Staff survey results

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Blackburn College,

The Board Of Governors has recently undertaken a staff survey in March/April 2017. Please provide the headline summary of this survey. The response from the College should include the questions asked in the survey with the corresponding % satisfaction for each question, together with the number of respondents to each question and the total number of the workforce expected to participate in the survey.

If you require additional clarity for this request please advise by return of receipt of this request, in order that the College are able to meet its statutory deadline in providing the information requested.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Thomas

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

1 Atodiad

Message sent on behalf of Jennifer Eastham, Vice Principal – Finance and
Corporate Services

Dear Scott Thomas,

Thank you for your email below dated 8 May 2017.

Your request comes under the Freedom of Information Act and, as such, we
will review your request and reply to you within 20 working days, by
Tuesday 6 June as per the requirements of the FoI Act.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Alcroft

PA to Jennifer Eastham - Vice Principal - Finance and Corporate Services

PA to Nicola Clayton - Director of Business Development and External
Engagement

Blackburn College

Feilden Street

Blackburn

Lancashire

BB2 1LH

 

Tel:    01254 292906

Email: [1][email address]

 

Begin forwarded message:

From: The Hub <[2][Blackburn College request email]>
Date: 8 May 2017 at 12:03:16 BST
To: Jennifer Eastham <[3][email address]>
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request - Staff survey results

FYI

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

2 Atodiad

Message sent on behalf of Jennifer Eastham, Vice Principal – Finance and
Corporate Services

 

Dear Scott Thomas,

 

Thank you for your email of 8 May 2017 in which you asked for the
following information:

 

“The Board of Governors has recently undertaken a staff survey in
March/April 2017.   Please provide the headline summary of this survey.
The response from the College should include the questions asked in the
survey with the corresponding % satisfaction for each question, together
with the number of respondents to each question and the total number of
the workforce expected to participate in the survey.”

 

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA).

 

I can confirm that Blackburn College holds the information that you have
asked for, but it is exempt from disclosure because it is intended for
future publication.

 

We are not obliged to provide information that is intended for future
publication (section 22 of the Act). In line with the terms of this
exemption in the Freedom of Information Act, we have considered whether it
would be in the public interest for us to provide you with the information
ahead of publication, despite the exemption being applicable. In this
case, I have concluded that the public interest favours withholding the
information.

 

You can find out more about Section 22 by reading the full text of the
Act, available at:
[1]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000....

 

When assessing whether or not it was in the public interest to disclose
the information to you, we took into account the following factors:

 

Public interest considerations favouring disclosure

·         There is a general public interest in the immediate disclosure
of information to ensure transparency and accountability at the College.

 

Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information

·         It is in the public interest to ensure that the publication of
the finer details of the survey is a properly planned and managed process,
to ensure that the data is accurate once it is in the public domain.
Publication of the data ahead of the intended schedule would reduce the
amount of time that the Organisational Development Team have to collect,
check and process all of the data and benchmark against other institutions
for the relevant period. There is a high risk of providing incorrect and
misleading information if the time is not allowed to ensure the relevant
quality assurance process to take place.

 

We reached the view that, on balance, the public interest is better served
by withholding this information under Section 22 of the Act at this time.

 

The staff survey was conducted using an external organisation for
benchmarking purposes of which the full cycle runs until 31 July 2017 for
other institutions to complete. Whilst the draft results for Blackburn
College have been provided to Management this month, we are unable to
benchmark against the sector or provide any context until the final
results from all other colleges are released which we expect will be
around September 2017. The final report will be shared with staff in the
autumn term. We are however able to advise you that 40% of staff had
completed the survey.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Alison Alcroft

PA to Jennifer Eastham - Vice Principal  - Finance and Corporate Services

PA to Nicola Clayton - Director of Business Development and External
Engagement

Blackburn College

Feilden Street

Blackburn

Lancashire

BB2 1LH

 

Tel:    01254 292906

Email: [2][email address]

 

 

 

From: Alison Alcroft
Sent: 09 May 2017 10:19
To: '[FOI #405317 email]'
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request - Staff survey results

 

Message sent on behalf of Jennifer Eastham, Vice Principal – Finance and
Corporate Services

Dear Scott Thomas,

Thank you for your email below dated 8 May 2017.

