Dear Barnet Borough Council,

We would like to know about the Fostering contracts awarded by the Council.

1) Could you please name all the Councils listed in the contract (if part of a Consortia)?
2) What we need are who are on the awarded list - for the various Tiers - and the value for each provider
3) Any public link where we may view information on this contract as & when it is updated

Thank you,
Regards,
Nikhil Prabhu

Brian Babu, Barnet Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 6022596

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Dear Mr Prabhu,
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 30 January
2020 

  

We will deal with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

Under the Act we must respond promptly and in any event within 20 working
days from the date we received your request.  We will respond to you by 27
February 2020

 

Please note the Act defines a limited set of exemptions from the right to
know.  If we decide not to release any information we shall explain why,
which exemption we are relying on and how you can appeal.

Please note: If you receive a request from us for clarification of your
request please respond to it by the date given.  We will not be able to
process your request if you do not provide the clarification asked for.

 

Yours sincerely
 
 
Brian Babu
Family Services

2 Bristol Avenue, Colindale, NW9 4EW

Barnet Online: [1]www.barnet.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/

Brian Babu, Barnet Borough Council

1 Attachment

 
Information request
Our reference: 6022596

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Dear Mr Prabhu,
 
Thank you for your request received on 30 January 2020, for the following
information:

We would like to know about the Fostering contracts awarded by the
Council.

1) Could you please name all the Councils listed in the contract (if part
of a Consortia)?

2) What we need are who are on the awarded list - for the various Tiers -
and the value for each provider

3) Any public link where we may view information on this contract as &
when it is updated

We have processed this request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Response

I can confirm that London Borough of Barnet holds the information you
requested. However, we consider that the following exemptions apply to
some of the information requested. The remaining information is not
withheld and is below.

 1. We would like to know about the Fostering contracts awarded by the
Council.

Could you please name all the Councils listed in the contract (if part
of a Consortia)?

 The Council is part of two consortia:

a.) West London Alliance. The Fostering Dynamic Purchasing vehicle is a
collaborative project for West London Councils: Ealing, Barnet,
Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and
Chelsea, Westminster, and any subsequent WLA members or qualifying Local
Authority to purchase independent fostering provision.

b.) We are applying Section 43 of the FOI exemptions in response to this
part of the FOI, for the reasons specified below;  

Refusal Notice

We consider that the qualified exemption set out in Section 43
(Prejudicial to commercial interests) subsection 2 applies to the
information requested and that the prejudice is likely to happen.

Therefore, we have decided to withhold the information.

In applying this exemption, we have had to balance the public interest in
withholding the information against the interest in favour of disclosure.

Alternatively, you may opt to contact London Care Placements to respond to
this part of the FOI at: [1]https://www.londoncareplacements.gov.uk/

 

      2. What we need are who are on the awarded list - for the various
Tiers - and the value for each provider;

 

The Tiers are as follows:

Core: Ages 0-15

Core: Ages 16-17

Parent & Child

Specialist

Placement costs vary across tiers and are negotiated on a per placements
basis.

We are applying Section 43 of the FOI exemptions in response to this part
of the FOI, for the reasons specified below

Refusal Notice

We consider that the qualified exemption set out in Section 43
(Prejudicial to commercial interests) subsection 2 applies to the
information requested and that the prejudice is likely to happen.

Therefore, we have decided to withhold the information.

In applying this exemption, we have had to balance the public interest in
withholding the information against the interest in favour of disclosure.

Alternatively, you may opt to contact London Care Placements for details
on their providers and costs in the email address provided in Q1.

A list of all providers on the West London DPV is included below. There
are currently 55 providers.

West London DPV Fostering Agencies Contact Awarded by organisation;

1 Affinity Fostering Services Ltd
2 Aim High Fostering Services
3 All4Ufostering
4 4. Apple Fostering
5 Banya Family Placement Agency
6 Barnardos
7 Be My Family Fostering Agency
8 Blue Sky Fostering
9 Brighter Futures Foster Care
10 By the Bridge Ltd (Fostering)
11 Capstone Foster Care SE Ltd
12 Care Today Parallel Parents
13 CareTech Community Services Ltd
14 Caring Hearts Fostering
15 Children First Fostering Agency
16 Chrysalis Care (Fostering)
17 Compass Group
18 Connect Fostering Service Ltd
19 Credo Care
20 Diverse Care (UK) Ltd
21 Diversity Foster Care Ltd
22 Ethelbert Children's Services
23 Family First Fostering
24 Family Works Fostering
25 Familyplacement.com
26 Fitzgerald Fostering & Consultancy Ltd
27 Five Rivers Child Care Ltd (Head
Office)
28 Foster Care Associates Ltd.
29 Foster Care Link Ltd.
30 Fostering Dimensions Ltd.
31 Fostering For You Ltd.
32 Fostering Innovations
33 Fostering UK
34 Fusion Fostering
35 Futures for Fostering Services Ltd.
36 Greater London Fostering
37 Health Farm Fostering
38 Horizon Fostering Services Ltd.
39 Integrated Services Programme (SP)
Fostering
40 Mosaic Foster Care Ltd.
41 NationalFostering Agency
42 Next Step Fostering Ltd.
43 NEXUS FOSTERING
44 Nurture Fostering Ltd.
45 Orange Grove Fostercare Ltd.
46 Parent and Child Fostering Assessments
47 Rainbow Fostering Services
48 Regional Fostering Services
49 Shine Fostering Ltd
50 St Christophers Fellowship
51 Sunbeam Fostering Agency Limited
52 Tact Fostering
53 UK Fostering
54 Wellcare Fostering Services Ltd
55 Xcel 2000 Ltd

