Child Protection & Safeguarding Concerns raised with the LADO regarding Buckinghamshire Schools

Glynn Freeman made this Freedom of Information request to Buckinghamshire County Council

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

The request was refused by Buckinghamshire County Council.

Dear Buckinghamshire County Council,

Please disclose the names of any school(s) that have either:

1. Self-referred to the LADO following the raising of a child protection/safeguarding concern

and/or

2. The names of any school(s) that have had a child protection or safeguarding concern raised against a member of staff or volunteer to the LADO by a 3rd party

in the past 12 months

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadline to respond is as follows:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Subject access requests under Data Protection legislation should be
directed to [email address]

 

Further information on our services can be found at: www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available at:
https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun... and
independent guidance is available from the Information Commissioner at:
http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Team

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Dear Buckinghamshire County Council,

I am writing to advise that the response for this request was due today. I would be grateful for an update.

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadline to respond is as follows:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Subject access requests under Data Protection legislation should be
directed to [email address]

 

Further information on our services can be found at: www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available at:
https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun... and
independent guidance is available from the Information Commissioner at:
http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Team

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Dear Buckinghamshire County Council,

This is now the second occasion in which I have had to write to you to remind you of your statutory obligation to provide the information requested, which is now overdue by 4 weeks.

Please respond to the request, hopefully this time with more than just an automated reply telling me how much my email communication is valued, which judging by the utter lack of response is laughable.

Please therefore instigate an internal review to establish why I have had no response.

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadline to respond is as follows:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Subject access requests under Data Protection legislation should be
directed to [email address]

 

Further information on our services can be found at: www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available at:
https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun... and
independent guidance is available from the Information Commissioner at:
http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Team

Do you know someone who could foster?

We offer full training, on going support and a generous allowance.

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us today.

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Buckinghamshire County Council

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Buckinghamshire County Council Email Disclaimer

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted
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to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may
nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to
identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before
opening any documents.

Buckinghamshire County Council will not accept any liability for damage
caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document
supplied with this email.

All email traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
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The views expressed in this email are not necessarily those of
Buckinghamshire County Council unless explicitly stated.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for content and
for the presence of computer viruses.

References

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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Mr Freeman

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

We apologise for the delay in replying.

 

Your request for information, about referrals to the LADO about school
based staff/volunteers asking for the level of detail to include the
identity of the schools concerned, has now been considered and I have to
inform you that it is not possible to meet your request. Moreover, where
applicable, it is considered that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

 

Accordingly, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this
email acts as a Refusal Notice.

 

The exemptions applied are set out below.

 

S.40(2) - personal information

 

While I appreciate that you are unlikely to be able to identify any
individuals from this information, we have to take into account that any
disclosure under FOIA is taken to be to the world at large (and indeed I
note that you have made this request through a public website).

 

Therefore, we have to apply a ‘motivated intruder’ test i.e. how likely it
would be that a motivated intruder could identify an individual from this
information or from this information and other information that they have
access to or could get access to. For example:

 

-        If there is just one individual involved at a particular school
and a suspension has occurred in the relevant period it would likely be
possible to identify the individual concerned

-        A motivated intruder could ask questions of people involved with
a school (for instance, a parent) with the intent of identifying an
individual

In Data Protection terms, it would be unfair to disclose any information
that would allow an individual to be identified.

 

Failing this exemption/in addition to this exemption:

 

S.36 - prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

 

The limbs of Section 36 that apply are detailed below:

 

(2) Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in
the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the
information under this Act—

 

(b) would be likely to inhibit (ii) the free and frank exchange of views
for the purposes of deliberation

 

Disclosure would be likely to inhibit schools from reporting openly and
completely, thus impairing the frankness and candour on which the LADO
process relies - if schools thought that when they made a referral to the
LADO this would be picked up in a FOI response then they would potentially
be more reluctant to make a referral (in certain instances) and this could
potentially result in matters not being referred.

 

Disclosure would also be likely to affect future ‘exchange of information’
if schools are aware that the fact of a submission to the LADO will be
disclosed. This would be likely to damage the partnership basis on which
the Council works with schools and erode trust.

 

This limb is about the process that would be inhibited.

 

(c) would be likely otherwise to prejudice the effective conduct of public
affairs

 

Disclosure is likely to lead to an adverse effect on our ability to meet
our overriding safeguarding objectives and is also likely to lead to
disruptive effects e.g. the diversion of resources to manage the possible
effects of disclosure rather than on managing more pressing issues at
hand. If the information were to be disclosed, the schools/Local Authority
would be very likely to receive a number of enquiries, which would cause
disruption to delivering safeguarding objectives and core day to day
education provision.

 

There is a need for schools and Local Authority to have a safe space to
consider these difficult matters without being hindered by external
comment and/or further FOIA requests and/or media involvement.

 

Schools must have confidence in relying on the Local Authority without any
concern that certain information will be revealed now or at a later date.
The conduct of relationships is likely to be prejudiced if schools feel
unable to engage with the Local Authority on these challenging issues
and/or trust the Local Authority not to disclose certain information.

 

Indeed, we would suggest that it is clear that if this information would
be disclosed there is a heavy likelihood that individuals/groups would
further report this information possibly with additional unsubstantiated
accusations that would be harmful to any school.

 

This limb is concerned with the effects of making the information public.

 

Where applicable, the reasons why the public interest favours withholding
the information are:

 

We believe that the public interest would not be served by undermining the
process of full and frank exchanges with/reporting from schools and there
is a strong public interest in ensuring that schools are willing and able
to provide full and complete information to the Council, and failure to do
this would make it more difficult for the Council to seek and obtain the
information it needs to properly carry out its functions.

