AAC Devices

Joe made this Freedom of Information request to Suffolk County Council

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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Suffolk County Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Suffolk County Council,

I am an academic researcher, attempting to assess the provision of
 augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices in 
Education in the UK (devices used to aid communication, typically
 for people with difficulty speaking). Could you please send me 
a list of augmentative and alternative communication devices 
purchased by or within your authority between 31st March 2006 
and 1st April 2012? (So we are including both for children and adults, and both educational and social reasons)
We would like the information broken down by both product name (So 
for example Dynavox Xpress, iPod touch with TapToTalk, BigMack) and 
by year. Ideally you would include the price paid, but we can deduce that from the
 products if necessary.

 This is a follow up study - the first one consisted of several
 hundred freedom of information requests to NHS Trusts in England, Scotland, and Wales to find the 
provision of AAC. Our consolidated data is in the 
following format (This is comma separated, we can happily send
 excel documents and other examples):



Date Purchased, Supplier, Model, Number, Unit Cost, Total Cost

23/04/2007, Platon Medical Ltd, TRUTONE ELECTROLARYNX COMPLETE KIT,
1, £395.00 , £395.00

17/05/2007, Speechmark Publishin Ltd, FRENCHAY E-TRAN FRAME & A4
INSTRUCTION CARD IN WALLET, 1, £85.00 , £85.00

14/12/2007, Techcess Limited, TELLUS SMART (INC MIND EXPRESS
REALSPEAK & PCS SYMBOLS, 1, " £1, 795.00 ", " £1, 795.00 "

24/01/2008, Inclusive Technology Ltd, GO TALK 9+, 1, £99.00 ,
£99.00

14/02/2008, Kapitex Healthcare Ltd, SERVOX DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
AID, 1, £490.00 , £490.00

14/02/2008, Kapitex Healthcare Ltd, PRODUCTS UP TO 25, 6, £18.50 ,
£111.00

15/02/2008, Dynavox Systems Ltd, DYNAVOX V 512MB WITH CARRY CASE
WIFI USB BLUETOOTH, 1, " £5, 000.00 ", " £5, 000.00 "

15/04/2008, WINSLOW, SWALLOW REMINDER BROACH, 1, £57.95 , £57.95

25/07/2008, Kapitex Healthcare Ltd, SERVOX DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
AID, 1, £535.00 , £535.00

29/08/2008, SMARTBOX, THE GRID 2 SOFTWARE, 1, £360.00 , £360.00

29/08/2008, QUALITY ENABLING DEVICES, PING PONG SWITCH, 1, £195.00
, £195.00

29/08/2008, SMARTBOX, PRODUCTS BETWEEN 25 - 100, 1, £49.00 , £49.00


and this format would be ideal - although we are very happy to reformat 
anything that you send over and we can supply templates if you would like.

As a supplemental question, we are separately investigating if the LEA has, or had, a policy that requires children who use electronic devices to leave the devices at school overnight and/or over weekends and/or during school holidays and/or when the child leaves school.


Yours faithfully,


Dr Joseph Reddington

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

 
Dear Dr. Reddington
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
 
Thank you for your request received on 6 August 2012 requesting
information about AAC Devices.
 
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within 20 working days. 
 
While no charges are made for the submission of requests, the council is
entitled to apply reasonable costs for disbursements (i.e. photocopying,
postage etc).  Where such costs are under £5.00 the council is pleased to
make no charge, however, if costs exceed that limit then these additional
costs are payable to the council.  Where charges will apply proper notice
will be given to you prior to the information being released.  For more
information on charges please use the following link to our website:
[1]http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/contact-...
 
 
If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact us. 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
 
Tel:    01473 264620
Fax:    01473 216843
Email:  [2][email address]
Web:    [3]www.suffolk.gov.uk
 
 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/contact-...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. file:///tmp/www.suffolk.gov.uk

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

1 Attachment

 
Dear Dr. Reddington
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – REQUEST RESPONSE
 
Thank you for your request received on 6 August 2012 requesting
information about AAC Devices.
The information you requested is attached.  
Most information supplied by Suffolk County Council will have been
produced within the Council and will continue 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 reuse, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.
 