 

3) Any public link where we may view information on this contract as &
when it is updated;

A previous DPR confirms the governance decision for the Council to award
contacts under the PV up to 31^st March 2024.

[2]https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieDecisio...

In applying this exemption, we have had to balance the public interest in
withholding the information against the interest in favour of disclosure.

In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining
the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Further information

If you are interested in the data that the council holds you may wish to
visit Open Barnet, the council’s data portal. This brings together all our
published datasets and other information of interest on one searchable
database for anyone, anywhere to access.  [3]http://open.barnet.gov.uk/
Advice and Assistance : Direct Marketing

If you are a company that intends to use the names and contact details of
council officers (or other officers) provided in this response for direct
marketing, you need to be registered with the Information Commissioner to
process personal data for this purpose.  You must also check that the
individual (whom you wish to contact for direct marketing purposes) is not
registered with one of the Preference Services to prevent Direct
Marketing. If they are you must adhere to this preference. You must also
ensure you comply with the Privacy Electronic and Communications
Regulations (PECR). For more information follow this Link
 [4]www.ico.org.uk For the avoidance of doubt the provision of council
(and other) officer names and contact details under FOI does not give
consent to receive direct marketing via any media and expressly does not
constitute a ‘soft opt-in’ under PECR. 

Your rights  

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request a review within the next 40 working days by
writing to the Information Management Team at: [Barnet Borough Council request email]. Or by
post to Information Management Team (FOI) London Borough of Barnet, 2
Bristol Avenue, Colindale, NW9 4EW

 

If, having exhausted our review procedure, you remain dissatisfied with
the handling of your request or complaint, you will have a right to appeal
to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 0303
123 1113; website [5]www.ico.org.uk).  There is no charge for making an
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely
 
Brian Babu
Family Services

2 Bristol Avenue, Colindale, NW9 4EW

Barnet Online: [6]www.barnet.gov.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.londoncareplacements.gov.uk/
2. https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieDecisio...
3. http://open.barnet.gov.uk/
4. http://www.ico.org.uk/
5. http://www.ico.org.uk/
6. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/

Dear Barnet Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Barnet Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'CYP Foster Care contract details'.

[ GIVE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR COMPLAINT HERE ]
Dear Reviewer,

We would like to appeal this refusal as we do not believe it constitutes an exemption applied under Section 43 (Prejudicial to commercial interests) subsection 2.

Several other Councils, as well Fostering Consortia have published similar information under FOI and it is in public interest to disclose this information. There is no "personal sensitive" or safeguarding information (for eg. names of Children or Carers) being revealed here nor is there any threat of it being disclosed. All we are asking for are the contract details per IFA, with the tiers, lots & values awarded to each IFA.

This information is available for most services and by most councils - Withholding this information on Social Care contracts underlines that the Council is not being open about its finances - And whether taxpayers are getting best value for money.

The Council already publishes it's spend via Open Barnet, the council’s data portal http://open.barnet.gov.uk/. By virtue of that fact, this request cannot be prejudicial to commercial interests, since the spend data contains payments made to commercial suppliers including IFAs!!

PS:
1) It appears that a standard template rejection letter has been used without consideration of what we are asking and as such, we feel taxpayers are not receiving value for money if such practices are being followed for Freedom of Information requests. Taxpayers surely would want to know which IFAs have been awarded contracts.
2) We are not Direct Marketing nor are we a media company.
3) We are a company building AI in the HSC (Health & Social Care) space

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,
nikhil prabhu

Freedom of Information Act, Barnet Borough Council

This is an automated message.

 

Thank you for contacting Barnet Council's FOI team. If you have submitted
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Jon Hill, Barnet Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 6022596

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Prabhu
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 5 February 2020. I'm
sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the council's response to your
information request.
               
We will now conduct an internal review.  The review will be independent
and impartial, will reconsider the merits of the case and will identify
any errors in the handling of your request.
 
We aim to complete internal reviews promptly and in any event within 20
working days from receipt of a complaint.  In exceptional cases we may
take longer, but we will not exceed 40 working days.  This is in line
with  guidance issued by the Information Commissioner.  
 
