Biometric system at Swalecliffe Community Primary School

The request was successful.

Dear Kent County Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act please could you supply the following information within 20 working days.

1) Is GSS’s contact to supply meals to Swalecliffe Community Primary School (SCPS) with Kent County Council (KCC) or with the SCPS?

2) Who made the decision that GSS would provide a biometric payment system to SCPS?

3) Was the biometric system included in GSS’s contract to provide catering to SCPS? i.e. have GSS paid for the biometric system? If not, who paid for the biometric system?

4) Who decided upon the photo identification as alternative to children using their biometrics?

5) Do KCC plan to roll out biometrics to other primary or secondary schools in the county? i.e. is the biometric system at Swalecliffe a pilot?

6) A letter from John Hill, Chair of Board of Governors at SCPS to a parent stated - “Our understanding is that this [photograph] is not in any way a biometric record and having sought legal advice from KCC it is our understanding that although there is information on the Internet that photographs are a form of latent biometric, this is not legally the case in the UK”

What determination or legislation was used by KCC to advise John Hill that a photograph is not a latent biometric. Please supply a copy of advice given or bodies consulted, case law, etc, of how this determination was reached.

7) There are conflicting statements made about the system:

10 December 2013 - SCPS to parents. Biometrics Q & A:
“ ...the system is provided by sQuid, the files containing the biometric data are held internally on the school’s SIMS server”

24 January 2014 - Freedom of Information request reply to me:
“ the system is being provided by the school caterers”

“However as the software is now in school we have decided to upgraded our registration system, combining the two together”

i) Who does KCC understand to be the data controller of the children’s biometrics?

ii) Who owns the biometric system hardware and software?

ii) Who owns the photo system hardware and software?

Iv) Do GSS/sQuid (whoever financially invested in the biometric system) now provide the compatible registration system hardware and software? If not, which company will.

v) Which company provides SCPS SIMs system?

vi) Does the SIMS system have a field on the database or a facility for store and process children’s biometric data?

vii) Can the SIMS system biometric data field interact with other independent systems, such as a payment system or registration system?

viii) Will GSS or sQuid have access to the biometric data on the SIMS?

8) Is the school responsible for paying the debt incurred to GSS by non-paying parents?

9) It has been acknowledge that GSS will not exclude children if they have not opted into photographic or biometric identification, can the school enforce an opt in? i.e. decide to deny children meals if neither the biometric or photo identification is chosen when an alternative could be provided by GSS.

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others, and in such case please could you release available data as soon as possible rather than delay the entire request.

If you are not fully certain of what it is I am asking then I look forward to contact from you as soon as possible to clarify what it is I am requesting in order to meet your obligations under the law.

If the costs of processing this request exceed the limit in the Act, please advise on what information you are able to supply within the cost limit.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Kent County Council

Dear Ms King

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 14th ^ May 2014 (20 working days from date of receipt).

 

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/14/0712 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

 

Best regards

 

Laura Pronger

Information Access Officer

Information Resilience & Transparency Team

Strategic and Corporate Services, Governance & Law

Kent County Council, Room 2.71, Sessions House, County Road, Maidstone,
ME14 1XQ. 

Telephone: 01622 694261, Internal: 7000 4261, Fax: 01622 696075

http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Kent County Council,

I am writing to request an internal review of why there has been no response to my Freedom of Information Act questions.

You have 20 working days to complete the internal review or answer the questions, as is your obligation under the law.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Kent County Council

Dear Ms. King
 
Thank you for your complaint email which was received by us on 20th May
2014, we would like to offer our sincere apologies for the delay in
responding to your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) 2000 concerning Swalecliffe Community School.  We
acknowledge that the Council has not complied with statutory timescales on
this occasion and your complaint in this regard is upheld.
 
With regard to your original request, we are pleased to provide the
following by way of response:
 
1) Is GSS’s contract to supply meals to Swalecliffe Community Primary
School (SCPS) with Kent County Council (KCC) or with the SCPS?  KCC
entered into a Framework Agreement under which individual schools can call
off a contract from the different suppliers in the Framework
Agreement. Therefore KCC has a legal agreement with all of the successful
service providers and in this case the school has an assigned contract
with GSS who were the successful supplier in the school’s geographical
area.
 
