Followon request from 19519 EIR - COWLEY LTN consultation responses by protected characteristics

Richard Parnham made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Oxfordshire County Council

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Oxfordshire County Council Nid oedd gan y wybodaeth y gofynnwyd amdani.

Dear Oxfordshire County Council,

In FOI reference 19519 EIR, I was recently refused access to the raw data regarding the Cowley LTN consultations, broken down by protected characteristics. This was on the basis that revealing such data might allow for the identification of specific individuals.

I therefore wish to reframe my enquiry to avoid this accidental disclosure. Please therefore treat this as a new request relating to the same data, but asking for it to be disclosed in a different way.

Please provide me with any evaluation conducted by OCC of the most recent Cowley LTN consultation, which attempts to evaluate respondents by reference to their protected characteristics. I am most interested in the breakdown of responses by reference to respondents' disability (especially mobility), race / religion and gender. I believe all of this protected characteristic data was collected was collected as part of the consultation process.

Oddly, this information was not included in the meeting pack for "Delegated Decisions by Cabinet Member for Highway Management - Thursday, 24 February 2022". In the accompanying Equality and Climate Impact Assessment, there was only reference made to the pre-LTN installation consultation responses demographics in relation to race - not the most recent Cowley LTN consultation, which is what I am interested in this request. Any evaluation of the most recent Cowley LTN consultation, by reference to the protected charactertistics of respondents, is therefore not currently in the public domain.

Please note: my new request in relation the latest Cowley LTN consultation response data is also separate to the (limited) analysis of consultee demographics / protected characteristics undertaken in a separate study, the "Perception Survey", where an evaluation was undertaken by reference to age and gender, and ethnicity.

If no evaluation of the latest Cowley LTN consultation response by reference to protected characteristics has so far been undertaken, please confirm this also.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Parnham

FOI - E&E, Oxfordshire County Council

Our reference: 19690 EIR

                                                            

Dear Mr Parnham,

 

Thank you for your correspondence received on 29 March 2022 in which you
requested the following information:

 

Please provide me with any evaluation conducted by OCC of the most recent
Cowley LTN consultation, which attempts to evaluate respondents by
reference to their protected characteristics.  I am most interested in the
breakdown of responses by reference to respondents' disability (especially
mobility), race / religion and gender. I believe all of this protected
characteristic data was collected was collected as part of the
consultation process.

 

Oddly, this information was not included in the meeting pack for
"Delegated Decisions by Cabinet Member for Highway Management - Thursday,
24 February 2022". In the accompanying Equality and Climate Impact
Assessment, there was only reference made to the pre-LTN installation
consultation responses demographics in relation to race - not the most
recent Cowley LTN consultation, which is what I am interested in this
request. Any evaluation of the most recent Cowley LTN consultation, by
reference to the protected charactertistics of respondents, is therefore
not currently in the public domain.

 

Please note: my new request in relation the latest Cowley LTN consultation
response data is also separate to the (limited) analysis of consultee
demographics / protected characteristics undertaken in a separate study,
the "Perception Survey", where an evaluation was undertaken by reference
to age and gender, and ethnicity.

 

If no evaluation of the latest Cowley LTN consultation response by
reference to protected characteristics has so far been undertaken, please
confirm this also.

 

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested as soon as possible and in any event within the next 20 working
days in compliance with the Environmental Information Regulations
2004/Freedom of Information Act 2000, unless an exception applies. This
means that the Council will respond to you by the end of 28 April 2022 at
the latest.

 

If appropriate, the information requested can be made available in
alternative formats, including other languages, Braille, large print, and
audiocassette. If you require any of these formats then please let us
know.

 

Please contact us if you have any have further enquiries about your
request. We would be grateful if you could quote the reference number
given at the top of this email.

 

Your sincerely

 

Freedom of Information Support Officer

Law and Governance

Oxfordshire County Council

Email: [1]E&[email address]

 

 

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FOI - E&E, Oxfordshire County Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Parnham,

 

Please find attached our response to your Environmental Information
Request. 

 

Kind Regards

Renata Malinowski

 

Freedom of Information Support Officer

Joint Commissioning and E&E

Oxfordshire County Council

Email:  [1][email address] and
[2]FOI-E&[email address]

 

 

 

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Dear Oxfordshire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Oxfordshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Followon request from 19519 EIR - COWLEY LTN consultation responses by protected characteristics'. The specific FOI I am appealing now has reference number 19690 EIR: this FOI being appealed now (19690 EIR) is, as the name suggests, a follow-on request to an earlier FOI request, 19519 EIR. However, I am not appealing 19519 EIR in this specific appeal.

In OCC's response to the FOI being appealed here (19690 EIR), the reply received from OCC was that "Oxfordshire County Council does not hold this information. We can confirm that the information on protected characteristics was not collected as part of the Cowley ETRO consultation."

I do not believe this to be true, for two reasons.

Firstly, I had previously asked for the raw version of the post-implemantion Cowley LTN consultation response data in FOI 19519 EIR, requesting the data broken down by protected characteristics. In the council's response to this request, OCC said "the Council holds this information however, in this instance, it has given your request consideration and has concluded that an exception applies which means the Council will be withholding this information. "

The council can't have it both ways: if it holds the raw data, but refuses to release it under 19519, it can't legitimately now claim (in this FOI, now under appeal - 19690 EIR) that it DOESN'T hold the data.

