Amanda Barden Cafcass Guardian/ Conflict of Interest in Kent Family Courts
Mr B Gerrish (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service
This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I read with interest your recent reply regarding Amanda Barden Cafcass Guardian.
Cafcass response; Quote:
Please clarify from what period Amanda Barden (Guardian) worked
within Kent County Council prior to becoming a Guardian and which
position's were held.
"Prior to joining Cafcass Amanda Barden worked as a Social worker,
Senior Practitioner and Acting Team Manager within Kent County
Council between July 1998 and November 2004."
Can you please explain why an ex-employee of an Local Authority such a Kent, can be appointed within the same Kent Family Courts, without it being considered a gross conflict of interest.
Are the Family Courts within this Authority aware of Amanda Bardens previous employment history and who within the Court is responsible for appointing the Guardian.
Please also state how many times she has been appointed as a Guardian by the Kent Family Courts;i.e. name individual
Courts such as Medway, Maidstone,Dover etc relating to Kent County Council 'child care proceedings'.
On how many of these occasions the children have been placed for adoption or special guardianship placements rather than with relatives/or returned to their parents.
Families could rightly feel aggrieved that this has not been made clear to them
and that the Council and Cafcass could be considered to be working inconjunction and not appear to be working in their
childrens best interests.
It is paramount that CAFCASS is transparent in all its dealing
with other peoples children, as there could be very serious
Mr Brian Gerrish
Under Section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an applicant
must provide their real name for a request to be valid and fall under the scope of the Act. I have been looking at your past request and the use of aliases for outstanding requests for information namely...
Freedom of Information requests
I .Peroll CAF 236
D Ferguson CAF 242
S.Foster CAf 237
Ms Susan Web
Mr Brian Gerrish
I suspect that the name you use 'I Peroll' is not your real name and that you are in fact utilising the names of various people some involved in children's social work as listed above.
Cafcass will therefore not proceed to consider the above requests, or any
further requests for information by you, or deal with any requests for
review until you are able to provide me with authentic identification
which verifies who you are, for example an original utility bill
showing your full name and postal address.
On receipt of such evidence, I will progress your requests and will of course be happy to return any
documentation to you without keeping a copy on file.
If your name really is as stated I apologise in advance for any inconvenience that
providing proof of identity may cause you.
If you are unhappy with this decision, and object to providing proof
that you are using your real name, you can appeal to the Information
Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this
course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner's
Miss Jasvinder Jassal
Information Assurance & Data Handling Officer
6th Floor Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
E-mail: [email address]
Dear Jassal, Jasvinder,
I have read with interest your reply, which to say the least is a laughable excuse for not conforming with the FOI ACT.
Could the real reason be that you are simply attempting to cover the back of the Local Authority who has given out conflicting information?
There really is no shame in providing the truth, in fact the public demand it.
Mr Brian Gerrish
Dear Mr Gerrish.
There is no attempt to cover up any information that has been provided.
Cafcass is happy to provide information to valid applicants. Cafcass will process FOI requests on receipt and verification of ID.
Dear Miss Jassal/ Miss Jasvinder Jassal, ,
If there is no attempt to cover up any information, please state under those Authority/Law you are operating. The part of the Information Commissioner (Guidance January 2009) you rely upon in your refusal to comply with FOIA comprising of factual evidence.
It appears your department is pertaining to have powers not contained within either the Guidance nor Act.
ICO Guidance 2009;
'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.
Mr Brian Gerrish
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