A Request for Minutes of the Governing Body of Thomas Coram Centre

John Petters made this Freedom of Information request to Camden Borough Council

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

Camden Borough Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Camden Borough Council,

Freedom of Information Request
Below is the first page of the minutes of the Thomas Coram Centre Governing Body (49 Mecklenburg Sq, London)
which are correctly recorded according the Education Act 2002 section 20 (5), in that they comply with the name of the centre as appears on its Instrument of Government. This is a statutory requirement.

CAMDEN LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORITY
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE THOMAS CORAM
CENTRE GOVERNING BODY HELD ON MONDAY 8TH
NOVEMBER 2004, AT 5.00PM
Governors:
LEA [3] Sue Parry Davies*
Cllr Penny Abraham*
Cllr Nick Smith
STAFF [3] Bernadette Duffy [Head of Nursery]
Lucy Draper [Head of Coram Parents’ Centre]
Roberto Sanchez–Vidal
PARENT [5] Susan House
Maria Duah*
Terina Hine*
Katie Cooper
Lynn Addis
SPONSER [1] Dr Gillian Pugh [Chair]
COMMUNITY [4] Georgie Anderson [Vice-Chair]
Roupsana Chowdhury*
Lillian O’Callaghan
Liam Hall*
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS [5] Laura Gould
Ila Modi*
MelanieParaskeva*
Iram Siraj Blatchford
Kyra Haydon
CLERK Selwyn Harper
*Denotes governor not present at the meeting

However, despite there being no change in the Instrument of Government of the Thomas Coram Centre, here are the partial minutes of the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre from October 2010. Both of these documents were supplied by the Head Teacher, Bernadette Duffy, OBE in an earlier FOIR.

THOMAS CORAM EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTRE
MINUTES OF THE GOVERNING BODY MEETING
Held on Monday 11th October 2010, 4.00pm
Governors present:

LB Camden
Sue Parry Davies
Paul Church
Sarah Hayward
Parent:
Sona Datta
Dr Kate Franks
Tara Goldsmith *
Gerard McLean
Vacancy
Staff:
Bernadette Duffy
Lisa Rawlings
Gillian Lister
Community:
Milena Nuti
Polly Shields, CHAIR
Iram Siraj Blatchford
Vacancy
Sponsor
Dr Carol Homden
Associate Members:
Sarah Altmejd
Sylvia Gilbert
Sarah Kendrick *
Ila Modi *
Toby Mason
Julie Tucker *
Governor Support Officer:
Liz Elgar
* denotes not present

1. INTRODUCTION / WELCOME / APOLOGIES
1.1 Introductions / Welcome: The Governing Body welcomed new Associate Members Sylvia Gilbert and Sarah Altmejd.
1.2 Apologies: Sarah Hayward apologised for having to leave the meeting at 5.15pm.

1.3 Declaration by governors of interests, pecuniary or otherwise, in respect of items on the agenda: There were no such declarations.
2. ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR OF THE GOVERNING BODY
2.1 Election of Chair: The Governing Body re-elected Polly Shields as Chair.
2.2 Election of Vice Chair: The Governing Body elected Gerard Mclean and Paul Church as Joint Vice Chairs”.

Item 2 .1 above, shows the minute of the election of Polly Shields as chair of the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre. 2.2 records the election of Gerard Mclean and Paul Church as Joint Vice Chairs.
During the course of 2011, an appeal against a notification of concern and a grievance hearing against Bernadette Duffy OBE was heard by three Governors. This appeal was brought on behalf of a disabled employee of the London Borough of Camden. It was heard by three governors of the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre. (see minutes further below)

The reasons for the appeal and grievances goes back to early in 2011 when Ms X was subject to a formal absence review meeting following a meeting in December 2010 at which she was denied representation. This formal meeting was to be held under the Thomas Coram Absence Management Policy & Procedure.

However on 17th January 2011, Bernadette Duffy OBE wrote to Ms X’s husband who was managing her affairs as she was disabled and unable to cope with her employer. Ms Duffy said,
“So far I have been using the Schools Absence Management Procedure. However HR have advised me that I should be using the Council’s Absence Management Policy Procedure. As you can see from the attached, it is very similar to the schools procedure but there are a few differences. In future this is the procedure I will be using with redacted. I apologise for any earlier confusion”.

This was correct as the Council’s policy was for all employees of the Council and the school’s policy was only for employees of the school (centre). Ms X was employed under a contract with Camden Council.
Camden’s head of HR, Lisa Freshwater wrote to Mr X on 25th January,
“Whilst I recognise that this is a very difficult time for you and your family, the Council has a responsibility to manage redacted absence and support her return to work. I understand that Bernadette Duffy has agreed to postpone the formal absence review meeting”.
Clearly this was under the correct Camden policy.

However in April 11, Bernadette Duffy OBE held a Stage 1 Absence Review Meeting at which Ms X was denied representation which is her statutory right.