 

Disclosure of the information would also be possibly likely to lead to
loss of confidence in a school, simply by virtue of the disclosure of the
information, and we consider that there is a strong public interest in
protecting any school from negative effect. Any negative image that
unfairly attaches itself to a school (for instance, where information is
reported inaccurately) can have an impact for years and can cause damage
to that school. There is a public interest in a ‘safe space’ existing.

 

We would further add our view that the public interest can be served by
the publication each year of the LADO Annual Report, which provides
information on the performance of the LADO Service and is received by the
Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children’s Board each year:

 

[1]http://www.bucks-lscb.org.uk/wp-content/...

 

I can confirm that the Qualified Person has considered the application of
the S.36 exemption and in their opinion this exemption does apply.

 

For information, the following additional factors were considered in
favour of disclosure:

 

1.      When a request for information is received, responding as fully
and openly as possible to the request is the favoured approach wherever
possible.

 

2.      More transparency in relation to our relationships with schools
may lead to more confidence in this system/process.

 

3.      Explaining the process of engaging with schools to members of the
public, to increase awareness of this process.

 

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please use
the Council’s complaints procedure in the first instance by writing to:

FOI Monitoring Officer

Buckinghamshire County Council

County Hall

Aylesbury

Bucks

HP20 1UA

Or via email: [Buckinghamshire County Council request email]

 

You can also then complain to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

Fax: 01625 524510

Email: [email address]

www.ico.org.uk

 

 

Regards

 

Neil Doling

 

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Resources | Policy, Communications & Performance | Business Intelligence

 

[Buckinghamshire County Council request email] 

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/foi/freedo...

Buckinghamshire County Council

County Hall

Walton Street

Aylesbury

Buckinghamshire

HP20 1UA

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Buckinghamshire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Buckinghamshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Child Protection & Safeguarding Concerns raised with the LADO regarding Buckinghamshire Schools'.

It is known that a member of SLT of a Grammar School in the County has had a child protection complaint made against them by the parent of a child in that school, and that this teacher has refused to remove themselves from teaching classes including the child of the parent who raised the concern. Moreover, the SLT member in question has stated that as they operate in the field of education that (sic) "the rules do not apply" to them. It is also known that the SLT member referred themselves to the LADO in September 2018.

The fact that this information is being openly discussed amongst some parents on social media and has been picked up by a journalist makes the disclosure imperative: either the Council can disclose the details of the number of complaints received and which school it has received the complaints regarding thereby allowing for a full and frank exchange of views between the school and parents about the appropriateness of their actions, or it can clearly state that no complaints have been received thereby putting the matter definitively to rest.

The fact that the Council has chosen both not to disclose that no complaints have been referred to the LADO and has refused to disclose information leads any reasonable reader to the conclusion that a complaint is extant, and it is therefore in the public interest for parents of children at the school to know and understand the risks posed to their children by remaining at a school in which a member of SLT has been complained about under the safeguarding procedures.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadline to respond is as follows:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Subject access requests under Data Protection legislation should be
directed to [email address]

 

Further information on our services can be found at: www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available at:
https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun... and
independent guidance is available from the Information Commissioner at:
http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Team

Do you know someone who could foster?

We offer full training, on going support and a generous allowance.

If you know someone who might be interested, ask them to get in touch with
us today.

Web: [1]www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering

Email: [2][email address]

Fostering Tel:  0800 160 1900

[3]Fostering

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Buckinghamshire County Council Email Disclaimer

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted
information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is
addressed. It may contain sensitive or protectively marked material and
should be handled accordingly. If this Email has been misdirected, please
notify the author or [5][email address] immediately. If you are
not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print
or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all
copies must be deleted immediately. Whilst we take reasonable steps to try
to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may
nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to
identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before
opening any documents.

Buckinghamshire County Council will not accept any liability for damage
caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document
supplied with this email.

All email traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

The views expressed in this email are not necessarily those of
Buckinghamshire County Council unless explicitly stated.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for content and
for the presence of computer viruses.

References

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Mailbox, Stage2, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Mr Freeman,

 

Re: Internal Review of a Freedom of Information Request

Reference: RFI-04463 & RFI-04977

 

Thank you for your email communication below.

 

I can confirm that your Request will now be considered on behalf of the
Monitoring Officer, under Buckinghamshire County Council’s Internal Review
procedure.

 

Your concerns will be investigated and the Council will aim to provide you
with a written response within 20 working days. However, if this is not
possible, an Officer will advise you of the reasons for the delay,
together with confirmation as to when a full response could be expected.

 

I trust that this is of assistance.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Jeevan Virdi (Mrs)

Corporate Complaints Officer

Corporate Governance team

Resources

Buckinghamshire County Council

Room G29 | County Hall | Walton Street | Aylesbury | Buckinghamshire |
HP20 1UA

 

 

show quoted sections

Mailbox, Stage2, Buckinghamshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Freeman,

 

Re: Internal Review of a Freedom of Information Request

Reference: RFI-04784

 

Please find attached correspondence pertaining to the above.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Jeevan Virdi (Mrs)

Corporate Complaints Officer

Corporate Governance team

Resources

Buckinghamshire County Council

Room G29 | County Hall | Walton Street | Aylesbury | Buckinghamshire |
HP20 1UA

 

 

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This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted
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to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may
nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to
identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before
opening any documents.

Buckinghamshire County Council will not accept any liability for damage
caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document
supplied with this email.

All email traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

The views expressed in this email are not necessarily those of
Buckinghamshire County Council unless explicitly stated.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for content and
for the presence of computer viruses.

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