If the information you have been sent includes a copyright statement, you
must not alter or remove this statement.  For information about re-using
copyright see the Office of Public Sector Information website at
[1]www.opsi.gov.uk.  The copyright in some documents may rest with a third
party.  For information about obtaining permission from a third party see
the Intellectual Property Office’s website at [2]www.ipo.gov.uk.
 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be sent to: Head of Corporate Information and
Records Management, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1
2BX or, alternatively, by email for the attention of the Head of Corporate
Information and Records Management at
[3][email address].
 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
Tel: 01473 264620
Fax: 01473 216843
Email: [4][email address]
Web: [5]www.suffolk.gov.uk
 
 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.opsi.gov.uk
2. file:///tmp/www.ipo.gov.uk
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/

Hi - I'm a bit confused by parts of this... firstly the part where you suggested I contact the NHS - I did put some information in my request about the NHS "This is a follow up
study - the first one consisted of several
 hundred freedom of
information requests to NHS Trusts in England, Scotland, and Wales
to find the 
provision of AAC" - could you clarify what you mean?

Also - is the the NHS I should contact for the policy information in the request? I'm really lost at this end :(

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

Dear Dr. Reddington

We have suggested that you contact the NHS as our records are not held in a way allowing us to determine. We would have to read each and every personal budget or individual budget to see if we hold this information as it is not something we would record separately. We think the NHS might have this recorded separately and we have therefore directed you to them as we are required to under the FOI legalisation (section 16 - Duty to advise and assist). We are unsure what you mean by policy information as your request did not ask for this. However the NHS contact email we have given you is the one you should use for FOI requests.

Kind regards

Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
Tel: 01473 264620
Fax: 01473 216843
Email: [email address]
Web: www.suffolk.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Information Management Services,

Sorry, let me restate - the policy question was this bit - "As a supplemental question, we are separately investigating if the
LEA has, or had, a policy that requires children who use electronic
devices to leave the devices at school overnight and/or over
weekends and/or during school holidays and/or when the child leaves
school." - does this make sense to you?

...and regarding the personal budget or individual budget question - such purchases would be counted as individual purchases legally (although ultimately funded by the council) - I'm interested in the devices that the LEA or the council has purchased itself. Does that work for you?

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

 
Dear Dr. Reddington
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
 
Thank you for your request received on 12 September 2012 requesting
further  information from FOI 4904.   We have had to log this as a new
request as you are now seeking information not requested under FOI 4904.
 
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within 20 working days. 
 
While no charges are made for the submission of requests, the council is
entitled to apply reasonable costs for disbursements (i.e. photocopying,
postage etc).  Where such costs are under £5.00 the council is pleased to
make no charge, however, if costs exceed that limit then these additional
costs are payable to the council.  Where charges will apply proper notice
will be given to you prior to the information being released.  For more
information on charges please use the following link to our website:
[1]http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/contact-...
 
 
If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact us. 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
 
Tel:    01473 264620
Fax:    01473 216843
Email:  [2][email address]
Web:    [3]www.suffolk.gov.uk
 
 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/contact-...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. file:///tmp/www.suffolk.gov.uk

Dear Information Management Services,

Um, this is getting very strange very fast - what information have I asked for that is different? I copied and pasted from the original request...

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

Dear Dr Reddington

 

I must apologise for any confusion. I think I can see how this may have
happened albeit it has been a product of a misunderstanding here rather
than with your request. I will speak with colleagues in the Council to try
to ensure that the request is progressed at the earliest.

 

If you need to contact us again I would appreciate it if you would include
the reference 5017 in any communication as it will help staff here. In the
meantime, I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Doug Reed

Head of Corporate Information and Records

 

show quoted sections

Dear Information Management Services,

Just wanted to check how this is getting along?

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

 
Dear Dr. Reddington
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – REQUEST RESPONSE
 
Thank you for your request received on 12 September 2012
 
Request:
Follow on from FOI 4904:
the policy question was this bit - "As a supplemental question, we are
separately investigating if the LEA has, or had, a policy that requires
children who use electronic devices to leave the devices at school
overnight and/or over weekends and/or during school holidays and/or when
the child leaves school."
...and regarding the personal budget or individual budget question - such
purchases would be counted as individual purchases legally (although
ultimately funded by the council) - I'm interested in the devices that the
LEA or the council has purchased itself.
Response:
Where appropriate pupils can use the communication devices at home – the
families are encouraged to insure the equipment on the own household
policies.  This is particularly the case with devices that are easily
transportable. (ie. I-pads etc.)
 
There is no collaborative agreement with Adult Services to take over the
management of communication devices once a child leaves education – the
devices can be kept by the student if they are not suitable for
‘re-cycling’ but the cost of repairs and maintenance and/or replacements
would then need to be met by the family through individual direct
payments.
 
