requests for access to National Pupil Database extracts

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Department for Education,

Relating to the National Pupil Database: http://www.education.gov.uk/researchands...

1) For each request for acess to the NPD (via the application pack) since May 12th 2010, can you please provide, in electronic form, as submitted on the application form, whether a request was successful, the date, organisation type, project aims, intended audience, intended outputs, requesting organisation, dataset requested, information tier requested for the projects; along with the Job titles, and reasons for access for data users. Where a project has also requested access to sensitive items, please also include the answer to the question: "what will you be using the sensitive data item(s) for?".

2) How many others given access did not go through the application pack form (ie, are not included in the above data) ?

3) In how many cases was the wrong file sent to an applicant?

The above fields were taken from the 2012 edition of the application pack (available at http://www.education.gov.uk/researchands... ). If an equivalent question was asked in the previous version of the form, consider that as the information requested for those time periods.

In light of the short time available for consultation responses on use of the NPD, it would be appreciated if this request was dealt with quickly. If there are likely causes of delay in the above, please let me know and the request may be narrowed appropriately in order to meet these time scales.

Yours faithfully,

Sam from PI

Department for Education

Dear Sam

Thank you for your recent email. 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 the reference number
2012/0074172.

Thank you

Department for Education
Public Communications Unit
Tel: 0370 000 2288

Web: www.education.gov.uk

Twitter: www.twitter.com/educationgovuk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Department for Education

Dear Sam, 
Thank you for your email dated 8th November 2012 about National Pupil
Database.
I a, writing to confirm that I have responded to your request and it will
be with you shortly.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2012/0074172. If
you need to respond to us, please visit [1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus,
and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Sinclair
Data and Statistics Division
[email address]
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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References

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2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Department for Education

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    Case Reference 20120074172 Attachment.zipx

    13.0M Download

Dear Sam

 

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 8^th
November 2012. You requested information relating to requests for access
to extracts of data from the National Pupil Database (NPD) received since
12^th May 2010. I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

 

Your request for information was divided into three parts:

 

1) For each request for access to the NPD (via the application pack) since
May 12^th 2010, can you please provide, in electronic form, as submitted
on the application form, whether a request was successful, the date,
organisation type, project aims, intended audience, intended outputs,
requesting organisation, dataset requested, information tier requested for
the projects; along with the job titles, and reasons for access for data
users. Where a project has also requested access to sensitive items,
please also include the answer to the question “what will you be using the
sensitive items(s) for?”

 

The data held in the National Pupil Database forms a significant part of
the education evidence base. The data collected is used in a variety of
ways by the Department for Education, other government departments, local
authorities, agencies and researchers. The data can all be linked together
in many different ways to study the effect of different factors on
performance.  For example:

 

·         The data and statistical analyses are used to inform, influence
and improve education policy and to monitor the performance of the
education service as a whole. The Department also uses the data to provide
accurate targeting of funding for local authorities and schools, including
the Pupil Premium and Revenue Support Grant.

 

·         It is the source for a wide range of analysis and statistics
published in Statistical First Releases (SFRs) on the Department's
website. For example, each year the Department publishes information about
National Curriculum assessments and GCSE attainment by key pupil
characteristics, such as ethnic group, special educational needs status
and eligibility for free school meals.

 

·         It supports schools' operational decisions by enabling schools
and inspectors to interrogate test and examination results in order to
identify strengths and weaknesses and help them focus on those areas that
need most improvement, including lesson planning and support for
individual pupils.

 

·         The Secretary of State has specific powers to share pupil data
from the NPD with named bodies and third parties who require access to the
data to undertake research into the educational achievements of pupils
under strict terms and conditions. The data supports a wide range of
research and has provided invaluable evidence on educational performance
to inform independent research, as well as studies commissioned by the
Department.

 

We have estimated the time required to collate this information would
exceed the cost threshold applicable to central Government (i.e.” the
appropriate limit” under S.12 of the Act). This is £600 and represents the
estimated cost of one person spending 3.5 working days in locating,
retrieving, extracting and collating the information.

 

Under section 12 of the Act, the Department is not obliged to comply with
your request as it exceeds the appropriate limit. However, you have
indicated that you are willing to accept a narrowed period to meet the
time scale.

