Comparative statistics requested: school pupils and home educated children on "at risk" registers

A White made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Children, Schools and Families

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

This request relates to the following statement made by Graham Badman on behalf of the DCSF and reported in the media yesterday (11 June 2009): "Children educated at home are twice as likely to be on social services registers for being at risk of abuse as the rest of the population."

I hereby request under the Freedom of Information Act full details of the statistical evidence on which Mr Badman bases this assertion.

In particular, please supply copies of all statistical returns from English local authorities and other agencies to the DCSF which indicate the educational status (school or electively home educated) of school aged children on their "at risk" registers.

If, for any reason, Mr Badman's contention was not based on direct evidence from English local authorties, please supply copies of the comparative evidence on which he based his statistically based assertion that "children educated at home are twice as likely to be on social services registers for being at risk of abuse as the rest of the population".

If, for any reason, Mr Badman's contention was not based on statistical evidence from any source, please provide copies of any anecdotal "evidence" suppled to him by English local authorities and other agencies which formed the basis for his statistically based assertion that "children educated at home are twice as likely to be on social services registers for being at risk of abuse as the rest of the population".

Finally, please confirm that Mr Badman's contention, and all evidence used to support his contention, relates only to children of compulsory education age, since electively home educated children are by definition all of compulsory education age.

Yours faithfully,

A White

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear A White

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
2009/0052752.

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0870 0002288
www.dcsf.gov.uk

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Shena Deuchars left an annotation ()

I am also very interested in this information. I have asked DCFS for it (but did not make it into an FoI). It seems very strange that Government will release some information only if they receive an FoI request - if they know that we can get it under FoI, why not release it when asked?

M Stafford left an annotation ()

I am watching very closely, I have rarely seen such sloppy work as the Badman review.

Sarah Dickinson left an annotation ()

I will also be following this closely.

Tania Berlow left an annotation ()

IF ENOUGH PEOPLE PUT ENOUGH FOI REQUESTS IN AND GO TO THE ICO WITH OUR CONCERNS THAT FOI'S ARE BEING TURNED DOWN UNDER SECTION 36 THEN WE MAY GET SOMEWHERE

ALL WE ARE ASKING FOR IS STATISTICS NOT REAL CASES. FOR EXAMPLE , THE STATISTICS ABOUT HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE 'KNOWN TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES ' IS BROKEN DOWN IN THE LAMING REPORT WHY NOT THE BADMAN REPORT?

Roger Machin left an annotation ()

The Badman Report appears to be based on hearsay and misrepresentation. There appears to be no evidential or statistical base whatsoever for Badman's extraordinary recommendations. It is therefore essential that this FOI request is successful.

M Stafford left an annotation ()

Badman has used quotations selectively to imply that the respondents to the review said the opposite of what they actually said.

His report is deceptive and dishonest and it's implementation will waste an enormous amount of taxpayers money and direct resources away from where they are really needed.

What we really need is better training and resources for the many social workers and others who saw Baby P so many times yet missed such horrific ongoing abuse.

We need an answer to this FOI

Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Dear Mr White,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 12 June
2009. You requested - in relation to the statement reported in the media
that "Children educated at home are twice as likely to be on social
services registers for being at risk of abuse as the rest of the
population" - `full details of the statistical evidence on which Mr
Badman bases this assertion' .

You also asked for `copies of all the statistical returns from English
local authorities and other agencies to the DCSF which indicate the
educational status (school or electively home educated) of school aged
children on their "at risk" registers'.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
("the Act").

A copy of the information which can be disclosed in response to your first
request is enclosed in the Annex.

The information supplied to you is protected by the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. Any documents produced by government officials will be
covered by Crown Copyright. You are free to use the information for your
own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for
the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder and is
regulated by the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. You
can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright at:

Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU

Email: [1][email address]

The Department holds further information within scope of your second
request but it is being withheld because the following absolute exemptions
under the Act apply to it:

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. Data are `personal data' if, taken with `other
information' they enable a living individual to whom the data relate to be
identified.

Section 41 (information provided in confidence) is engaged because this
information was imparted in circumstances whereby those providing it did
so in the expectation that it would remain confidential because of its
very nature. The Department therefore considers that disclosure of it to
the public would constitute an actionable breach of confidence.

In addition the following qualified exemption, requiring a public interest
test, is engaged:

Section 38(1)(a) and (b) this section 38 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
accountability.

Conversely, it is reasonable to expect that the release of any information
which might lead to the identification of the families of those registered
as at risk might result in a deterrent effect to participation in, and
co-operation with, the appropriate safeguarding processes in the future,
leading to increased risk to vulnerable children. Under certain
circumstances unlawful action might be taken against those thought to be
in some way culpable. Such action could never be justified, nor would
release of information leading to identification or possibly to
misidentification of individuals. The most effective precaution which
could be taken to prevent anticipated danger to individuals lies in not
disclosing information which could put them at risk.

Having carried out the balancing test, the Department takes the view that
it is not in the public interest for the any of the further information to
be released.

If you have any queries about this letter, 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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Shena Deuchars left an annotation ()

Can I suggest that you follow up by asking them:
- why this annex was not released with the report?
- to release the whole of the annex?
- did the other 35 LAs simply not answer the question, or did they say that they had 0 EHE children known to social care?
- of the 477 EHE children 'known to social care', what percentage are known because of
-s17
-s37
-s47
-any other reason?

In fact, I think I'll put in a new FoI for that info too.

M Stafford left an annotation ()

And Badman dismissed excellent research because of a small sample size, how many of these cases were malicious referals or ignorant ones because people saw children not in school?

How many are know because of SEN and a need for services?

How many are known because of childminding or fostering?

We need an answer to these questions because FOI responses to home educators re abuse are painting a very different picture.