 
 
Most information supplied by Suffolk County Council will have been
produced within the Council and will continue 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 reuse, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.
 
If the information you have been sent includes a copyright statement, you
must not alter or remove this statement.  For information about re-using
copyright see the Office of Public Sector Information website at
[1]www.opsi.gov.uk.  The copyright in some documents may rest with a third
party.  For information about obtaining permission from a third party see
the Intellectual Property Office’s website at [2]www.ipo.gov.uk.
 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be sent to: Head of Corporate Information and
Records Management, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1
2BX or, alternatively, by email for the attention of the Head of Corporate
Information and Records Management at
[3][email address].
 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
Tel: 01473 264620
Fax: 01473 216843
Email: [4][email address]
Web: [5]www.suffolk.gov.uk
 
 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.opsi.gov.uk
2. file:///tmp/www.ipo.gov.uk
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/

Dear Information Management Services,

Fabulous! ..and the obviously follow on question - how are you getting on with the devices purchased by the council?

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

 
Dear Dr. Reddington
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
 
Thank you for your request received on 4 October 2012 requesting further
information from FOI 5017.
 
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within 20 working days. 
 
While no charges are made for the submission of requests, the council is
entitled to apply reasonable costs for disbursements (i.e. photocopying,
postage etc).  Where such costs are under £5.00 the council is pleased to
make no charge, however, if costs exceed that limit then these additional
costs are payable to the council.  Where charges will apply proper notice
will be given to you prior to the information being released.  For more
information on charges please use the following link to our website:
[1]http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/contact-...
 
 
If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact us. 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
 
Tel:    01473 264620
Fax:    01473 216843
Email:  [2][email address]
Web:    [3]www.suffolk.gov.uk
 
 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/contact-...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. file:///tmp/www.suffolk.gov.uk

Joe left an annotation ()

I rang today. The voicemail said to ring someone else because they were out of the office. I tried the alternative contact number. The alternative contact number was also a voicemail, suggesting I should ring the first number again.

I left a message.

Joe left an annotation ()

Adele rang today willl email accross calification of how many requests there are active and closed.

Information Management Services, Suffolk County Council

 
Dear Dr. Reddington
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – REQUEST RESPONSE
 
Thank you for your request received on 4 October 2012 requesting further
information from FOI 5017.
Request:
The obviously follow on question - how are you getting on with the devices
purchased by the council?
Response:
We purchase a variety of specialist equipment for both our Hearing
Impaired and Visually Impaired children – Radio Aids, I-Zooms, Zoom-Exs,
Braillers, Farviews and Embossers, etc, to name the majority.  We have
technicians who maintain and support the use of this equipment.  We have
been very satisfied with the suppliers of these resources.
 
 
Most information supplied by Suffolk County Council will have been
produced within the Council and will continue 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 reuse, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.
 
If the information you have been sent includes a copyright statement, you
must not alter or remove this statement.  For information about re-using
copyright see the Office of Public Sector Information website at
[1]www.opsi.gov.uk.  The copyright in some documents may rest with a third
party.  For information about obtaining permission from a third party see
the Intellectual Property Office’s website at [2]www.ipo.gov.uk.
 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be sent to: Head of Corporate Information and
Records Management, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1
2BX or, alternatively, by email for the attention of the Head of Corporate
Information and Records Management at
[3][email address].
 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Management Services
Corporate Information and Records Management
Information and Data Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX
Tel: 01473 264620
Fax: 01473 216843
Email: [4][email address]
Web: [5]www.suffolk.gov.uk
 
 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.opsi.gov.uk
2. file:///tmp/www.ipo.gov.uk
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/

Dear Information Management Services,

Um... I think there may be some confusion here - I wasn't asking if you were enjoying using the devices: I was asking how long it is going to be until you answer the orginal request. Would it be easier for you guys if I came in in person? We don't appear to be getting very far at all by email...

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Doug Reed, Suffolk County Council

3 Attachments

Dear Dr Reddington

 

I refer to your recent telephone call to this Council regarding your
requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (numbered 4904, 5017
and 5068), together with your e-mail of 31 October 2012. We take
compliance with the Act very seriously, and likewise the concerns of our
customers. I have to say, however, that I believe that we have complied
with your requests as required by the legislation and am sorry if you feel
otherwise. For clarity, it may be helpful to revisit the history.

