Confirmation of compliance with current UK and EU legislation of 'guidance around information sharing'

Alison Preuss made this Freedom of Information request to Aberdeen City 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 successful.

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

I refer to the following excerpt from page 13 of this document http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files...

"Until recently the guidance around information sharing implied that information could only be shared without consent if there were concerns around child protection. That guidance has been clarified to reflect that the Data Protection Act 1998 provides conditions that allow for the sharing of information in several circumstances. This now means that if anyone has a concern about the wellbeing of a child or young person that could lead to them being at risk of harm then that person can share information without the consent of the child or their family."

Please provide a copy of the current 'guidance around information sharing' referred to above.

Please also provide a copy of the 'guidance around information sharing' which was previously in place, also referred to above.

Please provide details of changes to the UK Data Protection Act 1998 which prompted a change in guidance for Scotland only.

Is the current 'guidance around information sharing' statutory? If so, please provide details of the the enabling legislation.

Please confirm (yes or no) whether or not the UK Information Commissioner (in Wilmslow) has been consulted over the changes in Aberdeen City Council's 'guidance around information sharing'.

If so, has the UK ICO confirmed the compliance of this guidance with the UK Data Protection Act 1998? If not, and in view of the information sharing thresholds set down in the Haringey judgement [http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi..., what steps have been taken to ensure such compliance?

From page 13 of the above document, I further note that "all personal data in relation to pupils or their families which is held by the school or the Education Authority" is said to be handled in accordance with both the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality. Since this essentially contradicts the earlier excerpt, where 'guidance' permits personal data processing without regard to consent or necessity below any legally defined threshold, how does the council ensure its employees' compliance with the provisions of 'reserved' UK wide legislation and, in particular, the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC which references Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights?

Hypothetically speaking, where a social worker has confirmed there are no grounds for formal assessment or intervention in an individual's private family life, how might it be possible for a teacher or education officer to insist on such assessment at public expense in order to overrule the exercise of a lawful parenting decision?

Please cite the legislation *currently in force*, which permits a primary school teacher to gather and share sensitive personal data, including health, social work and police records (recent and historical) and hearsay, on children, parents and third parties without their knowledge or consent below the legally defined child protection threshold.

Finally, to whom should a member of the public report a concern about breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act and/or the common law duty of confidentiality by one or more council employees?

I look forward to your response within the statutory timescale.

Yours faithfully,

Alison Preuss

Alison Preuss left an annotation ()

Citation for Haringey judgement ( truncated above):
AB & Anor, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Haringey [2013] EWHC 416 (Admin) (13 March 2013)
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi...

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Preuss

 

Information enquiry reference FOI-15-1039 - Information sharing.

 

Thank you for your recent request for information, which we received on
21^st August 2015.   

 

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on
or before 18^th September 2015.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the
meantime.

 

Yours sincerely,

Jacqueline Gillanders

Information Compliance Officer

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
Lower Ground North (Hub 2)
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/522252/523602

Tel 08456 08 09 10

(The only charge for this call

will be your phone company’s access charge).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Preuss

 

Thank you for your information request of 21^st August 2015.  Aberdeen
City Council (ACC) has completed the necessary search for the information
requested.

 

I refer to the following excerpt from page 13 of this document
[1]http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files...

 

"Until recently the guidance around information sharing implied that
information could only be shared without consent if there were concerns
around child protection. That guidance has been clarified to reflect that
the Data Protection Act 1998 provides conditions that allow for the
sharing of information in several circumstances. This now means that if
anyone has a concern about the wellbeing of a child or young person that
could lead to them being at risk of harm then that person can share
information without the consent of the child or their family."

 

1.       Please provide a copy of the current 'guidance around information
sharing' referred to above.

 

2.       Please also provide a copy of the 'guidance around information
sharing' which was previously in place, also referred to above.

 

3.       Please provide details of changes to the UK Data Protection Act
1998 which prompted a change in guidance for Scotland only.