See here:

http://tiny.cc/FsF1s

Shena Deuchars left an annotation ()

Sorry, that should have read *65* LAs - 90-25=65! You may have noticed anyway, but I did not want to cause confusing by someone asking a question with the wrong number in it.

M Stafford left an annotation ()

Evil man

[Name removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I smell several large and smelly rats

I Cooper left an annotation ()

If I have understood correctly, comparison of the information supplied by the DSCF, above, with the statistics obtained from individual LAs and compiled at http://tiny.cc/FsF1s (quoted by M Stafford above) shows that the Badman report has used "known to social care" figures which do not correlate with figures for actual abuse.

The figures used by Badman show that twice as many EHE children are "known to social care" while the abovementioned figures for actual abuse show that abuse in the EHE community is in fact approximately half the abuse rate for all UK children.

We therefore need to know why the two sets of statistics are uncorrelated and why Badman chose to use only the set of statistics which give a poor impression of the EHE community, since this is appears to be misleading and damaging to the EHE community as well as supporting a certain political agenda.

I would be grateful if someone could confirm that my interpretation of these figures is correct.

Tania Berlow left an annotation ()

Active groups of home educators themselves went to their local authorities and asked specific questions (as well as asking for the responses they gave to the Badman report)

The stats the home educators got (most LA's did give out the information and only a few refused under section 36) show a different picture.

Badman chose only 25 local authorities out of 90 who responded.
More than 25 responded to the review but possibly for this question either said 'no cases' or not answered at all.
So Badman took any LA that did have cases and multiplied by the number of La's total!

That is not sloppy work - that is dishonest and will be reported as a such.
A similar comparison would be looking at the rates in children attending great Ormond street and multipling that rate by the amount of hospitals in the uk and declaring that 6.75% need opearrations nationwi

These children that are known to social services may be children who have special education needs and have been taken out of school precisiely because the LA was failing these kids. Can also be children who have been bullied and therefore before a decision to home educate was made, the local council was involved. Also included would be refferals which turn out to be nothing more than neighbours concerned because the kids do not go to school.

If you take only children known to social services because of on going concerns over abuse and neglect whwere there is any kind of follow up /on and substantiation to concerns or educational concerns whihc have been substantiated then you get the figures that the home educators have in their surveys.

The Laming report has figures of children who have care plans or substantiated abuse or neglect.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for providing some limited information in response to my FOI request.

Claimed exemptions aside (which I will challenge via an internal review in the first instance), you have not answered my specific request for statistical evidence in relation to school aged electively home educated children on local authority "at risk" registers. Instead, you responded with limited information about children known to "social care" which was not what was asked.

The national media have reported a contention by Mr Badman that electively home educated children are disproportionately "at risk", a contention which may as well be a fabrication (by Mr Badman and/or LAs) in the absence of observable hard evidence open to public scrutiny.

I trust you will now be able to respond with the relevant statistics about children "at risk" (those known to social care are not defined as "at risk") as provided by LAs to Mr Badman. If unable to do so, the statistics collected directly from LAs and analysed by Action for Home Education must stand as definitive evidence of the fact that home educated children are far less likely to be "at risk" than those who are schooled. See http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=r...

I now look forward to your response to my actual questions.

Yours faithfully,

A White

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 'Comparative statistics requested: school pupils and home educated children on "at risk" registers'.

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

Yours faithfully,

A White

Elaine Greenwood-Hyde left an annotation ()

The Department for Children, Schools and families should answer this question immediately. Witholding this information only deepens the view that the term 'known to social care' was used deliberatly in the knowledge that the press, other organisations and the general public would assume it meant 'at risk' whereas 'known to social care' covers a vast number of children only a small amount of whom are considered to be at risk.

Action for Home Education's (AHEd) figures show so far that the number of children known to be at risk is actually far lower than that found in the general population.

Roger Machin left an annotation ()

There is no reason for the DCSF to be withholding this information unless it is trying to prevent Graham Badman from being exposed as a liar.

A White left an annotation ()

The conflation was deliberate, just as it was with Morgan, Balls and Patel of the NSPCC when the review was first announced as an investigation of HE as a possible "cover for abuse". This FOI request did not seek information about children known to "social care" but about children who are on "at risk" (of significant harm) registers, where HE children have been shown to be statistically under represented.

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mr White

I am sorry not to have replied before now. The issue which you raise
will be considered at the Internal Review of our response to your
earlier request. The Review is being arranged as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Partridge
Information Rights Manager, DCSF

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Shena Deuchars left an annotation ()

Another part of the annex has been released in response to http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/lo.... There is analysis and comment about it on the AHEd wiki at http://ahed.pbworks.com/LiesDamnedLiesSt....

M Stafford left an annotation ()

Surely the time limit for internal review is up and this should go immediately to the Information Commissioner.

Dear Andrew Partridge,

Why is this internal review taking so long?

Yours faithfully,

A White

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

Ms Wilson, please stop spamming the Badman review questions, this is not the place for family court ranting. Our cases do not have much to do with family courts and your ranting is reducing the impact of our legitimate concerns.

Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Dear A White,
Please find attached the response to your request for an internal review
into your correspondence, reference 2009/0052752.
Yours sincerely,

Josephine Bell
Independent Schools Partnerships and Strategy Team
[email address]
[1]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0062926.

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

References

Visible links
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Tania Berlow left an annotation ()

hello. I have the returns of 19 of the 25 LA's who responded to the in depth questionnaire which was used to gather the statistics - Bexley is missing and they have asked the DCSF to supply it to them again .
Derbyshire, Gloucester shire, Kent, Shropshire and Wolverhampton are missing . See my FOI which asks for the list of the 25 that completed the questionnaire.
T Berlow