 1113.

 

For further information about how Ofqual processes personal data, please
visit our [3]Personal Information Charter page.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Dear Ms Persson,
 
We would like to update you regarding your Freedom of Information request.
Please be assured we take our responsibilities in respect of Freedom of
Information very seriously and have been preparing a response for you.
 
We expected to respond to your request by Thursday 28 January. However, we
have outstanding queries which we are discussing with colleagues. This
means we will require more time to complete your request.
 
We aim to provide you with a further update by Friday 5 February. 
 
In the meantime, should you have any queries, please let us know.
 
Kind regards,
 
 
 
Freedom of Information Team, Ofqual
Until further notice, do not send any correspondence to the Ofqual
Earlsdon Park office, which is closed due to the current COVID-19
situation.
• Office: 0300 303 3344
• Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

[1]Ofqual on GOV.UK • [2]Blog • [3]Twitter • [4]YouTube • [5]LinkedIn
 

This message may contain confidential information.
If you have received this message by mistake,
please inform the sender by sending an e-mail
reply. At the same time please delete the message
and any attachments from your system without
making, distributing or retaining any copies.
Although all of our e-mail messages and attachments
are automatically virus scanned, we assume no
responsibility for any loss or damage arising from
the receipt or use of this message.

 
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Dear Ms Persson,
 
We wanted to let you know that we are continuing to work on your Freedom
of Information request. However, we have outstanding queries which we are
discussing with colleagues. This means we will require more time to
complete your request.
 
We will be able to provide you with an update on our further progress on
or before 22 February .
 
If you should you have any queries, please let us know.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
Freedom of Information Team, Ofqual
Until further notice, do not send any correspondence to the Ofqual
Earlsdon Park office, which is closed due to the current COVID-19
situation.
• Office: 0300 303 3344
• Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

[1]Ofqual on GOV.UK • [2]Blog • [3]Twitter • [4]YouTube • [5]LinkedIn
 

This message may contain confidential information.
If you have received this message by mistake,
please inform the sender by sending an e-mail
reply. At the same time please delete the message
and any attachments from your system without
making, distributing or retaining any copies.
Although all of our e-mail messages and attachments
are automatically virus scanned, we assume no
responsibility for any loss or damage arising from
the receipt or use of this message.

 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://gov.uk/ofqual
2. http://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/
3. http://twitter.com/ofqual
4. http://youtube.com/ofqual
5. http://linkedin.com/company/ofqual

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Dear Ms Persson,
 
We wanted to let you know that we are continuing to process your Freedom
of Information request and will provide you with a further update on or
before Friday 12 March.
 
If you should you have any queries, please let us know.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
Freedom of Information Team, Ofqual
Until further notice, do not send any correspondence to the Ofqual
Earlsdon Park office, which is closed due to the current COVID-19
situation.
• Office: 0300 303 3344
• Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

[1]Ofqual on GOV.UK • [2]Blog • [3]Twitter • [4]YouTube • [5]LinkedIn
 

This message may contain confidential information.
If you have received this message by mistake,
please inform the sender by sending an e-mail
reply. At the same time please delete the message
and any attachments from your system without
making, distributing or retaining any copies.
Although all of our e-mail messages and attachments
are automatically virus scanned, we assume no
responsibility for any loss or damage arising from
the receipt or use of this message.

 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://gov.uk/ofqual
2. http://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/
3. http://twitter.com/ofqual
4. http://youtube.com/ofqual
5. http://linkedin.com/company/ofqual

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Dear Jen Persson,

We refer to your request for information, made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act). Firstly, my I apologise for the delay in responding to your request and thank you for your patience in this matter

Under the Act, public authorities have two duties to individuals requesting information: firstly, to confirm whether or not they hold the information requested, and secondly to provide a copy of that information unless one or more of the exemptions under the Act apply.

Your request

With reference to the Ofqual blog published on December 21, 2020 "Ofqual and data-sharing" https://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/21/of...

"There is a perception that the system does not work properly and that there is secrecy over the data and processes that drive the awarding of exam grades. Rebuilding trust in the system that determines young people’s futures is essential and urgent."

"That is the reason for having such a group: there would be little point if it did not change or influence things."

Please can you provide the following information, under the terms of the FOI Act 2000.

1. Any document with an explanation of the members' appointment process

2. Terms of Reference

3. Forward looking meetings scheduled dates

4. The agenda and minutes from the meeting(s) held to date

Our response
In order to address your request for information, for ease of reference, we shall set out each element of your request in bold and then provide our response to it.

Question 1 and 2: Any document with an explanation of the members' appointment process and Terms of Reference

We can confirm that Ofqual holds information relating to the nature of the information you have requested. Ofqual intends to make the finalised terms of reference and associated information (which are currently in draft form) available on our webpage www.ofqual.gov.uk in spring 2021, once the documents are signed-off at the next Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project meeting.

Having reviewed this information, we consider that a section 22 exemption applies. We explain the reason for our decision below.

Exemption – Section 22
Section 22 provides:

(1) Information is exempt information if -

(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),

(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and

(c) it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).

The exemption in section 22 of the Act is a qualified exemption and subject to the public interest test.

We have considered whether in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

In this case, we conclude that early disclosure of this information before its expected publication in spring 2021 would be likely to cause harm, which we explain in more detail below in the section entitled, Public Interest Test.

Question 3: Forward looking meetings scheduled dates

We can confirm that Ofqual does not hold information regarding the type of information that you have requested. This is because we intend to schedule Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project meetings in future, but those dates are not yet confirmed.