 

4.       Is the current 'guidance around information sharing' statutory?
If so, please provide details of the enabling legislation.

 

As the information required in Q 1-4 is otherwise accessible on Aberdeen
City Council website at the link below, it is exempt from disclosure.  In
order to comply with its obligations under the terms of Section 16 of the
FOISA, ACC hereby gives notice that we are refusing your request under the
terms of Section 25(1) - Information Otherwise Accessible - of the FOISA.

 

Please follow this link to the Aberdeen City Council page for further
information.
[2]http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/social_ca...

5.       Please confirm (yes or no) whether or not the UK Information
Commissioner (in Wilmslow) has been consulted over the changes in Aberdeen
City Council's 'guidance around information sharing'.

 

No the ICO would not normally be consulted over changes in guidance

 

6.       If so, has the UK ICO confirmed the compliance of this guidance
with the UK Data Protection Act 1998? If not, and in view of the 
information sharing thresholds set down in the Haringey judgement
[http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi..., what steps have
been taken to ensure such compliance?

 

Please refer to the attached document.

 

Not applicable

 

7.       From page 13 of the above document, I further note that "all
personal data in relation to pupils or their families which is held by the
school or the Education Authority" is said to be handled in accordance
with both the  Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of
confidentiality. Since this essentially contradicts the earlier excerpt,
where 'guidance' permits personal data processing without regard to
consent or necessity below any legally defined threshold, how does the
council ensure its employees' compliance with the provisions of 'reserved'
UK wide legislation and, in particular, the EU Data Protection Directive
95/46/EC which references Article 8 of the European Convention on Human
Rights?

 

As the information requested is otherwise accessible on the ACC website
(please see link below), it is exempt from disclosure.  In order to comply
with its obligations under the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC
hereby gives notice that we are refusing your request under the terms of
Section 25(1) - Information Otherwise Accessible - of the FOISA.

 

This information is accessible on the Aberdeen City Council website at: 
[3]http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/social_ca...

8.       Hypothetically speaking, where a social worker has confirmed
there are no grounds for formal assessment or intervention in an
individual's private family life, how might it be possible for a teacher
or education officer to insist on such assessment at public expense in
order to overrule the exercise of a lawful parenting decision?

 

ACC is unable to provide you with information on the requested information
as it is not held by ACC.  In order to comply with its obligations under
the terms of Section 17 of the FOISA, ACC hereby gives notice that this
information is not held by it. 

 

9.       Please cite the legislation *currently in force*, which permits a
primary school teacher to gather and share sensitive personal data,
including health, social work and police records (recent and historical)
and hearsay, on children, parents and third parties without their
knowledge or consent below the legally defined child protection threshold.

 

As the information requested is otherwise accessible on the ACC website
(please see link below), it is exempt from disclosure.  In order to comply
with its obligations under the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC
hereby gives notice that we are refusing your request under the terms of
Section 25(1) - Information Otherwise Accessible - of the FOISA.

 

This information is accessible on the Aberdeen City Council website at:
[4]http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/social_ca...

10.   Finally, to whom should a member of the public report a concern
about breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act
and/or the common law duty of confidentiality by one or more council
employees?

In the first instance any concerns regarding breaches by one or more
council employees should be directed to the Head of Legal Services. 

If still unsatisfied then please contact the ICO.
[5]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/

 

We hope this helps with your request.

 

Yours sincerely,

Jacqueline Gillanders

Information Compliance Officer

 

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANDLING OF YOUR REQUEST

ACC handled your request for information in accordance with the provisions
of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please refer to the
attached PDF for more information about your rights under FOISA.

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
First Floor Room 24

Town House
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[6][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/522252/523602

Tel 08456 08 09 10

(The only charge for this call

will be your phone company’s access charge).

[7]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files...
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/social_ca...
3. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/social_ca...
4. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/social_ca...
5. https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/
6. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
7. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/