Your request comes under the Freedom of Information Act and, as such, we
will review your request and reply to you within 20 working days, by
Tuesday 6 June as per the requirements of the FoI Act.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Alcroft

PA to Jennifer Eastham - Vice Principal - Finance and Corporate Services

PA to Nicola Clayton - Director of Business Development and External
Engagement

Blackburn College

Feilden Street

Blackburn

Lancashire

BB2 1LH

 

Tel:    01254 292906

Email: [3][email address]

 

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D2CE49.8EAC59C0

Begin forwarded message:

From: The Hub <[5][Blackburn College request email]>
Date: 8 May 2017 at 12:03:16 BST
To: Jennifer Eastham <[6][email address]>
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request - Staff survey results

FYI

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Alison Alcroft,

Thank you for the response to the Freedom of Information request. In order to decide if the response is acceptable and within the guidance for section 22 of the Act, please advise of the following by return:-

The date which the College received the raw results from the third party organisation.

The date which the survey was first issued and the deadline for completion by staff members.

The date, and evidence to show that the decision to publish the results publically was taken prior to receiving the raw results.

Any other information or guidance the College wish to supply regarding the refusal of this request.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Thomas

Dear Alison Alcroft,

I reference the additional request, dated 24th May 2017 to clarify details relating to the original request dated 8th May 2017.

Please advise of the reason for the delay with responding to the additional request. Please also supply the additional information requested by return. A similar request on the same date received a response within 24 hours.

I await the organisation response.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Thomas

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

1 Atodiad

Message sent on behalf of Jennifer Eastham, Vice Principal – Finance and
Corporate Services

 

Dear Scott Thomas,

 

Thank you for your additional request dated 24 May 2017 requesting further
clarification relating to your original request lodged on 8 May 2017.

 

Please note the response to each question below:

 

“The date which the College received the raw results from the third party
organisation.” Raw College data without context was received on 8 May
2017.

“The date which the survey was first issued and the deadline for
completion by staff members.” The survey was first issued to staff on 23
March 2017 and ran until 31 March 2017.

“The date, and evidence to show that the decision to publish the results
publically was taken prior to receiving the raw results.” The decision was
made at the Executive Team Planning Meeting held on 2 March 2017.

“Any other information or guidance the College wish to supply regarding
the refusal of this request.” No other information.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Alison Alcroft

PA to Jennifer Eastham - Vice Principal  - Finance and Corporate Services

PA to Nicola Clayton - Director of Business Development and External
Engagement

Blackburn College

Feilden Street

Blackburn

Lancashire

BB2 1LH

 

Tel:    01254 292906

Email: [1][email address]

 

[2]cid:image003.jpg@01D2D301.43AB8D30

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Blackburn College,

After receiving information from the Information Commissioners office relating to this request, I request an internal review of the decision and believe the organisation are in breach of the FOI Act for the following reasons:

The organisation has used section 22 of the Act, when pressed for the evidence that the decision to publish to the general public at a later date was requested, the organisation deliberately waited until the final day of the timeline to respond to the request. The organisation has not provided the evidence of the date the decision was taken, despite requesting this in my follow up.

A similar follow up for clarification (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...) was responded to within 24 hours by the organisation. The follow up for this request has taken 13 days for the briefest of responses.

Despite refusing the request on the grounds that section 22 applies, I feel that the public interest argument is weak and a standard response which breaches the requirement of the public interest clause in the Act. It's unclear from the organisation response that they intend to make the information available to the general public, if they don't intend to make it available to the general public then the exemption under section 22 does not apply. The request for the information does not require any work on behalf of the organisation as it has been compiled by a third party organisation, the accuracy will have been checked before being issued to the organisation. It is my believe that Blackburn College are intentionally attempting to mislead the public. The information received from the third party organisation has already been shared to some internal members of the organisation. It should therefore, in the public interest, be made available under this FOI request.

The organisation despite being prompted in my request for “Any other information or guidance the College wish to supply regarding the refusal of this request.” The college response being "No other information" have breached the requirement to offer both an internal review (a breach of section 17(7)(a) and the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner ( a further breach of section 17(7)(b)

The lack of communication, the use of section 22 as the reason to decline request and timeframe to respond to the additional questions all leads me to believe the College are intentionally withholding the information from public access.

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Thomas

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

Dear Scott Thomas,

Thank you for your email.

I am writing to confirm receipt and advise that an internal review is being carried out. We will contact you again to inform you of the decision following the review.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Alcroft
PA to Jennifer Eastham - Vice Principal - Finance and Corporate Services
PA to Nicola Clayton - Director of Business Development and External Engagement
Blackburn College
Feilden Street
Blackburn
Lancashire
BB2 1LH

Tel: 01254 292906
Email: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

1 Atodiad

Message sent on behalf of Sharon Germaine-Cox, Director of HR and OD

 

Dear Mr Thomas,

 

I refer to your email of 8 May 2017 where you requested information
relating to the staff survey and the response of the College of 18 May
2017. Further to your request for an internal review of this decision
dated 1 July 2017, I have conducted a review of the response provided to
you and can offer the following.

