Dear Neath Port Talbot County Borough 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).
*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.
I refer to your Freedom of Information request of the 20th July 2018, please find below Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s response.
We have a single license for the CaseWare IDEA Data Analysis software package version 10.1.0.33
Training & Support
Training manuals and materials are located on the company website; https://www.casewareanalytics.com/produc...
IDEA is used to analyse data sets in support of the activities of NPTCBC's Internal Audit Service.
Findings resulting from the use of IDEA can be used as part, or in support, of an Internal Audit report which would therefore be circulated to the appropriate stakeholders.
Data extracts are gathered from the relevant ICT database system/s.
The extracts are checked to ensure data is of a suitable quality to carry out an effective analysis.
Various analytical tests will be undertaken dependant on the scope of the audit in question. These might include; Data matching Identification of data entry errors Identification of missing data entries/gap detection Identification of duplicate records Identification of outlier records/values Identification of split payments Selection of random/targeted samples for further investigation
If you are dissatisfied with the response to your request, under the Authority's FOI Policy, you may appeal in writing setting out the reasons why you think the decision is erroneous, to the Authority's Monitoring Officer at the following address:-
Head of Legal Services & Monitoring Officer Civic Centre Port Talbot
[Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council request email]
In the event that you appeal and are dissatisfied with that response, you may then appeal direct to the Information Commissioner, whose address is:
[Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council request email]
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