EdTech: DfE EdTech leadership group meeting transparency

Jen Persson made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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 Department for Education,

With reference to the edTech leadership group (as per the link below) please provide the following information, in accordance with the FOI act 2000:


For the time period between June 1, 2019 and February 4, 2020:

1. Meeting minutes
2. To include meeting dates and Attendees list
3. Presentation materials shared

Thank you for your consideration.


Jen Persson

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Atodiad

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Ms Persson 

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 2020-0003622.

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

Web: [1]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [2]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [3]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk


Visible links
1. https://www.education.gov.uk/
2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

16 Atodiad

Dear Jen,
I refer to your request for information, which was received on
You requested, with reference to the EdTech Leadership Group, for the time
period between June 1, 2019 and February 4, 2020:
1. Meeting minutes (including meeting dates and attendees)
2. Shared presentation materials.
I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).
Please find attached with this cover letter the requested documents. There
are however a small number of redactions within some of the documents.The
Department holds the information you requested, but redactions are being
withheld because the following three exemptions applies to this
1. Section 22 of the FOI Act – Information intended for future
2. Section 40(2) – Personal data
3. Section 35(1)(a) – Formulation of government policy
Otherwise, all other information and documents requested have been
included in the attachments. 
The following information explains where content has been redacted and
(1) Information on the companies that have been selected for evaluations
in the EdTech Testbed Programme has been redacted. This information is
being withheld because the Section 22 of the Act applies to this
information. Section 22 applies to information which is due to be
published in the future. In this case, the information requested is due to
be published in Spring 2020. 
Section 22 is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the public
interest test. 
In favour of release, the Department recognises the general public
interest in openness and transparency and the fact that this in turn
increases public trust and understanding of Government workings and
policies. However, in the circumstances of this case there are reasonable
grounds to expect the orderly publication of the selected companies who
will be participating in the EdTech Testbed Programme. Early disclosure of
this information could potentially create disruption to the overall
programme timeline, as companies have not yet been officially notified of
their successful application. 
(2) Some personal data of the names of personnel during discussions have
been redacted.  Personal data is that which relates to a living individual
who can be identified from that data, or from that data and other
information, which is likely to be in, or to come into, the possession of
the requestor. 
Regarding the redaction of names during discussions, disclosure of this
information would contravene data protection principles in the General
Data Protection Regulations/Data Protection Act 2018 and would be regarded
as ‘unfair’. By that, we mean the likely expectations of the data subject
that his or her points of discussion would not be disclosed to others
without their express permission and the effect which disclosure would
have on the data subject. Section 40(2) is an absolute exemption and is
not subject to the public interest test. 
We have redacted some personal data and have included their official
capacity instead, rather than identifying the individual themselves. These
have only been redacted when the DfE or one of the Department’s delivery
partners presented during the meetings and has been clearly marked in the
relevant documents.
(3) Small amounts of information have been redacted which relates to the
development of government policy. 
The information redacted when applying S35(1)(a), allows for the
withholding of information if it relates to the formulation or development
of government policy. The Act requires that the Department balances the
public interest in withholding the information against the public interest
in disclosing the information.
Good government depends on good decision making and this needs to be based
on the best advice available and a full consideration of the options. 
Without protecting the thinking space and the ability for Ministers and
government officials to receive free and frank advice from the Leadership
Group, there is likely to be a negative effect on the conduct of good
government, with a risk that decision making will become poorer. 
It is the Department's view that the public interest in non-disclosure
outweighs the public interest in disclosure in this case. The disclosure
of the withheld information which the group were discussing would be
likely to have a negative effect on the development of a potential future
policy and lead to less fully informed decision making. It is in the
public interest that the formulation of potential government policy and
government decision making can proceed in the self-contained space needed
to ensure that it is done well.  
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 faithfully,
Ehsan Uddin
Policy Adviser | EdTech Team | Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings | Great Smith Street | London | SW1P 3BT
Tel: 020 7340 8026| Ext: 308026
Email: [email address] | Web: www.gov.uk/dfe