 

Your request stated the following:

 

“The Board of Governors has recently undertaken a staff survey in March /
April. Please provide the headline summary of this survey. The response
from the College should include the questions asked in the survey with the
corresponding % satisfaction for each question, together with the number
of respondents to each question and the total number of the workforce
expected to participate in the survey.”

 

I can confirm that from a point of accuracy, the Board of Governors did
not undertake or commission a staff survey in March / April. The College
can confirm that it was the College’s Executive Team who commissioned a
staff survey in line with its current HR and OD Strategy, which was
delayed due to an OFSTED inspection. If the College had interpreted your
request in relation to a Board of Governors staff survey literally it
would be factually accurate to state that the College did not hold the
information you requested.

 

However, the College, having interpreted your request more broadly,
responded stating that the information requested is held, although it is
exempt from disclosure as it is intended for future publication (section
22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)). The College explained
its assessment that the public interest was better served by withholding
this information.

 

Further to your comments on the College’s decision and request for an
internal review of the response you received, a review has now been
conducted by way of reassessment of your request.

 

The result of that reassessment is that some of the information that you
requested can now be provided, while more than one applicable provision of
the Freedom Of Information Act has been identified justifying the
College’s assessment that it is better in the public interest to publish
other information as planned and not put it into the public domain at this
time.

 

The College considers it appropriate to apply section 22 of the FOIA now
as previously. The results of the survey are intended for future
publication in a manner consistent with the data subject rights of those
participating in the survey and should not be published in raw data form
now.

 

As to the public interest assessment, whilst the College recognises that
there is a benefit to making publicly available information relating to
the staff survey, the College is also required to consider matters that
may favour withholding the information until publication. It remains the
view of the College that disclosing the raw data of the survey as
requested, without applying benchmarking, would be misleading and so would
not give an accurate impression of the data or the conclusions that might
be properly drawn from them. This, in the College’s view, outweighs the
public interest in disclosing this information and instead favours
withholding the information at this time pending benchmarking and
publication. The survey is designed to be benchmarked to pace the results
in a meaningful context and the College selected this survey because of
that feature.

 

The College has also considered that publication of the raw data is likely
to prejudice the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation (section 36 (2) (b) (i) FOIA) and is likely to prejudice the
effective conduct of public affairs (section 36 (2) (c) FOIA). Therefore,
in addition to section 22, it is the view of the College that the
information requested is exempt from disclosure at this time due to
section 36 (2) (b) (i) and / or section 36 (2) (c) of FOIA. The College
does not consider these exemptions to apply without limit in time and have
already made clear that it is its intention to publish the results of the
survey. What the College requires at the present time is the opportunity
to assess and discuss internally the raw data and then the benchmarked
data before they are published.

 

As the information requested is statistical, an assessment by a qualified
person in relation to section 36 (2) (b) (i) and 36 (2) (c) of FOIA is not
required.

 

It is the view of the College that publication of the raw data at this
time is:-

 

1.            Likely To Prejudice the Free and Frank Exchange of Views for
the Purposes of Deliberation

 

Publication of the raw data prior to it being fully considered is likely
to prevent the Senior Management Team and ultimately Governors having a
safe space where the results of the survey can be received and discussed.
If the raw results and later benchmarked figures are in the public domain
prior to their consideration for the purposes of making improvements in
the College arrangements it is likely to prevent or hinder the free and
frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation. Publication of
the raw data or of the benchmarked data before the College can consider it
is likely to prevent the College from obtaining the benefits it sought
from conducting the survey in the first place, as well as impacting on
decisions that the College can make in response to those results.

 

The College has considered the public interest test. It recognises that
there is a public interest in publishing this information to enable public
scrutiny and publication will happen. However, it is the view of the
College that there is wider public interest in withholding the information
until the intended publication date to enable the College to take account
of the results through frank discussion and exchange of views as to next
steps and obtain value for money for this exercise.

 

2.            Likely to Prejudice the Effective Conduct of Public Affairs

 

With regard to publication being likely to prejudice the effective conduct
of public affairs, it is the College’s view that publication of the raw
data is likely to hinder the College’s ability to meet its wider
objectives as a further education institution. This is because staff to a
further education institution are an important asset and further education
institutions as public authorities undertake such surveys to determine
where they stand in relation to their staff whilst comparing the results
against benchmarks within the education sector with a view to improving
standards of education through recruitment, retention and development of
suitable teaching and other staff.