Question 4 (Part 1) Minutes from the meeting(s) held to date

We can confirm that Ofqual does not hold information regarding the type of information that you have requested. This is because we do not produce minutes for the Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project meetings. However, we do intend to publish meeting notes and make those available on our webpage www.ofqual.gov.uk in spring 2021. Those meeting notes have not yet been drafted by Ofqual.

Question 4 (Part 2): The agenda from the meeting(s) held to date

We can confirm that Ofqual holds information relating to the type of information you have requested.

We have however reviewed the information requested and decided not to release the information because a section 36(2)(b)(i) and (ii) exemption applies to the information requested. We explain the reason for our decision below.

Exemption – Section 36

Section 36(2)(b)(i) and (ii) and (c) provides that information is exempt from disclosure if:

(2) Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under this Act -

(b) would, or would be likely to, inhibit -
(i) the free and frank provision of advice, or
(ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation or
(c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

The exemptions in section 36(2) of the Act is a qualified exemption and subject to the public interest test and provides that disclosure is exempt if the disclosure would, or would be likely to, otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

In this case, we conclude that disclosure would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs, which we explain in more detail below in the section entitled, Public Interest Test.

Public Interest Test

Factors in favour of disclosing the information are:

• We recognise that there is public concern about the integrity of the exam system, which includes the data and processes which support the awarding of grades. Disclosure of governance documents, such as Terms of Reference, agendas and notes of meetings might help to assure the public that their concerns are considered by Ofqual at the right time. Disclosure of this information could promote transparency and openness.
• There is general public interest in good decision-making by public bodies. Promoting public understanding of and confidence in Ofqual’s decision making is important. Disclosure of the requested information is likely to provide assurance to the public that Ofqual’s decisions are scrutinised and as a public body, it is held to account.

Factors against disclosure are:

• As indicated above, we expect to publish in spring 2021, the Terms of Reference, rationale behind the selection of the Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project members as well as notes of the Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project meetings. Disclosing governance documents as stand-alone items and without the benefit of contextual or supporting information could lead to public misunderstanding and unfair perceptions about discussions at meetings. This in turn could have a disruptive effect on advisory board members and Ofqual in managing the adverse effect of premature disclosure. Consequently, releasing governance documents, including agendas at this stage could deter Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project members from providing candid feedback in future. This is likely to undermine the effectiveness of the Advisory Committee – Data Sharing Project and, therefore prejudice Ofqual’s ability to perform its functions.
• The publication date is in the near future.
• It is in the greater public interest to have all the information at once as opposed to a smaller proportion. Moreover, to release information that is in draft format, before final publication, could lead to confusion and would likely affect our ability to deliver our statutory objective to secure public confidence in qualifications.

Outcome of Public Interest Test for Section 22 and Section 36 exemption
Taking into account the above factors, we consider that the exemptions should be applied.

Outcome of PIT for Section 36 exemption 

Other than for statistical information, Section 36 requires that the authority’s ‘qualified person’ to give their ‘reasonable opinion’ that disclosure would or would be likely to cause the types of prejudice listed above. Ofqual’s qualified person has agreed that the exemption may be applied. 

Internal review
If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled you have the right to request an internal review. You can request an internal review by contacting:

Naik Sandhu
Legal Practice Manager, Ofqual
Earlsdon Park
53-55 Butts Road
Coventry, CV1 3BH
([email address]).

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you can apply to the Information Commissioner. Complaints to the Information Commissioner should be sent to:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team, Ofqual

• Office: 0300 303 3344
• Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ofqual FOI,

"In this case, we conclude that early disclosure of this information before its expected publication in spring 2021 would be likely to cause harm, which we explain in more detail below in the section entitled, Public Interest Test."

Please can you confirm that you will be publishing the relevant information in the next seven days, when the UK moves to British Summer Time, or the date by when you consider "publication in spring 2021" is defined?

Thank you for your consideration.
Sncerely,

Jen Persson

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Thank you for your request, made under the Freedom of information Act 2000
(the Act). We will deal with your request in line with the Act.

 

Please note that due to Covid-19 we might not be able to respond within
statutory timelines. We will respond as soon as we can.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Freedom of Information Team, Ofqual

• Until further notice, do not send any correspondence to the Ofqual
Earlsdon Park office, which is closed due to the current COVID-19
situation.
Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

 

Your information

 

In order to provide you with a response to your email, Ofqual will process
any personal data contained in your email in line with our statutory and
regulatory duties and data protection legislation.

 

We will, as far as possible, maintain your confidentiality and anonymity,
if you have requested us to do so. However, it may be necessary to share
your personal data in order to process your enquiry and provide you with a
full response, and sometimes we may need to share your correspondence with
colleagues in Ofqual, with other government departments or with Awarding
Organisations.

 

Please be aware that if you exercise your right to remain anonymous, we
may not be able to reply fully to your correspondence.

 

If you believe that Ofqual has not complied with your data protection
rights, please contact Ofqual’s Data Protection Officer
[1][email address] in the first instance. You can also contact
the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at [2]https://ico.org.uk/ or
telephone 0303 123 1113.

 

For further information about how Ofqual processes personal data, please
visit our [3]Personal Information Charter page.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Ofqual FOI, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

Dear Ms Persson

Thank you for your email. I apologise for the delay in replying. The information that you require has now been published on our website and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Kind regards

Freedom of Information Team
Ofqual

• Office: 0300 303 3344
• Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir