Discrepancies in information given by College about communicating Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal dates to schools

Patrick Lee made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Bournemouth and Poole College

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

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Bournemouth and Poole College,

I am writing further to clear up discrepancies between the information provided in your Freedom of Information response F0082 of 14 March 2017 (a copy of which may be seen at https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot....) and the document sent to me on 11 April 2017 by the College by John Parker on Jacqui Kitcher's behalf.

In response to the following question:
"For each version of the schedule, which schools were informed about the schedule, and which roles at those schools (e.g. Head of Music) were informed and on what dates?"
the F0082 response states in paragraph 3:

"It is sent to parents of the students. With reference to schools; for events taking place on a school day, e.g. The Royal Albert Hall in November 2017 which was a Wednesday, the Wessex Youth Orchestra write direct to the school and the students are also provided with a letter to give to the school giving them the information and requesting permission for the student to participate."

This stated that schools are only given a list of *concert dates*.

Yet the document sent to me on 11 April clearly states that, in addition to concert dates, schools are given details of the *extra WYO evening rehearsal dates* (from section F):

"The Centre and WYO distribute season brochures complete with term and concert dates every summer. All WYO related schools - head teachers and heads of music, also have details on how and when WYO evening rehearsals take place in relation to concert dates, along with confirmation that, in the event of a clash, the WYO expects the school event to take priority. This can be confirmed by any WYO member or parent - as has been stated on Facebook comments, and by the fact that the WYO never has complete attendance at any rehearsal. The suggestion of a lack of cooperation between the CWYM and WYO and schools is untrue and potentially damaging to the CWYM and WYO’s reputation."

1. Which version is correct, and what is your explanation for how the College came to produce two such contradictory versions of events?

2. With regard to cooperation between the WYO and schools and other ensembles (which as previously explained to you was the reason for requesting clarification of who details of rehearsals were sent to), can the WYO Director confirm that she has never asked or instructed any member of the WYO not to also be a member of any of the following: Bournemouth University Orchestra, Bournemouth Youth Orchestra, or Dorset Youth Orchestra?

3. The WYO rehearsal schedule instructions state that members must attend at least 70% of all rehearsals, and that attendance at red rehearsals is compulsory. Are any members of the WYO subject to higher minimum attendance requirements (e.g. the leader of the WYO, or section leaders) and if so what are those requirements?

4. Has the WYO recently started sharing more information with schools with regard to the dates of extra weekday rehearsals?

5. One of the concerns that was put to me was that when clashes occurred between school events (such as concerts) and WYO EXTRA rehearsals, the WYO Director, contrary to what she had told me ("the children are told that school must come first"), was not encouraging children to perform in their school's event. Has the WYO/College recently said to schools that in such situations children are expected to perform in their school's event?

6. Re 5, has the WYO/College also recently made clear to WYO children and their parents that children are expected to support their school's concert in the event of a clash?

7. I understand that the WYO Director (who is also CWYM Director) has recently objected to Wessex Middle Strings and Wessex Starter Strings providing opportunities for soloists. The WYO Director's website includes a page on her role as WYO Director (http://www.susannariddell.com/wyo-director) which includes that she "ensures a plentiful supply of solo opportunities for the talented young musicians under her care." When has she provided such solo opportunities for WYO players in recent years, and can she explain how her professed provision of solos is a positive thing, but a negative when it comes to some other groups providing them? (To my knowledge the last occasion on which the WYO Concert included several solos by WYO players was over 4 years ago, in December 2012, in a concert entitled "In the Limelight").

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Lee

Dear Bournemouth and Poole College,

Your response to my Freedom of Information request was due by yesterday at the latest under the Act. Please will you now respond without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Lee

Dear Bournemouth and Poole College,

Further to my previous reminder, your response to my Freedom of Information request was due under the Act almost 3 weeks ago (2 June). Please will you respond without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Lee

Dear Bournemouth and Poole College,

By law, under all circumstances, you should have responded by now. Yet you have failed to do so, despite my reminders of 3 and 21 June. Please will you now comply with the law by responding without any further delay?

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Lee

Freedom of Information, Bournemouth and Poole College

Dear Mr Lee,

 

I am responding to your recent request (and subsequent emails) for
clarification of information previously provided to you.

                    

In accordance with section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“FOIA”), we will not be taking your request any further this time. This
is because we consider your request to fall within section 14(1) of the
FOIA with respect to:

o the purpose of the request is to cause disruption;
o the request has the effect of harassing the public authority;
o the request is characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable.

 

Further to this, in accordance with Section 14 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, we also consider your request to be substantially
similar to your previous requests F0082, F0083 and F0086.  This is because
we consider your request to fall within section 14(2). We have previously
provided the requested information; your recent communications require
interpretation/clarification of information already provided.

 

With this in mind we will not be taking your request further this time.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to:

 

Freedom of Information Officer

Ken Roberts

Executive Director of Resources

The Bournemouth & Poole College

North Road

Parkstone

Poole BH14 0LS

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you then
have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF.

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Ken Roberts

Freedom of Information Officer

Bournemouth and Poole College

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Bournemouth and Poole College,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Bournemouth and Poole College's handling of my FOI request 'Discrepancies in information given by College about communicating Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal dates to schools'.

Two months after I made the request, so well beyond the 20 working days allowed, you are now declining to respond to my Freedom of Information request on the grounds that the purpose of the request is "to cause disruption", "the request has the effect of harrassing the public authority", "the request is characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable", and that it is substantially similar to my previous requests (F0082, F0083 and F0086).

Your organisation is publicly funded, and your website includes "The Bournemouth & Poole College have policies and guidelines which ensure we follow best practice." See https://www.thecollege.co.uk/about-us/co....

Yet you have been late on several occasions with Freedom of Information request responses (this one and F0086), and your organisation has been shown to have made false statements (your two responses of 30 May 2017 to F0086, in both of which you claimed that there was no WYO Rehearsal Schedule for Summer 2017, yet you finally admitted on 6 June 2017 that such a schedule did exist and supplied it to me). See https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.....

These failings do not meet best practice. In my view, your refusal now to answer this Freedom of Information request is unlikely to enhance the College's reputation. The purpose of my request is to clear up significant discrepancies between your previous FOIA responses and other documents supplied to me by the College. Surely best practice (as the College claims to follow) would be to explain and resolve these discrepancies, rather than simply ignoring them?

Asking an educational establishment which receives public funding, and is also a registered charity, to be truthful and to explain contradictions in different documents it provides, cannot be said to be "causing disruption" or "harassing a public authority". The public, Ofsted and the Charity Commission have a right to expect the Bournemouth and Poole College to be truthful in its communications, and to clear up any discrepancies or mistakes promptly. I hope you agree that as an educational establishment the College should be committed to supplying honest and non contradictory answers to the community it serves.

I therefore ask you to answer the questions in this Freedom of Information request without any further delay please.

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

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Lee

Dear Freedom of Information at Bournemouth and Poole College,

This internal review which I requested on 6 July 2017 is now extremely late. Under ICO guidelines you should have replied within 20 days (or 40 days but only in exceptional circumstances), but so far you have taken almost a year (11 months) and have not provided any response. Please now respond fully and accurately without any further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Lee

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Lee

Freedom of Information, Bournemouth and Poole College

Dear Mr Lee
I am now the senior officer at the College with responsibility for Freedom
of Information requests.  I have reviewed our records of your request
F0086 regarding discrepancies in information given by the College about
communicating Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal dates to schools.
My understanding is that we originally advised you that a schedule of
dates did not exist but then we were subsequently able to supply such a
schedule.
My review of the records and the internal review which was subsequently
carried out reveals that our original error was based on a single enquiry
to a member of staff.  The review has identified that in responding to
Freedom of Information requests we should be more systematic in our
approach to gathering information and seek alternative sources rather than
rely on an individual's memory.  This change was implemented immediately.
I can only apologise for the inconvenience caused by us supplying
incorrect information in the first instance.
Freedom of Information Officer
Michael Johnson ACMA, CGMA, MSc
Vice Principal Finance and Commercial Development

Bournemouth and Poole College
T: 01202 205288

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From: Patrick Lee <[FOI #404825 email]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 3:27 PM
To: Freedom of Information
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request Ref F0086
 
Dear Freedom of Information at Bournemouth and Poole College,

This internal review which I requested on 6 July 2017 is now extremely
late.  Under ICO guidelines you should have replied within 20 days (or 40
days but only in exceptional circumstances), but so far you have taken
almost a year (11 months) and have not provided any response.  Please now
respond fully and accurately without any further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Lee

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Lee

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Patrick Lee anodiad ()

I am pleased that Bournemouth and Poole College seem to have started taking their Freedom of Information Act responsibilities a bit more seriously than last year, in that they are no longer making a blanket refusal under the dubious grounds that the questions asked are "vexatious and designed to disrupt them".
However, in my view the reply does not go far enough to meet the College's responsibilities under the Act:

- the review only answers a very minor part of the 8 questions in my request (see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...) . Namely how did it happen that they incorrectly stated (twice) that no WYO rehearsal schedule existed for Summer 2017? Their answer (that they asked one individual, whose memory turned out be faulty) is barely credible: the question was asked during summer 2017 (so it wasn't in the past), the individuals they are likely to have asked (presumably involved in the management of the WYO) are unlikely to have forgotten, and the WYO has had termly rehearsal schedules for a very long time, its website refers to them. So why would an individual mistakenly think that, suddenly, no schedule existed?

- although the College has apologised for this "memory lapse/over reliance on one person, and the delay and inconvenience this caused", that affected only the separate IFoA request I made to obtain the summer 2017 WYO rehearsal schedule. The College have not apologised for the very long delay in their reply (almost a year) in my request for an internal review.