Data Justice Lab

Dear Medway 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, Medway Council

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Medway Council. This response is to acknowledge your email has been received. If this is an initial request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environmental Information Regulations 2004, you can expect to receive a response within 20 working days.

If your email relates to a current request for information, your email will be forwarded to the relevant case officer.

Should your email be because you are dissatisfied with the way we have processed your request the Council has an internal review process and your email will be forwarded to the Information Governance Team for review, you should receive a response within 20 working days.

If you remain dissatisfied you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioners' Office (ICO) www.ico.org.uk/concerns

Thank you.

Ayo Adediran
Information Governance Paralegal
Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council Shared Legal Services

Office Base: Gun Wharf | Dock Road | Chatham |ME4 4TR
Email: [email address]
www.medway.gov.uk
01634 332106

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may contain sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly.

Nothing in this email message amounts to a contractual or other legal commitment on the part of Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council. If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted immediately.

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

All Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council and PSN traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

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freedom, Medway Council

Dear Data Justice Labs,

Further to your request for information 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.

Your request is too broad as it currently stands as the Council has more than 55 services which would mean that the time required to check with services, and where relevant collate all of the information you require would exceed the time limit for responding to the FOI. Are you able to be more specific in your request in order for the Council to be able to respond to you?

Can you provide a definition of what you mean by data analytics, predictive analytics and algorithmic automated systems?
You are requesting a large range of outputs regarding each system, are you able to narrow that down to the key elements you require?

Kind regards

Kayleigh Williams
Information Governance Apprentice
Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council Gun Wharf Dock Road Chatham
ME4 4TR
www.medway.gov.uk
[Medway Council request email]
01634 332044

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may contains sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly.
Nothing in this email message amounts to a contractual or other legal commitment on the part of Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council. If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted immediately.
Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail. All Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council and PSN traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

Our Ref: DocumentOwner\MFOI005341\DocumentRef

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Dear Kayleigh Williams,

Thank you for following up our request.

Principally, we are attempting to gain an overview of the data analytic, etc., technologies detailed in our original request. We would be grateful if you could prioritise your efforts in this direction if a Section 12 exemption seems likely.

We are particularly interested in systems where some aspect of a government function is automated, even if in a seemingly benign or mundane way. This could include data linkage exercises, predictive systems, risk scoring systems, dashboards, etc. We appreciate our definitions are broad, but this is to attempt to learn about systems we might not otherwise know of the existence of.

Yours sincerely,

Data Justice Lab

freedom, Medway Council

1 Attachment

Good afternoon,

Please accept Medway Council's apology for the delay in sending our response to your Freedom of Information request.

Please see attached Medway Council's response

Kind regards

Kayleigh Williams
Information Governance Apprentice
Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council
Gun Wharf
Dock Road
Chatham
ME4 4TR
www.medway.gov.uk
[Medway Council request email]
01634 332044

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed.  It may contains sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly.Nothing in this email message amounts to a contractual or other legal commitment on the part of Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council. If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted immediately.Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail. All Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council and PSN traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

Our Ref: DocumentOwner\MFOI005341\DocumentRef

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