Moreover, the council's own report in relation to the LTNs (located in Delegated Decisions by Cabinet Member for Highway Management Thursday, 24 February 2022 at 10.00 am Council Chamber - County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND), includes a copy of the consultation survey that form the basis of my enquiry, on pages 421 - 424 (pages 417 - 420 as marked on page). Questions included in this consultation questionnaire / survey explicitly enquire about respondents' protected characteristics. These are questions 10 (age); 11 (sex); 12 and 13 (pregnancy and maternity); 13 (race); religion (14); disability (15); sexual orientation (16); marriage and civil partnership (18); gender reassignment (20).

In light of the above, I cannot conceive how OCC could possibly respond to this FOI by stating that "Oxfordshire County Council does not hold this information. We can confirm that the information on protected characteristics was not collected as part of the Cowley ETRO consultation." This data clearly was collected - unless OCC (unreasonably in my view), regards "about you" questions as not being "questions", or "protected characteristics" questions as not being part of the substantive consultation, or the post implementation "consultation" somehow being differrent to a "survey": these survey / questionairre questions clearly were part of the consultation, and should be treated as if they were. If there is another legitimate explanation for OCCs’ seemingly incorrect “was not collected” response, I want to hear it.

Having established that OCC holds this data, the actual substance of this FOI appeal (and my initial request) was not actually for the raw data itself: rather I asked for "any evaluation conducted by OCC of the most recent Cowley LTN consultation, which attempts to evaluate respondents by reference to their protected characteristics". OCC is known to have undertaken such an evaluations in relation to the pre-LTN installation consultation - indeed, (past) findings are included in the Equality and Climate Impact Assessment of 24 February 2022 for this specific scheme. The Council's Active Travel Lead, Patrick Lingwood, had also given talks on pre-installation consultation responses, specifically broken down by protected characteristics. This was revealed in another FOI request I made, reference 19224 EIR.

Are you (really) saying that OCC did not undertake ANY evaluation of consultation responses by reference to protected characteristics, in relation to the post LTN-installation consultation? If OCC did do such an evaluation of Cowley LTN responses by reference to protected characteristics , however informal, or unpolished, or not intended for public consumption, I request to see it: this is the substance of this specific FOI appeal. Please check carefully, including specifically with Patrick Lingwood and your legal / equalities team, about the existence of any evaluation undertaken, irrespective of whether this evaluation was authorised or formally requested.

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

Yours faithfully,

Richard Parnham

FOI - E&E, Oxfordshire County Council

1 Atodiad

Our reference: 19519 EIR IR

 

Dear Mr Parnham,

 

In accordance with the council's Freedom of Information policy, I will
arrange for an internal review of your request to be undertaken.

 

The review will be undertaken by a manager not involved in the original
handling of your request. In line with guidance from the Information
Commissioner’s Office, we will aim to provide a full response within 20
working days beginning the day your complaint was received. This means you
will receive a response by 12 May 2022.

 

Kind regards,

Renata Malinowski

 

Freedom of Information Support Officer

Email: [1]E&[email address] and
[2][email address]

 

 

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D67C47.D9E2A5C0

 

 

Save money and paper - do you really need to print this email.

 

 

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If you have received it in error, please notify the sender by reply and
delete it immediately. Views expressed by the sender may not be those of
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FOI - E&E, Oxfordshire County Council

1 Atodiad

Our reference: 19690 EIR IR

Dear Mr Parnham

Thank you for your email dated 12 April 2022. As you have indicated that you are not satisfied with the response made by the County Council, the issue has been referred to me to conduct an internal review.

My investigation

I have completed the internal review and have looked at the whole request afresh. I have also looked at how the original response was handled, and my findings are as follows:

As part of the evaluation of the Cowley Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, the Council undertook two types of survey.

The first was a “Perception Survey” which was to better understand peoples’ perception of LTNs and use of the area 'before' and 'after' implementation of the trial.

The second was the statutory consultation process for the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which was to identify the level of support or otherwise for the LTN.

As part of “Perception Survey” we did request information relating to protected characteristics. However, as part of the ETRO consultation we did not do so.

Unfortunately, some confusion arose when responding to these two FOIs.

In the first instance the response related specifically to data available as part of the “Perception Survey” and in the second instance the response related to analysis on protected characteristics done as part of the ETRO consultation.

In your most recent request, you state that you asked for "any evaluation conducted by OCC of the most recent Cowley LTN consultation, which attempts to evaluate respondents by reference to their protected characteristics".

The report that you reference - which supported the Delegated Decision by Cabinet Member for Highway Management, 24 February 2022 - does include some analysis of those protected characteristics (on pages 35 to 37) in relation to seeing how representative the “Perception Survey” responses are of the LTN catchment area population.

This was available as part of the CMD report submission in February. The latest copy of this is attached. No additional analysis has been undertaken at this time.

The Information Commissioner

I trust that this information now satisfies your request. However, if you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: https://ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely

John McLauchlan
Head of IPO
Growth and Economy
Oxfordshire County Council
Email: [email address]
www.oxfordshire.gov.uk

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