 

Your first request (4094), received on 6 August, was answered on 28
August: (as attached).

 

Your second request (5017), for different information, received on 12
September, was answered on 4 October (as attached).

 

Your third request (5068) was, again, for different information - received
on 4 October and answered on 30 October as follows:

 

Dear Dr. Reddington

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – REQUEST RESPONSE

 

Thank you for your request received on 4 October 2012 requesting further
information from FOI 5017.

Request:

The obviously follow on question - how are you getting on with the devices
purchased by the council?

Response:

We purchase a variety of specialist equipment for both our Hearing
Impaired and Visually Impaired children – Radio Aids, I-Zooms, Zoom-Exs,
Braillers, Farviews and Embossers, etc, to name the majority.  We have
technicians who maintain and support the use of this equipment.  We have
been very satisfied with the suppliers of these resources.

 

I do appreciate that you maintain that the last request was misinterpreted
by the Council: "Um… I think there may be some confusion here - I wasn't
asking if you were enjoying using the devices; I was asking how long it is
going to be until you answer the original request."

 

You will, I trust, understand that, to staff here, it appeared to be
perfectly clear and there was nothing whatsoever to suggest that it
referred to the original request. Indeed, we had answered that and so I am
not sure what other interpretation could have been placed on the words you
used?

 

So on each occasion, the Council has either provided the information
requested or, where the Council does not hold the information, directed
you to another potential source.

 

Obviously, if you wish to place another request with this Council we would
be very happy to process that on your behalf. Otherwise, if you feel that
we have failed to deal with your requests as submitted, then you are
absolutely entitled to refer one or more to the Information Commissioner
for his decision - contact details: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Doug Reed

Head of Corporate Information and Records

Suffolk County Council

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimise any
security risks.
The information contained in this email or any of its attachments may
be privileged or confidential and is intended for the exclusive use of
the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If you receive
this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by using
the reply facility in your email software.

Dear Doug Reed,

So one of the problems with the idea that these were three different requests is that, for the 12th of September one I *copied and pasted* part of the orginal request because it had not been addressed at all.

While I am quite happy to go to the ICO, in general they do like to have an internal review done first - are you suggesting that we should skip that step?

Part of the issue here is that I'm confused as to why your area does not hold the information, while the remainder of the Councils in the test set have all provided the information easily and effectively... I provide the links below so you might be able to see what they are doing differently.

Lancashire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Leicestershire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Norfolk County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
North Yorkshire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
West Sussex County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Oxfordshire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Dorset County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Kent County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Somerset County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Surrey County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Cambridgeshire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Derbyshire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Devon County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Essex County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Buckinghamshire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Worcestershire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Gloucestershire County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...
Cumbria County Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aa...

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Doug Reed, Suffolk County Council

Dear Dr Reddington

 

I refer to your most recent e-mail (dated 1 November) with regard to
requests under the Freedom of Information Act, numbered 4904, 5017 and
5068. I am sorry if there has been any confusion and apologise, on the
Council's behalf, for where that may have occurred.

 

I take your point about an internal review prior to matters being referred
to the Information Commissioner. The legislation does, indeed, require
such a process. Without stating that explicitly, I took your telephone
call and e-mails to be just that, i.e. dissatisfaction with the how the
requests were handled and so, in effect, a requirement for a review -
which is what I did and then endeavoured to answer your concerns. Hence,
the suggestion that you refer any continuing dissatisfaction to the ICO.

 

To return to your specific issues - the Council has complied with your
request numbered 4094. As acknowledged in an e-mail to you dated 14
September, that element regarding a policy relating to electronic devices
was missed. As noted at the time, we were sorry for that omission but
rather than re-open the original request or deal with that omission as an
internal review, it was simpler to handle this as a separate but new
request. As you did not query or object to this approach it was reasonably
assumed that it was acceptable to you. In the event, Children and Young
People's Services provided the little information that was held (albeit
not a policy as such).

 

An explanation concerning your request 5068 was, I believe, provided
yesterday.

 

You state that you are "…confused as to why your area does not hold the
information, while the remainder of the Councils in the test set have all
provided the information easily and effectively...". All I can say, in
reply, is that the Directorate concerned, Children and Young People's
Services, has confirmed that it does not hold the information you
requested originally (4904). From your perspective that may not be
acceptable and puzzling but my concern is to ensure compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and, thereby, to be confident that all
available information has been provided to satisfy a request. That is the
situation here. If you wanted to challenge the Council over why it does
not hold such information then you are very welcome to raise this question
with the Director of that service - but, unfortunately, that is not an
issue relating to freedom of information compliance. With all manner of
freedom of information requests which this Council and others receive, it
is clear that different public authorities hold information in different
ways (if they hold it at all) so while many could provide information to
you easily and effectively, I have to say that that has no bearing on the
position in Suffolk.