 

Publishing information relating to these exercises in the raw form prior
to benchmarking taking place or before benchmarking data can be assessed
and discussed prevents the College from benefitting from the exercise in
the way intended.

 

For the purpose of the public interest test, we recognise that there is a
public interest in the results in order to scrutinise the College’s
ability to meet its wider objectives. However, there is also a public
interest in enabling the College to carry out this process to the best
effect so that it can put strategies in place (if applicable) to meet its
wider objectives. Therefore, in this case the public interest in
withholding the information at this time outweighs the public interest in
publishing the information especially since the results of the survey will
be published at a later date thus enabling scrutiny.

 

Further Information

The College is in a position to confirm in response to your request that:-

 

•        The response rate for the survey was 41%

•        Having contacted the owner of the data in relation to the full
list of benchmarked questions used in the survey, the College has sought
and gained approval to release the list of questions from the third party
provider (please see enclosed).

 

That concludes the outcome of the review of your request. If you are not
content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to
raise this issue with the Information Commissioner’s Office, which I
understand you already have the contact details of.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sharon Germaine-Cox

Director of HR and OD

 

Attachments: Copy of Benchmarked Questions

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Blackburn College,

Thank you for the response to the request for an internal review. The organisation has an obligation under the Act to clarify any ambiguous request at the point at which the organisation receives the request, as this didn't happen then my request, despite your comments, was accepted in the first instance as an understandable and acceptable request that falls within the scope of the Act. To now suggest that the organisation did not have to deal with it because it was 'A point of accuracy' is something blackburn college may wish to address internally before misleading future requesters under the Act, There was, and to date has not still been a request for clarification to the original request. I therefore do not accept your comments as valid for that part of your internal review response. The College considered my request and provide a response, it's highly unprofessional and inconsistent for the College to now have an alternative view on the initial request, which is what the internal review is now suggesting

I am also concerned that despite the initial rejection of the request that you have chosen to release both the question set of the survey and the number and percentage of respondents, more than 50% of the request now fulfilled despite continuing to suggest that the request should not be satisfied.

To date, blackburn college has chosen not to address the request in providing evidence of when the original decision was made, despite requesting this on two separate occasions, including in the internal review.

It is also concerning, and inconsistent of the organisation to now quote additional reasons for rejecting the request. This I believe is contrary to the spirit of the Act and reinforces that blackburn college are intentionally withholding this information rather than willingly being transparent with the general public.

In your response, you suggest that this is part of an annual process, please advise where information can be found publically, of the results of previous years survey results.

I don't consider the response of the requested internal review as a satisfactory or justifiable response. In many ways, the response shows the abstract lack of consistency and ability of blackburn college to deal respectfully and effectively with requests under the Act.

As we are nearing September the college will, as per the original response, be releasing the full requested detail in the coming weeks. In the interim I look forward to your response on the points above.

If the college do not wish to respond to the points above then please advise on receipt of this communication.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Thomas

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Thomas

 

I refer to your email of 10^th of August 2017 following the internal
review in relation to your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA) relating to the staff survey.

 

You have raised a number of points in relation to how the College has
handled your request and the review.

 

The College is aware of its obligations to clarify ambiguous requests and
does so where this is appropriate. In your case, it was not necessary for
the College to do this as we were able to deal with the request as
required by FOIA.

 

In accordance with our obligations under FOIA, our internal review
consisted of a reconsideration of our decision and all relevant factors
before we arrived at a fresh decision. As you have been informed, the
decision of the College was that whilst some of the information you
requested could be provided (and was at that time), the College identified
more than one applicable provision of FOIA justifying the College’s
assessment that it is better in the public interest to publish the other
information requested in the timescale planned and not put into public
domain at this time.

 

The College as part of the review process was required to consider all
information at the date of review. The College considered it appropriate
to provide further information as to whom within the College commissioned
the survey. It was not necessary for the College to clarify this earlier,
as the College, upon receiving your request was able to determine which
staff survey you were referring to and dealt with the request in
accordance with its obligations under FOIA.  Similarly, the College
reviewed its decision as to the information it held in light of your
request at the date of review and considered that it was in a position to
provide additional information as to the response date. With regard to the
questions used for the survey, as you have been informed, the College
sought and gained the permission of the third party provider and
accordingly dealt with this aspect of your request.

