Alastair Scott-McKinley

Dear Department for Education,

I am writing to make a request for all the following information which I am entitled to under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

1) Please provide details of the most recent review of the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance
a) when did this review take place?
b) what aspects of the allowance did the review cover?
c) Was this review an uprating (adjustment for inflation etc) or a rebasing (recalculation using original methodology)?
2) Please outline how frequently an ‘uprating’ review of the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance occurs and when this is next is due.
3) Please outline how frequently a ‘rebasing’ review of the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance occurs and when this is next is due.
4) Please provide a copy of the original ‘rebasing’ methodology used to calculate the foster care allowances as outlined in the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance.
5) When did the last ‘rebasing’ of the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance occur?
6) Please provide dates (month/year) when each 'rebasing' review has taken place in the last 10 years.
7) When did the last update of the methodology used to ‘rebase’ the foster care allowances outlined in the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance occur?
7) Please can you advise when the last request was made by the Department of Education for a review of the tax arrangements for foster carers?
8) Please can you advise when the last review of tax arrangements for foster carers was conducted and the outcome of this review?

I would like the above information to be provided to me as an electronic copy.

If the request is too broad or unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand under the Act you are required to advise and assist requesters. If any of the information is already in the public domain, please send it to me directly with page references or URLs when necessary.

If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in Section 12, please provide advice and assistance under the section 16 obligations of the Act, as to how I can refine the request.

I understand that you are required to respond to my request within 20 working days after receiving this request. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing you have received this request.

I love forward to hearing from you soon,

Yours faithfully,

Alastair Scott-McKinley

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Atodiad

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education.

 

Exam Results

 

If your enquiry is about 2021 exam results, we will endeavour to get a
response to you as soon as possible.

 

If your enquiry is related to exam appeals or priority appeals, we
recommend that students should discuss the appeals process with their
school or college in the first instance. JCQ have also published a student
guide to appeals which can be found here:
[1]https://www.jcq.org.uk/wp-content/upload....
If a student wishes to appeal a VTQ result they should refer to the
guidance on their specific Awarding Organisation’s website.

 

Students can also contact the National Careers Service helpline for advice
and support regarding their results, including for advice on appeals, on
0800 100 900. 

 

 

Other enquiries

 

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. If you are
contacting us about coronavirus (COVID-19) you can find advice and
guidance on [2]GOV.UK. This includes [3]guidance for educational settings
in England. You can also contact our coronavirus helpline on 0800 046
8687. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to
4pm.

For emails and other written enquiries you will usually receive a reply
within 15 working days. You can find out how the department processes your
personal information by reading our [4]Privacy Notice.

 

 

 

References

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear  Alastair Scott-Mckinley 

Thank you for your recent enquiry which was received on 24/03/2022.

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 2022-0011674 

 

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

 

 

 

References

Visible links
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2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Alastair Scott-Mckinley 

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on
24/03/2022 12:01 . You requested  

 

 1) Please provide details of the most recent review of the Foster Care
Minimum Weekly Allowance

a) when did this review take place?

b) what aspects of the allowance  did the review cover?

c) Was this review an uprating (adjustment for inflation etc) or a
rebasing (recalculation using original methodology)?

2) Please outline how frequently an ‘uprating’ review of the Foster Care
Minimum Weekly Allowance occurs and when this is next is due.

3) Please outline how frequently a ‘rebasing’ review of the Foster Care
Minimum Weekly Allowance occurs and when this is next is due.

4) Please provide a copy of the original ‘rebasing’ methodology used to
calculate the foster care allowances as outlined in the Foster Care
Minimum Weekly Allowance.

5) When did the last ‘rebasing’ of the Foster Care Minimum Weekly
Allowance occur?

6) Please provide dates (month/year) when each 'rebasing' review has taken
place in the last 10 years.

7) When did the last update of the methodology used to ‘rebase’ the foster
care allowances outlined in the Foster Care Minimum Weekly Allowance
occur?

7) Please can you advise when the last request was made by the Department
of Education for a review of the tax arrangements for foster carers?

8) Please can you advise when the last review of tax arrangements for
foster carers was conducted and the outcome of this review?

 

 

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).

 

The latest review of the National Minimum Allowance took place in 2022.
This was the annual review and covered the uprating of the National
Minimum Allowance. This uprating review takes place annually. Revised
rates covering the tax year starting 6^th April 2023 will be published in
early 2023.

The baseline methodology used to calculate the National Minimum Allowance
was developed by calculating the cost of caring for a birth child, based
on the [1]Small Fortunes survey (1995) and accounting for the additional
cost of caring for a foster child, based on The Adequacy of Foster Care
Allowances (Oldfield, 1997).

Conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the University of
Loughborough, the Small Fortunes survey sampled 1,239 children, weighted
to be representative of all children in Britain, and aimed to directly
measure average regular expenditure on ‘children’s items’.
The Small Fortunes survey did not measure the cost of wear and tear on a
household as a result of caring for a child. Therefore, the calculation
for an English allowance included an estimate for this cost carried out by
Nina Oldfield (1997). Oldfield held a number of in-depth interviews with
foster carers, enabling them to describe the circumstances in which they
experienced extra items of expenditure in comparison to birth children.
This research showed that foster children incurred costs that were normal
to all children, but there were also costs which were specific to their
circumstances.

We are aware that the amount foster carers are paid can be a controversial
issue as many believe they should be paid more. This is currently
compounded due to the rise in the cost of living.

We do not have scheduled time frames for reviewing the baseline
methodology. This methodology is relevant to England only. The last
rebasing was the introduction of the current methodology in 2006. You can
read more about the 2006 review [2]here.

The tax arrangements for foster carers were introduced in 2003. In the
2018 review of fostering, Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers reported that
‘current payments to carers were not insubstantial, when taken alongside
the relevant tax and benefit arrangements’.  We are not aware of a DfE
request to HM Revenue and Customs for a review of the tax arrangements for
foster carers.
 

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright.
You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study
and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be
also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news
reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would
require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be
protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be
re-used under the Open Government Licence
(http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information
please see The National Archives website
-http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor....

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information
about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual
Property Office’s website at www.ipo.gov.uk.

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.

Kind Regards

Yasmin NALLY 

Web: [3]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [4]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [5]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

 

References

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3. https://www.education.gov.uk/
4. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
5. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Alastair Scott-McKinley

Dear Yasmin Nally

Thank you for your response it was most helpful.
In your reply you stated "The latest review of the National Minimum Allowance took place in 2022. This was the annual review and covered the uprating of the National Minimum Allowance. This uprating review takes place annually."
Please can you provide details of the methodology used for uprating.
Please can you provide a copy of the calculations for the 2022/23 uprating.
Yours sincerely,

Alastair Scott-McKinley

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Alastair Scott-Mckinley 

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on
07/05/2022 08:37 . You requested  

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on
07/05/2022 . You requested In your reply you stated "The latest review of
the National Minimum Allowance took place in 2022. This was the annual
review and covered the uprating of the National Minimum Allowance. This
uprating review takes place annually." Please can you provide details of
the methodology used for uprating. Please can you provide a copy of the
calculations for the 2022/23 uprating. .  I am dealing with your request
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

The Department holds the information you have requested.  However, I
consider that the following exemption(s) apply to your request:

S35(1)(a)(formulation of government policy) as disclosure may
harm/prejudice  and have a negative consequence to the ongoing or future
government policy development

The Act obliges the Department to respond to requests promptly, and in any
case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request.  However,
where one of the exemptions listed above is applicable, the Department
must consider whether the public interest lies in disclosing or
withholding the information.  In these circumstances the Act allows the
time for response to be longer than 20 working days.

In your case the Department estimates that it will take an additional 20
days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. 
It is anticipated that you will receive a full response by 06/07/2022.  If
it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we
will keep you informed.

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, which 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 sincerely,

 

 Yasmin Nally

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

 

 

References

Visible links
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2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear  Mr Alastair Scott-Mckinley 

As you will recall, on 07/05/2022 you requested under the FOI Act:
 
Please can you provide details of the methodology used for uprating.
Please can you provide a copy of the calculations for the 2022/23
uprating.
 
 On  07/06/2022 I confirmed that we do hold information falling within the
terms of your request . I explained that when a qualified exemption
requiring a public interest test applies to the information, the Act
allows the time for response to be longer than 20 working days, and a full
response must be provided within such time as is reasonable in all
circumstances of the case.   I indicated that we hoped to provide you with
a response by 06/07/2022 , and that if it appeared that it would take
longer to reach a conclusion we would let you know. I am afraid that a
further delay will indeed be necessary and I am therefore emailing to let
you know and to explain the reasons for this.
 
Given the the complexity involved in respect of which exemptions are, or
appear likely to be, engaged we estimate that it will take an
additional 10 working days to reach a decision on where the balance of the
public interest lies, and to provide you with a full reply.  I apologise
for the fact that this is later than originally planned, but we hope now
to let you have the response by  20/07/2022.  I do hope that you will
understand that this delay is simply due to the fact that the Department
is trying to fulfil your request in a conscientious and thorough manner.
If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we
will keep you informed, and if it is possible to provide you with a
substantive response sooner we shall of course do so. 
 
The Department takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information
Act very seriously, and always seeks to respond to enquiries openly and
fully in the spirit of the Act.  But if you are unhappy with the service
you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint
or request a review of our decision, you should write to me
quoting reference no 2022-0017330.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint or the review,
you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. 
Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our
complaints/review procedure.
 
Yours Sincerely
 
 

Yasmin Nally

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

 

 

References

Visible links
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2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Alastair Scott-Mckinley 

 

I am writing in response to your request for information dated 7 May
2022 to advise you that the information you requested is being withheld
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  The exemption which applies to
this information is s35(1)(a) which allows for the withholding of
information if it relates to the formulation or development of government
policy.
 