 

I am sorry that we cannot help further. We take our responsibilities under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 extremely seriously and are always
concerned to ensure that we disclose as much information as we possibly
can to the benefit of our customers. It is, clearly, very frustrating
where we do not hold information requested but in such circumstances, all
we can do is state that fact, as we did here.

 

I wish you well with your research. If we can help with requests in the
future, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Doug Reed

Head of Corporate Information and Records

Suffolk County Council

 

 

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Dear Doug Reed,

Just tried to ring you, but it appears that you weren't in - can I confirm - you are saying that you have already conducted an internal review? And can you confirm when you started the review?

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Doug Reed, Suffolk County Council

Dear Dr Reddington

 

As explained in my e-mail (below) dated 1 November, I took your recent
telephone call (to my colleague) and e-mails as an expression of your
dissatisfaction with how your requests had been handled - even though you
did not, formally, request an internal review of any single request.
However, guidance on the application of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (not least, the Code of Practice as issued under Section 45)
indicates that any concerns expressed by an applicant should be viewed as
a 'complaint' whether that is stated explicitly or not.

 

If I have misrepresented or misinterpreted your concerns then please let
me know. If you wish for a specific internal review to be undertaken on
any one of your requests then I am happy to revisit the situation if you
feel that would be of help but I do have to say that having re-examined
the requests and confirmed to you that the Council does not hold the
information you required that this will, clearly, not change that
position.

 

I had hoped that my e-mail would have helped explain matters but if not
then it is your right to refer the handling of your requests to the
Information Commissioner and, obviously, the Council will co-operate fully
with any actions required via or by the Commissioner.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Doug Reed

Head of Corporate Information and Records

Suffolk County Council

 

    

    

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Dear Doug Reed,

Just tried to ring you again - it appears that you are still not in. Could you let me know when would be a good time to give you a call - or, perhaps better, pop along in person (that would have to be tomorrow I think now...)?

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Dear Doug Reed,

I rang again today - is there a time that would be best to reach you? I would like to get this request closed.

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Doug Reed, Suffolk County Council

Dear Dr Reddington

 

I am writing with regard to your further e-mails dated 1 November and 5
November.

 

You say that you have tried to telephone me. I have no log of such calls
but, in any event, I have not been in the office for several days so would
not have been here to answer. The telephone number for our service
(Information Management Services) is 01473 264620. I know that you have
spoken with a colleague previously and that you have this number. I have
to say that this is always the best number on which to contact us as you
will be guaranteed an answer or you can leave a message.

 

With respect, as per my e-mails of 31 October and 1 November, your
requests have been completed. The Council has provided the information it
holds and, as explained previously, can do more than that. I do appreciate
that it may seem odd and/or be frustrating that Suffolk does not hold
information when other councils do but that the information is not held is
a matter for the particular Directorate concerned which, in this case, is
the Children and Young People's Services. You may wish to challenge that
Directorate about why it does not hold such data when other authorities
do, but that is not something we can help you with. My responsibility is
to ensure that the Council meets its obligations under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and I believe that it has, and there is nothing
further that we can do to help you. If you feel otherwise, then you are
(as also explained previously) entitled to refer matters to the
Information Commissioner.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Doug Reed

Head of Corporate Information and Records

Suffolk County Council

 

 

 

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Dear Doug Reed,

For your records (and for people following online) - the ICO case reference number is FS50472350.

Yours sincerely,

Joe

Dave Brearley left an annotation ()

What happened to the compalint to the Information Commissioner then??

Joe left an annotation ()

Hi Dave - I've not had a chance to follow up with the ICO just yet - although by all means give them a ring - community spirit at all that - the code above should get you to the case... although it might still be working its way thought the system...

Dave Brearley left an annotation ()

OK, thanks. I don't think I should follow-up as it's not my request but I'll watch developments with interest.
Dave

Joe left an annotation ()

For those interested, the ICO did their job effectively and well, and Suffolk County Council have no managed to supply the original information. I highly recommend to anyone dealing with the FOI staff at this Council that they get the ICO involved as quickly as possible.