Data Justice Lab

Dear East Lothian Council,

We are submitting the following Freedom of Information Request for documents relating to uses of data analytics, predictive analytics, or algorithmic automated systems used for risk assessment, scoring systems or automated decision making within the jurisdiction of your authority. This could include the use of these data systems in order to draw insights from large and integrated datasets, or to influence decisions about resources, funding or service delivery. This could include, but may not be limited to, uses of predictive analytics in child welfare, health care, adult social care, fraud detection, or policing.

Specifically, we are requesting:

· Any briefing notes, reports, evaluations, or summaries concerning uses of algorithmically driven data systems. Ideally this would include information about software, hardware, operations and types of data

· Any overviews about how system outputs are produced.

· Any training manuals or materials (e.g. slides, etc.) for staff about data collection, analysis, assessment and reporting as related to the use of the systems.

. Any impact assessments

· Any data visualisation outputs connected to the systems.

· Any promotional material, presentation material, or staff educational material related to the systems.

. Any contracts relating to the systems. We argue that the release of contracts does not compromise commercial sensitivity. The full argument is provided below.*

Also, please note we are not requesting datasets or any data about individuals.

Please let us know if any information requires clarifying.

We would like to receive electronic copies of this information.

All the very best,

Data Justice Lab

Please note that we are following the Information Commissioner’s guidance on the Freedom of Information Act which specifies that requests can be made by organisations and there is no need for a named individual (pages 9-10, sections 38-39).
Source: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

*Addressing the commercial sensitivity question:
a) Section 20 of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘Local Government Transparency Code 2015’, which encourages greater transparency in the public interest, notes:

‘The Government has not seen any evidence that publishing details about contracts entered into by local authorities would prejudice procurement exercises or the interests of commercial organisations, or breach commercial confidentiality unless specific confidentiality clauses are included in contracts. Local authorities should expect to publish details of contracts newly entered into – commercial confidentiality should not, in itself, be a reason for local authorities to not follow the provisions of this Code’.

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk... (page 9, section 20)

b) There is always the potential for a company in any area to act in bad faith, but this should not be a reason to deny access to information about how public money is spent.

c) Contract and tendering details are provided regularly by a range of government bodies in the public interest. For example, many police and fire services release contractual information through the Bluelight database ( https://www.blpd.gov.uk/foi/foi.aspx ).

d) There may be core aspects of the systems contracted that have competitive commercial value and we appreciate that such details will be redacted from any documents released. We argue that commercial interests will not be compromised by revealing other details that may be provided in contracts or related communications with contracted companies. Details that could be released include details about the existence of a system, it's purpose, the tasks being contracted, continued relationships, general descriptions, types of data being used, how this data is shared.

Freedom Of Information, East Lothian Council

Thank you for your email.

This automated message is East Lothian Council’s acknowledgement that your information request has been received and is receiving attention.

Please note that we are currently experiencing a high volume of information requests so it may not always be possible for us to respond to your enquiry as quickly as we would like. Please be assured, however, that we will respond to you as soon as we can. The statutory time scales for responses are as follows:

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 20 working days
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 20 working days
Internal Reviews 20 working days

Thank you

Freedom of Information Team
Licensing, Administration and Democratic Services
East Lothian Council
John Muir House
Haddington
EH41 3HA

Tel: 01620 827623
Email: [East Lothian Council request email]<mailto:[East Lothian Council request email]>

Information about East Lothian Council’s complaints procedure can be found here<https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/2105...>.

Details of your rights to requesting information from East Lothian Council are published here<http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/704/d...>.

The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for the enforcement of Scotland's freedom of information laws. Guidance regarding your rights of access to information held by Scottish public authorities is available on the Commissioner’s website<http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/>.

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Freedom Of Information, East Lothian Council

Our Ref: 2018/529847

Dear Sir or Madam,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002
ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2004

Thank you for your enquiry of 20th July.

On behalf of East Lothian Council I wish to apologise for the delay in responding to your information request.

