Children's Social Services - Appointment of Matt Dunkley

Mr Elliott made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

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

Kent County Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Kent County Council,

As you know, as well as Helen Grant MP, (although KCC continue to subvert complaints process & justice, controlling FOI responses (spin). There remains serious concerns (substantiated with incontrovertible facts) over KCC SCS, with respect to their endemic failures within the dept, causing serious abuses on family and children in Kent, currently which are being investigated even when KCC continue to obstruct due process.

As is public knowledge, Mr Matt Dunkley, current Head of Children's Services, was awarded an Interim role with Norfolk Children services, in January 2017.

There were some serious concerns over that appointment

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/new...

Mr Dunkley provided 6 months service to this Council, and the role ended in October 2017, where he was replaced, and left earlier than was expected. Irrespective of the 'Interim' title.

https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/news/2017/07/...

Please can you provide answers to the following.

1. What appropriate due diligence was taken with regards to this appointment of Mr Dunkley, whom commenced in his role in January 2018
2. Provide the reasons for his early departure from Norfolk Council after only 6 months.
3. Where the facts above regarding Mr Dunkley's 'past' taken into account when appointing Mr Dunkley, and if not, please explain why not.
4. Where KCC aware of the above History of Mr Dunkley when appointing him?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Elliott

 

Information request
Our reference: 2432535

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Dear Mr Elliott
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your email which we received on 18 June 2018.
 
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 16 July 2018 (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 - 2432535 in any communication regarding this
particular request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Peter Wylie
Information Access Officer
Strategic and Corporate Services
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

1 Attachment

 

Information request
Our reference: 2432535

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Dear Mr Elliott
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 18 June 2018.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Kirsty-Leigh Robertson
Information Access Officer
Strategic and Corporate Services
+443000418301
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Kent County Council,

Thank you for the response.

It is unfortunately clear that whilst KCC & KCC SCS are abusing children (Facts shown and being covered up by KCC and blocking Stage 2 investigations) , it remains concerning that your replies to FOI's remain evasive.

My question below was.

2. Provide the reasons for his early departure from Norfolk Council after only 6 months.

Your response was.
"He left Norfolk specifically to take up his job in Kent and the date for his move was
mutually agreed between him and the two County Councils".

Respectfully, this does not answer the question, and is not transparent.

What were the REASONS, for his EARLY departure - Above suggests he left of his own volition. Was this breaching his Interim Contract? Did Norfolk seek urgently to replace him for some reason due to his performance, as the Head of the Norfolk Council had every initial intentions for him to serve a much longer period.
Of course he may have negotiated an early exit (fee free/reduced termination fees) from his contract with Norfolk as they already lined up his replacement so very quickly, to go to KCC, in exchange for a good /neutral type reference? This happens a lot in business as you know.

The date agreed may have been part of this 'deal' between you. As above

Whatever the truth, what is clear is that you have refused to answer the question transparently, and I ask that you do so.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Elliott

 

Information request
Our reference: 2432535

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Dear Mr Elliott
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 16 July 2018. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
I can confirm that we are considering your concerns and we will aim to
provide you with a response by 13 August 2018.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Pauline Banks
Information Governance Specialist
Strategic and Corporate Services
+443000415811
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

 

 

Information request
Our reference: 2432535

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 Dear Mr Elliott 

Further to your complaint dated 16^th July, I have been tasked with
carrying out an independent review of the Council's response to your
request for information; this is in accordance with your rights under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  

On 18^th June you asked Kent County Council (KCC) to provide you with
information relating to the Council's appointment of Mr Dunkley. 
Specifically you asked: 

 1. What appropriate due diligence was taken with regards to this
appointment of Mr Dunkley, whom commenced in his role in January 2018
 2. Provide the reasons for his early departure from Norfolk Council after
only 6 months.
 3. Where the facts above regarding Mr Dunkley's 'past' taken into account
when appointing Mr Dunkley, and if not, please explain why not.
 4. Where KCC aware of the above History of Mr Dunkley when appointing
him?

We provided a response to your request on 16^th July (within time scales).

As part of the review process I have liaised with the Council's Corporate
Director Engagement, Organisation Design & Development who is sorry that
you do not feel your questions have been answered fully.  However, having
looked again at your original and subsequent requests she has confirmed
that there is nothing further we can add ' Matt Dunkley was on an interim
contract with Norfolk County Council and left to take up the role at Kent
County Council at a time which was agreed by all parties.  We do not
believe this can be classed as being an 'early' departure, but you would
have to contact Norfolk County Council for any further details on Mr
Dunkley's contractual arrangements with them as this is not information we
would hold at KCC.

Under the provisions of the FOIA the right of access is to 'recorded
information' held by public bodies.  Where a public body does not hold the
requested information in one or more recorded format there is no
obligation under the Act to create information in order to satisfy a
request.   