You requested details of the methodology and calculations used for the
2022-23 uprating of the National Minimum Allowance for foster carers
(NMA).
 
In applying section 35(1)(a), the Act requires that the
Department balances the public interest in withholding the information
against the public interest in disclosing the information.  We concluded
that the public interest in maintaining the exemption and not disclosing
the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure in this
instance.  I have set out below the particular factors which the
Department considered when deciding where the public interest lay.
 
Whilst the Government is committed to transparency and releasing policy
making and data methodologies where possible; 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.  The DfE’s calculations
for the NMA are fed into Ministers’ broader consideration of the total
funding required for local government, and are considered in conjunction
with all local authorities’ service needs calculations.  Without
protecting the thinking space and the ability for Ministers and senior
officials to receive free and frank advice there is likely to be a
corrosive effect on the conduct of good government, with a risk that
decision making will become poorer and will be recorded inadequately.
 
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to me within two calendar months of the date of this
letter.

If you are not content with the outcome your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
Generally, however, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you
have already exhausted the Department's complaints procedure.

 

 

Yasmin Nally

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

 

 

References

Visible links
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2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Alastair Scott-McKinley

Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Foster Care Allowance Methodology'.

In your reply you stated "The latest review of the National Minimum Allowance took place in 2022. This was the annual review and covered the uprating of the National Minimum Allowance. This uprating review takes place annually."
I asked please can you provide details of the methodology used for uprating.
I also asked please can you provide a copy of the calculations for the 2022/23 uprating.

It is reasonable and in the public interest for foster carers (76,640 foster carers) and looked after children (80,850) to understand how uprating of the national minimum allowance is calculated.

The settled policy position "The department is clear that no one should be ‘out of pocket’ because of their fostering role and expect all foster parents to receive at least the national minimum allowance (NMA) plus any agreed expenses to cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with them (standard 28) (Minister Quince Date 7th March 2022). It is reasonable for foster carers to understand how this is achieved by the Department via their uprating methodology and calculation. This is especially important at a time when minimum allowances increases have been significantly below inflation.

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,

Alastair Scott-McKinley

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Atodiad

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education.

 

Exam Results

 

If your enquiry is about 2021 exam results, we will endeavour to get a
response to you as soon as possible.

 

If your enquiry is related to exam appeals or priority appeals, we
recommend that students should discuss the appeals process with their
school or college in the first instance. JCQ have also published a student
guide to appeals which can be found here:
[1]https://www.jcq.org.uk/wp-content/upload....
If a student wishes to appeal a VTQ result they should refer to the
guidance on their specific Awarding Organisation’s website.

 

Students can also contact the National Careers Service helpline for advice
and support regarding their results, including for advice on appeals, on
0800 100 900. 

 

 

Other enquiries

 

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. If you are
contacting us about coronavirus (COVID-19) you can find advice and
guidance on [2]GOV.UK. This includes [3]guidance for educational settings
in England. You can also contact our coronavirus helpline on 0800 046
8687. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to
4pm.

For emails and other written enquiries you will usually receive a reply
within 15 working days. You can find out how the department processes your
personal information by reading our [4]Privacy Notice.

 

 

 

References

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https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear  Alastair Scott-Mckinley 

Thank you for your recent enquiry which was received on 22 July.

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 2022-0028940.

 

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

 

 

 

References

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Mr Scott-McKinley
I am writing in response to your request for an Internal Review into the
FOI request 2022 0017330.
We are conducting this Internal Review and will have a response for you by
the 26^th August.
Please accept my apologies for the unavoidable delay in providing a full
response.

Yours Sincerely
 
Yasmin Nally
 

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

 
 

References

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2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Scott-McKinley,

I refer to your request for an internal review of the Department for
Education's handling of your FOI request 'Foster Care Allowance
Methodology', which was received on 22 July 2022. 

The department has now completed its internal review process, carrying out
a thorough review of the case and chaired by a senior official who was not
involved in the original request. The department will disclose the
information concerned.

As detailed in our response on 21 July 2022:

The DfE’s calculations for the NMA are fed into Ministers’ broader
consideration of the total funding required for local government and are
considered in conjunction with all local authorities’ service needs
calculations.

The method used to calculate the NMA rate element is a combined inflation
index projection which is weighted 70.5% wage inflation and 29.5% consumer
price inflation. This equated to a 2.34% rise in the NMA for 2022/23. A
copy of the calculations for the National Minimum Allowance (NMA) for
foster carers 2022-23 are attached.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright.
You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study
and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be
also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news
reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would
require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be
protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be
re-used under the Open Government Licence
([1]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information
please see The National Archives website
-[2]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
.

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information
about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual
Property Office’s website at [3]www.ipo.gov.uk.

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 not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours Faithfully

 Yasmin Nally 

Web: [4]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [5]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [6]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

 

References

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