2) Who made the decision that GSS would provide a biometric payment system
to SCPS? 
Cash collection is the contractor’s responsibility. The tender received
from GSS said they would introduce a cashless system. Swalecliffe was
identified by GSS as a suitable school to be one of the first to use
sQuid, an electronic payment system which enables cashless catering. GSS
decided to use sQuid system and the school chose to use biometrics with
that system.
 
3) Was the biometric system included in GSS’s contract to provide catering
to SCPS? i.e. have GSS paid for the biometric system?  If not, who paid
for the biometric system? Cash collection is the contractor’s
responsibility. The method to use is their company decision. GSS will have
paid for the sQuid system.
 
4) Who decided upon the photo identification as alternative to children
using their biometrics?  The school proposed a photo identification system
as an alternative to Biometrics.
 
5) Do KCC plan to roll out biometrics to other primary or secondary
schools in the county? i.e. is the biometric system at Swalecliffe a
pilot?  
KCC will not be introducing electronic payment systems into any schools as
cash collection is part of the school meal responsibility which was
delegated in April 2012.
 
6) A letter from John Hill, Chair of Board of Governors at SCPS to a
parent stated - “Our understanding is that this [photograph] is not in any
way a biometric record and having sought legal advice from KCC it is our
understanding that although there is information on the Internet that
photographs are a form of latent biometric, this is not legally the case
in the UK”
 
What determination or legislation was used by KCC to advise John Hill that
a photograph is not a latent biometric.  Please supply a copy of advice
given or bodies consulted, case law, etc., of how this determination was
reached. 
 
KCC does not hold any recorded information to enable us to answer this
question.
 
7) There are conflicting statements made about the system:
 
10 December 2013 -  SCPS to parents. Biometrics Q & A:
“ ...the system is provided by sQuid, the files containing the biometric
data are held internally on the school’s SIMS server”
 
24 January 2014 - Freedom of Information request reply to me:
“ the system is being provided by the school caterers”
 
“However as the software is now in school we have decided to upgraded our
registration system, combining the two together”
 
i) Who does KCC understand to be the data controller of the children’s
biometrics?   
ii) Who owns the biometric system hardware and software?
ii) Who owns the photo system hardware and software?
Iv) Do GSS/sQuid (whoever financially invested in the biometric system)
now provide the compatible registration system hardware and software? If
not, which company will.
v) Which company provides SCPS SIMs system? 
vi) Does the SIMS system have a field on the database or a facility for
store and process children’s biometric data?
vii) Can the SIMS system biometric data field interact with other
independent systems, such as a payment system or registration system?
viii) Will GSS or sQuid have access to the biometric data on the SIMS?
 
Schools are Data Controllers in their own right and are subject to the
provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection
Act 1998. To obtain the information you have requested (Q7), you will need
to contact the school or the contractor (GSS) directly. The SIMS system is
managed by the school and the details of software/hardware of the
biometric system will be held by GSS .
 
The Department of Education has released guidance for school staff
relating to the protection of biometric information of children in
schools. A copy of the guidance can be found via the following link
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...
 
The Information Commissioner, who is the regulator for compliance with the
Data Protection Act 1998, has also released some guidance relating to
biometric data, this can be found on the Commissioners website via the
following link
[2]http://ico.org.uk/upload/documents/libra...
 
8)  Is the school responsible for paying the debt incurred to GSS by
non-paying parents?. The School have contracted with GSS, if the parents
do not pay for meals, for whatever reason, the school must meet the costs
of any meals provided but not paid for.
 
9)  It has been acknowledged that GSS will not exclude children if they
have not opted into photographic or biometric identification, can the
school enforce an opt in? i.e. decide to deny children meals if neither
the biometric or photo identification is chosen when an alternative could
be provided by GSS. 
 
KCC does not hold any recorded information to enable us to answer this
question.  This is a request for legal advice/comment, not a request for
information covered under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link to the Council’s website
[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council....
Please quote reference FOI/14/0712.
 
If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, 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 website [4]http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints
 
Yours Sincerely
 
 
Pauline Banks
 
Kent County Council
ST GL Information Resilience & Transparency
Sessions House, Rm 2.71
County Hall
Maidstone
Kent. ME14 1XQ
 
T: 01622 694999
F: 01622 696075
[5]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...

show quoted sections

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org