If, following our review, you are still unhappy with the way we have
applied the Act, you can appeal directly to the Information Commissioner
at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45;
website: [1]https://ico.org.uk/). There is no charge for making an appeal.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Jon Hill
Transparency & Open Data Manager
Information Management Team

2 Bristol Avenue, Colindale, NW9 4EW

Barnet Online: [2]www.barnet.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/
2. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/

Dear Jon Hill,

May I request an update?

Yours sincerely,
nikhil prabhu

Jon Hill, Barnet Borough Council

Dear Mr Prabhu,
 
Thank you for your email. I am awaiting a response from the service on
this matter. Unfortunately, during the current circumstances, there may be
delays in responses, especially in those services that deal with social
care matters.
 
I realise that your case predates this, and I apologise for the prior
delay. I am still committed to providing you with a response on this
matter as soon as further information from the service becomes available.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Jon HIll

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Jon Hill,

May I request an update?

Yours sincerely,
nikhil prabhu

show quoted sections

Dear Jon Hill,

I understand & Thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,
nikhil prabhu

Jon Hill, Barnet Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 6022596

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Prabhu
 

I write further to your request for an internal review of your request for
information. I apologise for the delay in this response.

 

Your request for review

 

We would like to appeal this refusal as we do not believe it constitutes
an exemption applied under Section 43 (Prejudicial to commercial
interests) subsection 2.

 

Several other Councils, as well Fostering Consortia have published similar
information under FOI and it is in public interest to disclose this
information. There is no "personal sensitive" or safeguarding information
(for eg. names of Children or Carers) being revealed here nor is there any
threat of it being disclosed. All we are asking for are the contract
details per IFA, with the tiers, lots & values awarded to each IFA.

 

This information is available for most services and by most councils -
Withholding this information on Social Care contracts underlines that the
Council is not being open about its finances - And whether taxpayers are
getting best value for money.

 

The Council already publishes it's spend via Open Barnet, the council's
data portal http://open.barnet.gov.uk/. By virtue of that fact, this
request cannot be prejudicial to commercial interests, since the spend
data contains payments made to commercial suppliers including IFAs!!

 

PS:

1) It appears that a standard template rejection letter has been used
without consideration of what we are asking and as such, we feel taxpayers
are not receiving value for money if such practices are being followed for
Freedom of Information requests. Taxpayers surely would want to know which
IFAs have been awarded contracts.

2) We are not Direct Marketing nor are we a media company.

3) We are a company building AI in the HSC (Health & Social Care) space 

 

I have undertaken the internal review and the outcome of my review is set
out below.

 

Response

 

I have reviewed the council's response in consultation with the Family
Services department, and can confirm that I am partly upholding the
council's response.

 

I have noted a number of errors, both in terms of the response process and
in relation to the legislation.

 

 1. Process

 

Our system and our procedures require the officer concerned to draft FOI
responses within an automated template which then generates a pdf,
allowing for an anonymised response to be both sent to the requestor and
published on our disclosure log. This document is then attached to an
email from the officer to the requestor. However, in this case, the
officer drafted the response in the email and sent a blank template as an
attachment. This was an error on the part of the officer and the correct
procedure has now been communicated.

 

 1. Legislation

 

Whilst the section 43(2) exemption was applied in your response, the
refusal notice was not compliant with the FOIA. As it is a qualified
exemption, s43(2) requires that a public interest test be conducted. No
public interest test was included with the response, and the s43(2)
refusal itself did not provide any details as to why the exemption
applied. This was therefore a failure on the part of the council, and I
apologise on the council's behalf.

 

In light of the above, I have reviewed the information that was withheld
in response to your request, namely the value of each provider listed in
the contract. However, I can confirm that I am maintaining the application
of the section 43(2) exemption, as I believe that the release of this
exemption would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of both
providers and the council. This email therefore acts as a Refusal Notice.

 

The release of this information would be highly likely to have a
prejudicial impact on the competitive nature of the procurement vehicles
which are set up to try to deliver the best placement for the best value,
as it would allow competitors to gain an unfair advantage, whilst also
impacting the council's ability to receive best value.

 

In applying this exemption, we have had to balance the public interest in
withholding the information against the interest in favour of disclosure.

 

Factors in favour of disclosure

 

* Furthering the understanding, and participation in the public debate of
issues

* Facilitate the accountability and transparency of public authorities for
decisions taken

* Facilitate accountability and transparency in the spending of public
money

* Allowing individuals to understand decisions made by public authorities
affecting their lives and, in some cases, assist individuals in
challenging those decisions

 

Factors in favour of maintaining the exemption

 

* Council position in a competitive environment, market sensitivity of
information and

potential usefulness to competitors

* Negative effect on competitiveness if competitors were to have access to
information

 

In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining
the exemption

outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information

 

Your rights

 
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
 
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: [1]www.ico.org.uk 
There is no charge for making an appeal.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Jon Hill
Transparency & Open Data Manager
Information Management Team

2 Bristol Avenue, Colindale, NW9 4EW

Barnet Online: [2]www.barnet.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/
2. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/