 

At the same time, the College has also informed you that it considers it
may properly rely on more than one applicable provision of the FOIA
justifying that the public interest is better served by not disclosing all
the information requested outside the scope and timing of planned
publication. As the review process is a fresh consideration of your
request, the College is permitted to consider any other relevant
provisions of FOIA, which has been applied in this case. The Process of
full re-assessment (rather than a narrower and more legalistic appeal) is
more appropriate in these circumstances because it allows of reassessment
of the developing situation taking into account your further comments and
the passage of time. That makes the process more relevant than a static
assessment of a decision taken in the past.

 

The College has undertaken the staff survey in line with its HR and OD
Strategy. This is not part of an annual process, rather the College
commissions such surveys in line with internal processes and procedures.
With regard to publication of the results of the staff survey, you have
been notified that the College will be publishing information regarding
the staff survey in a manner consistent with the data subject rights of
those participating in the survey. This does not mean that raw data would
be published as this would be contrary to the data subject rights of data
subjects who have participated in the survey.

 

The College has dealt with each of your questions relating to the staff
survey since your initial request of 8 May 2017. I note that you have said
you are not satisfied with the internal review or our response and that we
have not provided evidence when the original decision was made. As
previously stated, the decision was made by the College Executive Team,
this was at an Executive Planning day on 2 March 2017 which was not
minuted.

 

It is our view that we have dealt with all requests from you as required.
As you have been informed, you have the right to raise this matter with
the Information Commissioner’s Office, as you have already done at an
earlier stage and again more recently. This concludes all issues raised in
your latest correspondence in relation to this request. As explained, the
College will be in a position to publish benchmarked and contextualised
results in a manner consistent with the individual data protection rights
of survey respondents, we are expecting to release findings to staff by
the end of September 2017. This will involve publication of information
covered by your request where and to the extent the College assesses that
publication to be appropriate.

 

The College has engaged with all of your requests in this process so far
and will proceed to publication as explained above. Please be aware that
in the event of repeated requests for the same information which we have
already responded to and/or provided information requested, the College
may assess such requests as vexatious.

 

Kind regards,

 

Jennifer Eastham

Vice Principal – Finance and Corporate Services

Blackburn College

Feilden Street

Blackburn

Lancashire

BB2 1LH

 

Tel:    01254 292906

Email: [1][email address]

 

[2]cid:image003.jpg@01D2D301.43AB8D30

 

 

Dear Alison Alcroft,

Thank you for clarification that Blackburn College will be publishing the requested information by the end of September 2017 (also confirmed by the Information Commissioners office in a response to them made by the College).

In the interests of transparency and public accountability, as is the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act, please advise where the information will be published for public consumption by the end of September 2017.

With regard to the comment made by the College in the most recent response "Please be aware that in the event of repeated requests for the same information which we have already responded to and/or provided information requested, the College may assess such requests as vexatious." The request, and subsequent follow ups, relate to the original information request and are simply being followed up and clarification sought. In no way is any correspondence repeating a request for the same information or indeed vexatious. I am certain that College wishes to be transparent and accountable for the public funds which it spends, on light of your latest response I look forward to receiving the information from the original request by 30th September 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Thomas

Alison Alcroft, Blackburn College

2 Atodiad

Dear Scott Thomas,

 

Further to your Freedom of Information request please find attached the
Staff Survey Results data.

 

This was shared with staff on Friday 29 September 2017.

 

Please also note a link to our website where this information is located:
[1]http://www.blackburn.ac.uk/allstaff/STAF...

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Alison Alcroft

PA to Jennifer Eastham - Vice Principal: Finance and Corporate Services

PA to Nicola Clayton - Director of Business Development and External
Engagement

Blackburn College

Feilden Street

Blackburn

Lancashire

BB2 1LH

 

Tel:    01254 292906

Email: [2][email address]

 

[3]cid:image003.jpg@01D2D301.43AB8D30

 

 

From: Caroline Wilson
Sent: 29 September 2017 15:55
To: Allstaff
Subject: Staff Survey

 

MESSAGE SENT ON BEHALF OF THE EXECUTIVE TEAM

 

Dear Colleague

 

Further to the all-staff email of 21 September 2017, please find attached
the summary of headline data following the Staff Survey which took place
in March 2017.

 

The Executive Team

The information in this email is confidential and legally privileged,
access to this email by anyone else is unauthorised. If you are not the
intended recipient of this email please inform the sender immediately and
delete the email from your system. Any views or opinions expressed in this
email may be personal and do not represent the opinions, views or policies
of Blackburn College, or its employees or students.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.blackburn.ac.uk/allstaff/STAF...
2. mailto:[email address]