In order for East Lothian Council to begin processing your request, please provide your full name. Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, requests for information are only valid if the applicant provides their real name and a contact address. I have provided an extract from the website of the Scottish Information Commissioner for your information:

Do I have to provide my real name and my full address when I ask for information?

The FOI Act says that a request must include the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence. In terms of your address, either your full postal address or your email address will be fine.

You will need to provide your full real name. If you don't use your real name the authority won't have to provide the information, and you won't be able to appeal to the Commissioner. At the very least, your request should include your initial and your surname.

If you send your request by email, remember to put your name in the text of the email. Even if your name appears in your email address (e.g. [email address]) you must add your name to the text of your request, so that it is clear who the email is from.

Upon receipt of this information I will register your enquiry and refer it to the appropriate department for action.

Yours faithfully

William Kelley
Freedom of Information Team
Licensing, Administration and Democratic Services
East Lothian Council
John Muir House
Haddington
EH41 3HA

Tel: 01620 827623
Email: [East Lothian Council request email]

Information about East Lothian Council’s complaints procedure can be found here.

Details of your rights to requesting information from East Lothian Council are published here.

The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for the enforcement of Scotland's freedom of information laws. Guidance regarding your rights of access to information held by Scottish public authorities is available on the Commissioner’s website.

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Dear William Kelley,

Thank you for your response.

In regards to a name, please refer to the section of our request where we address this and provide a link to guidance provided by the Information Commissioner's Office. Here is the relevant section again:

"Please note that we are following the Information Commissioner’s guidance on the Freedom of Information Act which specifies that requests can be made by organisations and there is no need for a named individual (pages 9-10, sections 38-39).
Source: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... "

Furthermore, the Scottish Information Commissioner, in reference to the name attached to an FOI request, notes:

'The FOI Act does not prohibit ... organisations making requests on their own behalf’
Source: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/FAQ/G...

Yours sincerely,

Data Justice Lab

Freedom Of Information, East Lothian Council

Thank you for your email.

This automated message is East Lothian Council’s acknowledgement that your information request has been received and is receiving attention. The statutory timescales for responses are as follows:

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

20 working days

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

20 working days

Internal Reviews

20 working days

Unfortunately we are currently facing a backlog of requests, however, please be assured that we are working towards resolving this and will respond to you just as soon as we can. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Thank you

Freedom of Information Team
Licensing, Administration and Democratic Services
East Lothian Council
John Muir House
Haddington
EH41 3HA

Tel: 01620 827623
Email: [East Lothian Council request email]<mailto:[East Lothian Council request email]>

Information about East Lothian Council’s complaints procedure can be found here<https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/2105...>.

Details of your rights to requesting information from East Lothian Council are published here<http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/704/d...>.

The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for the enforcement of Scotland's freedom of information laws. Guidance regarding your rights of access to information held by Scottish public authorities is available on the Commissioner’s website<http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/>.

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Freedom Of Information, East Lothian Council

Our Ref:  2018/529847

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2004

 

Thank you for your email of 17 September.

 

I note your comments and would confirm that, as a Scottish Public
Authority, East Lothian Council (ELC) follows the guidance issued by the
Scottish Information Commissioner:
[1]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Law/F...

 

In order to assist you, however, I can confirm that ELC does not use any
data analytics, predictive analytics or algorithmic automated systems for
risk assessment, scoring systems or automated decision making. 

 

Yours faithfully

 

Shelley Neville

Freedom of Information Team

Licensing, Administration and Democratic Services

East Lothian Council

John Muir House

Haddington

EH41 3HA

 

Tel: 01620 827623

Email: [2][East Lothian Council request email]

 

Information about East Lothian Council’s complaints procedure can be found
[3]here.

 

Details of your rights to requesting information from East Lothian Council
are published [4]here.

 

The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for the enforcement
of Scotland's freedom of information laws.  Guidance regarding your rights
of access to information held by Scottish public authorities is available
on the Commissioner’s [5]website.

 

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