Isabelle Trowler's diary

Polly Burns made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 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.

Yn disgwyl am adolygiad mewnol gan Department for Education o'u triniaeth o'r cais hwn.

Dear Department for Education,

Please send me copies of Isabelle Trowler's diary since she started in post as a Chief Social Worker.

If you feel that this request exceeds the statutory time limit, please send as much information as possible, working backwards from today.

Yours faithfully,

Polly Burns

Department for Education

 

 

Dear Ms Burns

 

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 2015-0043771.

 

Thank you

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Department for Education

Dear Ms Burns,

I am writing in response to your request for information, which was received on 30 September 2015.

Your request said:

Please send me copies of Isabelle Trowler's diary since she started in post as a Chief Social Worker.

If you feel that this request exceeds the statutory time limit, please send as much information as possible, working backwards from today.

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

The Department holds this information but considers that it is exempt under section 36(2)(b)(i),(ii) and s36(2)(c) and s40(2) of the Act.

Section 36(2)(b)(i),(ii) and (c)

The Act says at section 36(2)(b)(i),(ii) and (c) that certain information is exempt from disclosure if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under the Act would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice, the free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation or otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

In relation to your request, a Minister has decided that, in his reasonable opinion, disclosure of this information is likely to have this prejudicial effect

Section 36(2) is a qualified exemption, so we have conducted a public interest test which considered the following factors.

Factors in favour of disclosure:

* There is a public interest in openness.
* There is a public interest in understanding the meetings that senior officials attend.

Factors in favour of maintaining the exemption:

* Officials must be able to organise their time effectively.
* Officials must be able to hold meetings without creating speculation about the subject matter of those meetings.
* It is important that officials are free to arrange meetings without fear of provoking speculation on why they are holding the meetings and having to spend time rebutting inferences which may be drawn from the meetings.
* The diary covers the past two years, so the information is very recent.

· Confidentiality is necessary for ministers and officials to develop strategies for government policies and a safe space safe space is needed in order to ensure the effect conduct of public affairs.

· Disclosure would be likely to inhibit the free flow of ideas between officials, and with ministers, and the free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation by making officials more cautious about which meetings they attended if they thought this information would find its way into the public domain. This would lead to poorer decision making and management of the department.

For the reasons given above the Department has decided that the balance of the public interest falls in favour of withholding this information at this time.

Section 40(2)

We have also applied section 40(2) (personal data), this is because the information in question includes 3rd party personal data. 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. Disclosure of this information would contravene a number of the data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998, and would be regarded as ‘unfair’. By that, we mean the likely expectations of the data subject that his or her information would not be disclosed to others 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.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number below 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 sincerely,

 Siobhan Latham 

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

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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 'Isabelle Trowler's diary'.

1)I am extremely surprised at the decision not to disclose Ms Trowler's diary. You will be aware that the First Tier Tribunal has upheld access to Minister's diaries on previous occasions, and indeed much of the controversy here resolved around party political meetings (and publication of details of attending them), which would not apply to Ms Trowler, at least not in the same way. You simply quite regulation rather than cite any specific reasons specific to Ms Trowler as to why her diary should not be disclosed.

2) Can you please advise me which Minister has been consulted on this matter and provide a copy of the advice/instruction given my Ministers in relation to this specific request. I am content for this to be supplied as part of a review, or for this section to be treated as a new FOI request - if the latter please treat this paragraph as a new FOI request for that information.

I am sure you would not wish to waste public funds on a lengthy appeals process which will ultimately ensure that the diary is published, and it would be sensible simply to provide it now.

You can of course redact sections if you give a clear justification for each and every redacted section.

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

Yours faithfully,

Polly Burns

Department for Education

Dear Ms Burns

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 2015-0048801.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Department for Education

Dear Polly Burns, 

I refer to your request for an internal review which was received on 27 October 2015. Your request read:

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Isabelle Trowler's diary'.

The Department has now completed its internal review process of your original request (our ref 2015-0043771) and has carried out a thorough review of the case, chaired by a senior officer who was not involved with the original request. The Department has decided to uphold the original decision not to disclose the information concerned, for the same reasons set out in the letter of 26 October 2015.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you have the right to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Further information about the Information Commissioner’s complaints procedure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

Yours sincerely,

Siobhan Latham 

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Department for Education

Dear Polly Burns,

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 27 October 2015. Your request read:

Can you please advise me which Minister has been consulted on this matter and provide a copy of the advice/instruction given my Ministers in relation to this specific request.
I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

I would like to apologies for the delay in responding. The Department takes very seriously its obligations under the Act, including the requirement to respond within the statutory deadline of 20 working days. I am afraid that we have not been able to maintain this standard in this instance and I apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

I can confirm the Minister consulted was Sam Gyimah.

However the remainder of the information requested is being withheld because the following exemptions apply to this information:

Section 36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

Under section 36(2), the Department is not required to provide information, if in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a Minister in the case of Government Departments) disclosure of the information under the Act would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

In relation to your request, a Minister has decided that, in his reasonable opinion, disclosure of some of the information that you have requested is likely to have this prejudicial effect and therefore the exemption in Section 36 applies.

The information in question is being withheld under section 36(2)(b)(i) – free and frank advice and 36(2)(c) – would be likely otherwise to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore a public interest test has been carried out. In doing so the following factors have been taken into consideration:

· There is a general public interest in disclosure. There is public interest in openness and in understanding the advice that senior officials provide to Ministers. There is also a public interest in understanding the policy development process.

· Conversely, it is in the public interest that the formulation of government policy and government decision making can proceed in the self-contained space needed to ensure that it is done well.

· Officials must feel able to provide their independent, honest advice and views to Ministers. There may be a deterrent effect on those providing advice if they think it may be disclosed. Officials and Ministers must feel able to make decisions on freedom of information requests openly and freely. Disclosure could therefore make officials more cautious about the advice that they send to Ministers if they thought this information would find its way into the public domain. They might adopt a cautious approach on contentious subjects, which could lead to poorer decision making and management of the department.

· The impartiality of the civil service needs to be protected - it could be undermined if advice was routinely made public as there is a risk that officials could come under political or public pressure not to challenge ideas in the formulation of policy and this leading to poorer decision making.

The arguments for and against release have been considered and it has been decided that the public interest in non-disclosure outweighs the public interest in disclosure in this case.

Section 40(2) – Personal information

We have also applied section 40(2). This is because the information in question includes third party personal data.

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. Disclosure of this information would contravene a number of the data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998, and would be regarded as ‘unfair’. By that, we mean the likely expectations of the data subject that his or her information would not be disclosed to others 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.

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<http://www.ipo.gov.uk/>.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number 2015-0043456 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 sincerely,

Siobhan Latham 

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

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