Dear Sir or Madam,

Could you provide copies of all communications between dcsf and it's agents and Nektus Ltd
between october 2008 and june 2009

Yours faithfully,

Elaine Walton

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Elaine

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0870 0002288

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Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Ms Walton

Our Ref 2009/0057579

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 24 June
2009. You requested -

copies of all communications between dcsf and
it's agents and Nektus Ltd between october 2008 and june 2009

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
("the Act"). I can confirm that the Department holds information within
scope of your request. You will see however from what I say below that
there are issues of serious concern which have caused us to rethink our
original intention to release relevant information to you.

The Department is aware that attempts are being made on the Internet to
vilify and harass the author of the Review of Elective Home Education, and
others who have participated, in ways which clearly go beyond the bounds
of reasonable criticism and debate. It is the Department's view that,
whilst dealing with each request on its merits, this situation will have
to be taken into account in dealing with any relevant FOI requests. We
therefore consider that section 38 is engaged in respect of your request.
The Department is not suggesting that you have participated, or are
participating, in such a campaign. As far as we are concerned you are a
bona fide requester under the Act and we have treated your request
accordingly. It is unfortunate that the activities of a minority of people
on the Internet have caused us to engage section 38.

Section 38(1) provides that information is exempt if its disclosure under
the Act would, or would be likely, to

(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual; or

(b) endanger the safety of any individual.

This exemption is subject to the public interest test which means that
even where prejudice or likely prejudice can be demonstrated, it is still
necessary to consider whether in all the circumstances of the case the
public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public
interest in disclosure. This exemption covers events that could reasonably
be expected but do not have to be definitely foreseeable.

The case for disclosure of information protected by this exemption rests
mainly on the desirability of greater openness for the purposes of
increasing public understanding and trust, and on encouraging greater

Conversely, it is reasonable to expect that no information should be
released which might lead to harassment or harm to individuals. The
Department has strong reason to expect that this would be the result from
release because of the campaign that is being mounted on the Internet
against the author of the review, and others. The most effective
precaution which can be taken to prevent anticipated harm to individuals
lies in not disclosing information which could put them at risk.

The Department will always seek to meet the legitimate rights of
requesters to information, but under section 2 (2) (b) of the Act ("in all
the circumstances of the case") it will also take into account the need
for public servants and other individuals to be able to conduct legitimate
business in the public interest without harassment or harm.

Having carried out the balancing test, the Department takes the view that
it is not in the public interest for the any of the information to be
released at this time. Should circumstances change, and the prospect of
harm, harassment or distress to individuals no longer be a factor, the
Department will be prepared to reconsider its use of section 38.

Some of the information within scope of your requests is also being
withheld because the following absolute exemption under the Act applies to

Section 40. Having carefully reviewed the information in scope of your
request, the Department considers that the absolute exemption at section
40 of the Act is engaged because the some of information requested
constitutes personal data, disclosure of which would contravene the data
protection principles.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Partridge

Information Rights Manager, DCSF

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Elaine Walton left an annotation ()

Could you furnish me with evidence to support your invocation of section 38 and 40

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Children, Schools and Families's handling of my FOI request 'Communications with Nektus'.

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

Yours faithfully,

Elaine Walton

C Murton left an annotation ()

It is appalling that DCSF use such an excuse to withhold public information.

How can Mr Badman be vilified or harassed by the publication of communication from his company UNLESS those communications are in some way less than honourable?

Elaine Walton left an annotation ()

Thankyou C Murton you make a very valid point.
I requested the information because Mr Badman and his family formed the company in Oct '08
In Jan '09 he was commissioned by dcsf to carry out a review of home education and we were informed he was independent of dcsf, surely to attempt to establish if his company was involved with dcsf is a reasonable act? as he is also a part of BECTA I feel I have legitimate concerns which the dcsf should be openly responding to.
I placed the FOI to establish that and I feel that was a legitimate enquiry.

M Stafford left an annotation ()

They have had more than enough time to conduct an internal review on this, I would refer it to the information commissioner.

Elaine Walton left an annotation ()

I asked by foi for the information commissioners response to the 'letter' dcsf sent to them in july re the refusal of dcsf to respond to legitimate foi requests I recieved the response a couple of days ago and there is no response ... rather negates the role of information commis if responses are so slow

Mrs.J.E.Garrett left an annotation ()

Ask the information commisioner direct. Just type information commisioner into google and fill in the relevent form.

Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Walton,
Please find attached the response to your request for an internal review
into your correspondence, reference 2009/0057579.
Yours sincerely,

Josephine Bell
Independent Schools Partnerships and Strategy Team

[email address]

Your correspondence requesting the internal review was allocated the
reference number 2009/0070044.

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.


Visible links

Mrs.J.E.Garrett left an annotation ()

Awww! Diddums, Mr.Badman has been harrassed and villified, well at least he hasn't been been egged or had his car scratched or anything which would REALLY show some kind of harrasment. How would he have survived in the era of Splitting Image.
Such a delicate flower shouldn't be in the realms of politics then should he.

But no matter the amount of villification, it is no reason to deny lawful FOI requests.

Elaine Walton left an annotation ()

I consider this freedom of information request to be still active ! the information commissioner has not accepted the DCSF reasoning re their refusal to answer and until such a time as the information commissioner makes a decision on the subject of dcsf refusals this foi request is live!

Mrs.J.E.Garrett left an annotation ()

Go straight to the information commisioner, the DCSF won't forward it for you. Hopefully the Information Commisioner will see this as what it is. A bunch of people trying to cover up their mess. If it isn't that, then all I can think it is, is a bunh of people having a childish strop because we have decided to question their authority. In other words, they don't like it so they are throwing their dummy out of the pram.

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

An article has been written on mySociety's blog about the response to this request:

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

A response to another request indicates that the original estimate for the total cost of the review was £72,000.

If the estimate can be published, why not the amount actually spent?

Elaine Walton left an annotation ()

Exactly Richard

ivanataylor left an annotation ()

Have a look at this and comment please everybody.

Owen Barber left an annotation ()

Now that the internal review is complete, you could try making a meta-request (a request for info about the treatment of your earlier request).

Ask for: All documents, meeting notes (formal or informal), telephone logs, emails and any and all other information held by the Department relating to the treatment of request 2009/0057579 and the decision to rely on section 38, including but not limited to the following topics: the Department's initial discovery of "harassment and vilification"; the dissemination of and any discussions of such discovery or such "harassment" with any other persons within or outside the Department; the determination that such "harassment" constituted a "campaign"; the determination that such "campaign" might be significant enough to meet the standard for section 38; the determination that it did indeed meet the standard (including the date of such determination, if not apparent from the documents); the determination to apply section 38 to FOI request 2009/0057579; the determinations that other information (as sought in those FOI requests made the subsequent to the publication of the Badman report and prior to the date of this request) "might intensify the campaign" and thus would be denied under section 38, including, if not apparent from the documents, every date on which such subsequent determinations were made that section 38 still applied; and any discussions or decisions concerning the level of Departmental resources applied to FOI requests.

That's a start; there may be other topics to add. Good luck.

Don't forget the redaction paragraph:
If the Department believes that any portion of any responsive document falls within any FOI exemption, then kindly redact the minimum necessary to comply with the exemption, disclose the remainder of the document, and provide in a redaction table or otherwise the reason for each redaction.

To anyone else reading this: don't make a meta-request until the internal review is complete, because the ICO has not upheld some on the basis that the issue was still "live".

Elaine Walton left an annotation ()

Thank you very much I will do that

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