Biometric system in Blacon High School

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Dear Blacon High School, A Specialist Sports College, Chester,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 please could you supply the following information within 20 working days:


1) Please supply any minutes of meetings where the implementations of biometric systems or alternative systems were discussed. I.e. Governor, children, parent forums, LA.

2) Were alternative methods other than biometrics discussed, i.e. PIN or swipe card, offered/will be offered to, or made available to, parents/children? If so what alternative methods were/will be offered?

3) Advise, if any, sources of advice on biometric technology, other than the biometric vendor, that were used to determine whether biometrics were an appropriate technology for the purpose the school needed .

4) Please advise the members of Blacon High School’s board of Governors.


5) Please advise if there are any children who did not consent to giving their biometrics, for example the child requested, whilst at school, to contact their parents before giving their biometrics, and how did the school deal with this.

6) Please advise if any children's biometrics were taken that do not have school meals and/or whose parents did not consent to their children's biometrics to be taken.

7) How many parents did not consent to their children’s biometrics to be processed?

8) What alternative method is in place for a child not wishing to participate in the biometric scheme the school has?

9) Please advise what measures the school undertook to be certain that all children understand the implications of giving their fingerprints, in other terms how are/were the children fully informed?

10) Please advise if biometric data is/was taken from children that are either on the register as having any learning difficulties/special needs or children that have English as a second language and please advise any special efforts made in this circumstance to contact and gain consent from parents?


11) Please advise how much the biometric/cashless system cost. Please advise a figure/s in order not to exempt this question from Freedom of Information Act 200, Part 2 - Exempt Information, Section 43 - Commercial Interest.

12) Please advise any yearly licensing or supporting costs to run the biometric system. Please advise a figure/s in order not to exempt this question from Freedom of Information Act 200, Part 2 - Exempt Information, Section 43 - Commercial Interest.

13) How many other companies were considered in this particular supply of biometric/cashless services? Please advise who they were.

14) Please detail budget/monies that were used to purchase it. I.e Building Schools for the Future, eLearning Credits, Harnessing Technology Grant, schools funds.

15) Please advise the person, either within the school or not, that authorised the payment for the biometric system.


16) Please advise the last time the school internally undertook a Data Protection Compliance Audit (or any such audit similar to this) or advise the last time a Data Protection Compliance Audit was undertook by the Information Commissioner’s Office at the school.

17) Please advise why there is no mention of the biometric storage of data on Blacon High School’s Data Protection Register Entry Details

18) Please advise the reason why there is no mention on Blacon High School’s website of the biometric system used. If there is no reason please advise when Blacon High School's website will contain details of the biometric system employed there.


In May 2012 the Protection of Freedom Act 2012 was passed requiring schools to ”-notify each parent of the child of its intent to process the child’s biometric information and that the parent may object at anytime”. A school cannot process a child’s biometric information unless “at least one parent of the child consents” and “no parent of the child has withdrawn consent or otherwise objected”, also “If at any time the child refuses” the school cannot process their biometric information. Notification to parents and consent and objection from parents must "be given in writing". This law becomes enforceable 1st September 2013.

19) Please advise when Blacon High School will seek written parental permission with regards to the school's obligation under the law the the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

20) Please advise the estimated cost of gaining permission from parents in order to comply with the Protections of Freedoms Act, in that every child’s biometric data held on Blacon High school’s biometric database must have written parental consent by 1st September 2013.

If you need further clarification, please contact me by email. My preferred format to receive the information is electronically, but I can accept hard copies. 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 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.

I look forward to your response within 20 working days, as outlined by the statute.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Dear Blacon High School, A Specialist Sports College, Chester,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Blacon High School's handling of my FOI request 'Biometric system in Blacon High School' as it has not been replied to within the 20 working days as outlined in the statute.

Please could you acknowledge this email requesting an internal review request and prior Freedom of Information Request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Rachel Keating, Blacon High School, Chester

Dear Ms King,

Thank you for your email dated 14/03/2013.

I acknowledge your request for an Internal Review of the handling of your FOI request and receipt of the details of your initial FOI request.

An Internal Review will be undertaken and a response provided to you within 20 working days.

Many thanks,

Rachel Keating

Rachel Keating
Business Manager
Blacon High School
Melbourne Road

Tel: 01244 371475
Fax: 01244 374279

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Pippa King left an annotation ()

Response from their Internal Review due latest Wednesday 17th April 2013.

Rachel Keating left an annotation ()

A response will be provided to the Internal Review request by 25th April (20 working/school days from 15th March).

Dear Rachel Keating,

Thank you for the information that Blacon High School's internal review, as to why the schools failed to reply to a Freedom of Information request sent on the 13th February 2013, will be complete on the 25th April.
I look forward to your response.

In the meantime please may I have a copy of Blacon High School's Freedom of Information Publication Scheme of Policy? I notice there is not one on your website, the search engine on your website is not able to find anything at all under a search for 'freedom of information'.

If you have one on your website please could forward me the link or email a copy of it to [email address]

I am sure you are fully aware but this is from the Information Commissioner's website:

"The Act is designed to increase transparency. Members of the public should be able to routinely access information that is in the public interest and is safe to disclose. Also, without the publication scheme, members of the public may not know what information you have available.

The publication scheme covers information you have already decided you can give out. People should be able to access this information directly on the web, or receive it promptly and automatically whenever they ask."

Thank you in anticipation of the school's Freedom of Information Publication Scheme and I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours sincerely,

Pippa King

Rachel Keating, Blacon High School, Chester

1 Attachment

Dear Ms King,

Please find attached a copy of the response to your original FOI
request and request for internal review.



Rachel Keating, Blacon High School, Chester

As part of the Cheshire West and Chester, details of the
Publication Scheme we use can be found at

angela mayall left an annotation ()

Anybody that's interested in the above request may like to follow my request to the Department For Education, subject "Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012".

Please note... Department For, not Of, Education.