The then Camden CEO Moira Gibb CBE (but since this year’s honours list, DBE) was copied in the correspondence from the beginning. She did not assist and permitted her Council officers to mis-manage Ms X’s absences, when she had a duty as head of service, to ensure that correct procedures and polices were followed. A complaint was made to the leader of the Council, Cllr Nasim Ali OBE, who declined to get involved.

Grievances were taken out against Moira Gibb by Ms X but Andrew Maughan, the head of Camden Legal Services stated,
“There is no specific procedure for a grievance against the Chief Executive”

However, Mr Maughan was wrong as Camden’s policy states,

“"8.2 For grievances raised against the Chief Executive personally,
Employees should contact HR Direct for further information (a separate
process for dealing with these grievances will be provided)"

Mr Maughan replied, “With apologies for the delay please find attached the CE grievance
Procedure”.

However Ms Freshwater, head of Camden HR stated,

“Please note that there will be one appeal hearing dealing with all your correspondence relating to redacted absence and one grievance hearing dealing with all correspondence to do with Bernadette Duffy, however the governors may wish to hold one hearing and hear both issues as they are linked.

For the avoidance of doubt, redacted sickness absence is being managed in accordance with the Thomas Coram policy and procedure.

For the avoidance of doubt the outstanding matters are:

• Sickness absence appeal – to be heard by the school governors
• Formal grievance against Bernadette Duffy – to be heard by the school governors
• Complaint against the Moira Gibb, response from Andrew Maughan”.

Ms X was denied access to the Council’s grievance and appeals process to which she was entitled under her contract of employment and subject to a Governors meeting on June 9th 2011.
Here are the Council’s Official Minutes,

“MINUTES OF THE MEETING IN RELATION TO THE APPEAL AGAINST THE
NOTIFICATION OF CONCERN ISSUED UNDER THE THOMAS CORAM ABSENCE
MANAGEMENT POLICY TO redacted, AND GRIEVANCE AGAINST THE
HEADTEACHER, ISSUED BY redacted AND HELD AT THOMAS CORAM
EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTRE ON THURSDAY 9 JUNE 2011 AT 1.00PM
Present :

Polly Shields Community Governor, Chair of Governors, Chair of the
Hearing Committee
Kate Franks Parent Governor, Member of the Hearing Committee
Sue Parry Davies LA Governor, Member of the Hearing Committee
Bernadette Duffy Headteacher, Thomas Coram Centre
redacted Father-in-law of complainant redacted)
(representing redacted
redacted Husband of complainant redacted)
Sue Greening Camden HR (advising Hearing Committee) (SG)
Kevin Jones Camden GSS, Clerk to the Hearing Committee”

It will be seen that this meeting was held at the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre and that Polly Shields was Community Governor, Chair of Governors, Chair of the Hearing Committee.

Ms X however has nothing to do with any Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre, which does not exist. Therefore since it does not exist please provide,

1 Any documentation since the Minutes of October 2010 where Shields was elected as chair of the Thomas Coram Centre Governing Body.

2 All minutes of the Thomas Coram Centre Governing Body from November 2010 to date.

3 All minutes of the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre from November 2010 to the present date.

4 Any Document since 2003 which changes the name of the Thomas Coram Centre to the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre. If none exist, please state that is the case.

Yours faithfully,

John Petters

CSF Freedom of Information, Camden Borough Council

Dear Mr Petters

 

Thank you for your second request for information received by the local
authority on 9th February.

 

Your request will be processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and we will respond within the statutory timescales of 20 working days.

 

Regards

 

Children Schools and Families Freedom of Information

London Borough of Camden

Telephone:     020 7974 2850

Web:              camden.gov.uk 

Email:            [email address]

 

 

Dear CSF Freedom of Information,
You are now in breach of the law for the second time this week. Please provide this information by return.

Yours faithfully,

John Petters

CSF Freedom of Information, Camden Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Petters

 

As explained in our response to your e-mail of 5^th March, day one of the
timescale for response commences on the next working day following the
date of receipt as per Section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

The receipt date would therefore be the first working day upon which the
request was received and day 1 of the Freedom of Information Act timescale
commences on the next working day.

 

Your request submitted late evening of 8^th February was received by the
Local Authority on 9^th February and is due today; 8^th March 2012.

 

Please see our response attached.

 

Regards

 

Children Schools and Families Freedom of Information

London Borough of Camden

Telephone:     020 7974 2850

Web:              camden.gov.uk 

Email:            [email address]

 

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Mark Salter left an annotation ()

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offic...

Offers the technical description (and some legal guidance) on number of days and how it is calculated.

However the *key* point is that :-

"Legally, authorities must respond *promptly* to FOI requests."

Taking the full 20 days should be unusual, especially - might I suggest - when the data is not 'owned'/held.

--
Mark