Voluntary Donations

Trevor Drive made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Forefield Junior School, Crosby

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Forefield Junior School, Crosby.

Dear Forefield Junior School,

I would like to request the following information;

Does the School keep the reply slips sent in and signed by Parents as an accurate record of monies received for "voluntary contributions"?

What the Schools Policy is on voluntary contributions being requested for curricular activities that take place in school time?

Exactly how much money was received for the school year 2008-2009 from voluntary contributions alone?

How and where is this money stored: ie is it kept in a specific account,separate from the School's main budget?

How many letters were sent to Parents asking for voluntary contributions for the school year 2008-2009?

How much interest was accrued by the school on these payments for the school year 2008-2009?

Has the School ever requested voluntary contributions from Parents for curricular activities for which the school already has a delegated budget?

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Drive

Dear Forefield Junior School,

I am writing to remind you that the date for the FOI request sent in by myself on 10th February is due in today. I await your immediate response.

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Drive

Dear Forefield Junior School,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Forefield Junior School's handling of my FOI request 'Voluntary Donations'.

Despite a reminder being sent on March 10th 2010,the school has declined to either respond or give reasons for the delay in complying with my request.

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

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Drive

Forefield Junior School,

12th March 2010

Dear Trevor Drive,

FOI request re Voluntary Donations

Dear Trevor Drive,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request with regard to
Voluntary Donations at Forefield Junior School.

We have considered your request and believe that you are using a
pseudonym, technically, you must use your real name for your
request to be a valid Freedom of Information Request.

The Information Commissioner’s Office state that:

 Section 8 (1) of the FOIA sets out the requirements of a valid
request for information and states that a request must, amongst
other things, “state the name of the applicant and an address for
correspondence”.

 A public authority is entitled to treat as invalid a request
where the real name of the applicant (whether an individual or a
corporate body) has not been used.

 Requests involving known pseudonyms cannot be subject of a valid
complaint to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of the
FOIA.

Therefore, we are of the view that it was the intention of the
legislation that an applicant should provide there real name so
that the request can be processed in accordance with the
requirements of the FOIA.

The definition of “applicant” in section 84 of the FOIA add weight
to this as the phrase in section 8 (1)(b) should be read as “the
name of the person making the request”. This also suggests that the
use of false or fictitious name is not acceptable. Therefore, where
a public authority receives a request from a person using an
obvious pseudonym, there is no obligation to comply with the
request; nor would it fall within the jurisdiction of the
Information Commissioner.

Yours Anna James Deputy Headteacher

Dear Forefield Junior School,
Please note the extract from an information leaflet from the
Information Commisioner's Office. In particular the reference to
use of pseudonyms in FOI requests.

As the ICO state,"We recognise that it may be difficult for a
public authority to be certain that a pseudonym has been used by an
applicant. A relatively low-key approach is recommended and public
authorities should not seek proof of the applicant’s identity as a
matter of course.Even when an obvious pseudonym has been used, as
good practice a public authority should still consider the request
even though technically it can be regarded as invalid."

Email address
An email address also satisfies the requirement of section 8(1)(b)
that the applicant should provide an address for correspondence.
Support for this is found in the FOIA as follows:
• a request for information can be made by email

Below is the full information sheet provided by the ICO. Therefore
again I wish to reconfirm the original request. The request is
therefore now overdue.

Freedom of Information Act
Valid request – name and address for correspondence
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives a right of public
access to information held by public authorities. This is part of a
series of guidance notes produced to help public authorities
understand their obligations and to promote good practice.
Section 8(1) of the FOIA sets out the requirements of a valid
request for information and says that a request must, amongst other
things, “state the name of the applicant and an address for
correspondence”. This guidance provides advice on how these two
terms should be interpreted.
In providing this guidance we are seeking to encourage public
authorities to adopt a common sense approach to establishing the
validity of a request which maintains the spirit of the FOIA that
disclosure is to the world at large. However, the Information
Commissioner is bound by his legal duties under the FOIA which
means that pseudonymous requests are outside the scope of his
jurisdiction.
Overview
• A public authority is entitled to treat as invalid a request
where the real name of the applicant (whether an individual or a
corporate body) has not been used.
• Requests involving known pseudonyms cannot be the subject of a
valid complaint to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of
the FOIA.
• Where a public authority knows that a pseudonym has been used, as
a matter of good practice it should still consider the request, for
example where identity is not relevant and it is content to
disclose the information requested, even though technically the
request is invalid.
• Either an email or postal address is acceptable as an address for
correspondence.