 

We are able to provide information for requests completed between 1st
April and 29^th November 2012 without exceeding the cost threshold and
this is enclosed.

 

The information provided includes 63 fully approved, partially approved
and rejected requests for access to data from the National Pupil Database
received from named bodies and persons undertaking research, including
those working on behalf of the Department, since April 1^st 2012.  It does
not include:

 

·         requests received before this date;

·         requests from external organisations with whom the Department
has Service Level Agreements;

·         subject access requests, or

·         requests for access that are currently subject to the
Department’s approvals process

Information relating to which information tier has been requested by
applicants

The Department launched new arrangements for requesting access to data
from the National Pupil Database on the 30^th July 2012.  The details of
which are available on the Department’s website
[1]http://www.education.gov.uk/researchands....

The information you’ve requested about which tier of information has been
requested by applicants has been provided for all requests received under
these new arrangements.  Prior to this date the Department operated a
different system.

Reasons for access to data users

The information you have requested about the reasons for data users being
given access to data from the NPD is provided below.

The law allows us to share pupil data from the National Pupil Database
with certain third parties including schools, local authorities, other
government departments and agencies under the Education (Individual Pupil
Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009.

These regulations also allow the Department to disclose individual pupil
information, subject to the Data Protection Act 1998, to named bodies and
third parties who require access to the data to undertake research into
the educational achievements of pupils.  This access is subject to
requesters complying with terms and conditions and a rigorous approval
process.

Any person requesting access to the data must demonstrate that they will
comply with all relevant requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and
demonstrate that they:

o have appropriate security arrangements in place to process the data;
o intend to use the data only for the specified purpose;
o will keep the data only for the specified length of time; and
o will not further disclose the data.

All recipients of the data sign up to an agreement to confirm this. 
Decisions on whether data can be released are based on a detailed
assessment of who is requesting the data, the purpose for which it is
required, the level and sensitivity of data requested and the arrangements
in place to store and handle the data. 

Anyone requesting access to the most sensitive data is also required to
submit a business case.  Under our new arrangements potential recipients
of the most sensitive data also have to provide additional information
about their security arrangements and these requests are escalated to
senior officials for consideration.  The Department also has the right to
audit compliance with security requirements and terms and conditions. Any
failure to comply with the terms and conditions would be considered a
serious matter and a breach of contract with the Department of Education.
Organisations could also be subject to prosecution under the Data
Protection Act 1998, or the Information Commissioner could impose
penalties of up to £500 000.

Requests for access to data from the NPD are considered on a case by case
basis and can be either approved in full, partially approved or rejected. 
Requests are partially approved or rejected when:

o the applicant has requested access to data which is not necessary for
their research;
o their data needs can be met by supplying a reduced set of data;
o the purpose for which the data is being requested is not compatible
with our regulations, or
o the applicant has been unable to demonstrate that they have the
appropriate security arrangements in place to store and process the
data. 

 

2) How many others given access did not go through the application pack
form (i.e. are not included in the above data)?

 

The Department provides access to data from the National Pupil Database to
external organisations including OfSTED, the FE Data Service and the
Learning Records Service under the terms set out in Service Level
Agreements.  These agreements are reviewed on an annual basis and set out
the information we have agreed to supply the recipient over the course of
the year.  Any information provided under these agreements does not
require a completed application pack.  Since April 1^st we have completed
2 requests from external organisations with whom we have a service level
agreement.

 

All other requests for access to the data must provide a completed
application pack before their request will be considered.

 

3) In how many cases was the wrong file sent to an applicant?

To our knowledge there have been no instances where the Department has
sent the wrong files to a 3^rd party requesting access to information form
the NPD.

 

Some of the information in the documents enclosed is being withheld
because the following exemption(s) apply to this information:

 

Section 40 of the Act

 

Some of the information requested includes details of individuals who are
not in the public domain including junior officials in the Department and
individual researchers. The personal data of the individuals concerned is
exempt if its disclosure would contravene the data protection principles
in the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

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 sincerely,

 

Paul Sinclair

Department for Education

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/researchands...

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