Having completed my review I am satisfied that KCC complied with your
request in so far as we were able to from the information we hold.  The
information you seek relates to Mr Dunkley's employment with Norfolk
County Council and would therefore not be held by KCC. As a result we are
unable to uphold your complaint.  

If you are not content with the outcome of this Internal Review you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a
further decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedon...
 
Helpline on 0303 123 1113
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Pauline Banks
Information Governance Specialist
Strategic and Corporate Services
+443000415811
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Kent County Council,

Thank you for reply, ad perhaps to assist, as I may not have been as prescriptive as I could have been in hindsight
You stated "We do not believe this can be classed as being an 'early' departure,..."

Please note below as to why I believe this clearly was an early departure, and perhaps one negotiated between the councils, for reasons Kent County Council in due diligence should have certainly explored/known.

Jan 2017

"Norfolk County Council said Mr Dunkley, ....." would be in place to see the council through its next full Ofsted inspection of children’s services, where it aims to create a clear path towards a solid ‘good’ rating”."

...on the recruitment of Mr Dunkley's replacement in November 2017, Norfolk County Council states

25th July 2017

"Wendy Thomson, said:

“I’m delighted that we have recruited Sara. ......“Our ambition is to move up in the Ofsted rating from “inadequate” to “requires improvement” at the next inspection, which is expected later this year or early next year.

Therefore respectfully, I am of the view someone(s) in KCC is not being entirely transparent in their responses to FOI. I can only come to a view this is a deliberate withholding of public interest information especially given the serious failings and issues within KCC SCS as is well documented.

If you are unable to progress further, please respectfully can this be assigned for internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Elliott

Dear Mr Elliott

Thank you for your email. I am sorry but your request for this information
has already been subject to a formal review.  As you have exhausted the
FOI complaints process the only course of action open to you, if you
believe the Council has failed to comply with it's obligations under the
FOI Act is to contact the Information Commissioner.

FOI is not an appropriate route to challenge local authority policies and
procedures and if you believe that the Council is guilty of
maladministration with regard to our recruitment and selection process
then you are entitled to take a complaint to the Local Authority
Ombudsman. Details about how you can complain can be found from the
following link: [1]https://www.lgo.org.uk/

Yours sincerely

Pauline Banks | Information Governance Specialist | Information Resilience
& Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.87, Sessions House,
Maidstone, ME14 1XQ Telephone 03000 415811 |
http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...

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Dear Kent County Council,

Thank you for reply, ad perhaps to assist, as I may not have been as
prescriptive as I could have been in hindsight
You stated "We do not believe this can be classed as being an 'early'
departure,..."

Please note below as to why I believe this clearly was an early departure,
and perhaps one negotiated between the councils, for reasons Kent County
Council in due diligence should have certainly explored/known.

Jan 2017

"Norfolk County Council said Mr Dunkley, ....." would be in place to see
the council through its next full Ofsted inspection of children's
services, where it aims to create a clear path towards a solid 'good'
rating'."

...on the recruitment of Mr Dunkley's replacement in November 2017,
Norfolk County Council states

25th July 2017

"Wendy Thomson, said:

'I'm delighted that we have recruited Sara. ......'Our ambition is to move
up in the Ofsted rating from 'inadequate' to 'requires improvement' at the
next inspection, which is expected later this year or early next year.

Therefore respectfully, I am of the view someone(s) in KCC is not being
entirely transparent in their responses to FOI. I can only come to a view
this is a deliberate withholding of public interest information especially
given the serious failings and issues within KCC SCS as is well
documented.

If you are unable to progress further, please respectfully can this be
assigned for internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Elliott

show quoted sections

Dear Kent County Council,

(Pauline)

Whilst I understand there is clearly considerable pressure being brought to bear upon the FOI team on these matters, it is clear that Kent County Council has not provided the responses to the matters put before you in a transparent and honest way.

It cannot be reasonable for reasonable persons to accept your response that Due Diligence was conducted, yet say KCC do not hold information about Mr Dunkley's arrangements with the other Authority KCC 'done this deal' with.

It is clear from the incontrovertible evidence that Mr Dunkley left earlier that anticipated as the facts make clear below, and given Mr Dunkley is presiding over known repeated child abuses from his dept and from his staff, abuses of human rights of parents, and professional neglect. It is important for the public to know what thorough DD was conducted by KCC. It is becoming clear that KCC seem intent on covering up a very serious matter.

I would urge KCC to refrain from deflecting these matters to others, (LGO, ICC, Norfolk CC), and return a transparent and honest response, as thus far (and this is now the 3rd rejection of held information FOI teams have refused regarding Mr Dunkley, KCC Children's Services), this has not been the case.

This is becoming deeply troubling. As you know, taking matters to the LGO, ICO etc, can take many many months, and is deeply bureaucratic. In the meantime KCC have a duty to the public to re-assure them of what DD they have performed, especially given the deeply disturbing backdrop of chaos, abuses, and failures occurring within that department for some considerable time, as you know.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Elliott