The name of the applicant
The use of the phrase “the name of the applicant” in section
8(1)(b) indicates that the real name of the applicant should be
used when requesting information and not any other name, for
example, a pseudonym.
Although one of the underlying principles of the FOIA is that the
identity of the applicant is not taken into account, it can be
relevant in certain circumstances. For example, when:
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• a request is being made by the applicant for his/her own personal
data and so would be exempt under section 40(1) of the FOIA (and
would comprise a subject access request under the Data Protection
Act 1998);
• a public authority has good reason to believe a requester is
using a pseudonym to shield his/her identity in order to avoid the
possibility of the request being considered as vexatious or
repeated; or
• determining whether to aggregate costs for two or more requests
in accordance with the Fees Regulations.

Therefore, we are of the view that it was the intention of the
legislation that an applicant should provide their real name so
that the request can be processed in accordance with the
requirements of the FOIA.
The definition of “applicant” in section 84 of the FOIA adds weight
to this as the phrase in section 8(1)(b) should be read as “ the
name of the person making the request”. This also suggests that the
use of a false or fictitious name is not acceptable. Therefore,
where a public authority receives a request from a person using an
obvious pseudonym, there is no obligation to comply with the
request; nor would it fall within the jurisdiction of the
Information Commissioner. If a public authority chooses not to
comply with the request it should, in keeping with its duty under
section 16, advise the applicant that the FOIA requires their real
name to be provided.
We recognise that it may be difficult for a public authority to be
certain that a pseudonym has been used by an applicant. A
relatively low-key approach is recommended and public authorities
should not seek proof of the applicant’s identity as a matter of
course. In accordance with the spirit and purpose of the FOIA, the
default position of a public authority should be to accept the name
provided by the applicant unless there is good reason to enquire
further about the applicant’s name, as indicated above.
Even when an obvious pseudonym has been used, as good practice a
public authority should still consider the request even though
technically it can be regarded as invalid. This approach could be
adopted in cases where identity is not relevant to the request and,
in view of the general principle within the FOIA of disclosure to
the world at large, where the authority is content to disclose the
information.
What constitutes a real name?
We consider that a relatively informal approach is also appropriate
in this context. Therefore, title and/or first name with surname
satisfies the requirement for provision of a real name, as does the
use by a female applicant of her maiden name. The prime
consideration is whether enough of a person’s full name has been
provided to give a reasonable indication of that person’s identity.
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Example:
Mr Arthur Thomas Roberts could satisfy section 8(1)(b) of the FOIA
by stating his name in a request for information as “Arthur
Roberts”, “A. T. Roberts”, or “Mr Roberts”, but not by stating his
name as “Arthur” or “A.T.R.”
In the case of a company, it is not necessary to provide the full
registered name. It will be acceptable to provide another name
which exists as a real entity, such as a trading name. Similarly, a
sole trader could provide his or her real name or trading name.
In most cases, it will be reasonable for a real name to comprise a
name by which the person making the request is widely known and/or
is regularly used by that person and which is not an obvious
pseudonym or fictitious name.
An address for correspondence
The requirement is for an address to be supplied such that it
enables correspondence to reach the applicant.
Postal address
A postal address will meet this requirement. This does not have to
be the applicant’s own address, and it is acceptable for the
applicant to provide a “care of” or PO Box address.
Email address
An email address also satisfies the requirement of section 8(1)(b)
that the applicant should provide an address for correspondence.
Support for this is found in the FOIA as follows:
• a request for information can be made by email.
• the access regime is a relatively informal one – for example the
applicant does not have to state formally that the request is being
made under the FOIA.

Addresses for service of notices
There is no special provision in the FOIA as to what constitutes
service of a notice, but the Commissioner considers that a decision
notice can be served on an email address that was provided as the
address for correspondence in the original complaint.
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More information
This guidance will be reviewed and considered from time to time in
line with new decisions of the Information Commissioner, Tribunal
and courts on freedom of information cases. It is a guide to our
general recommended approach to this area, although individual
cases will always be decided on the basis of their particular
circumstances.
If you need any more information about this or any other aspect of
freedom of information, please contact us.
Phone: 08456 30 60 60
01625 54 57 45
Email: please use the online enquiry form on our website
Website: www.ico.gov.uk
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Yours sincerely,

Trevor Drive