DfE - Breast is Best

Wayne Pearsall made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Waiting for an internal review by Department for Education of their handling of this request.

Dear Department for Education,

Since the public health minister Tessa Jowell first launched a campaign in May 1999 which was aimed at encouraging more mothers to breastfeed their babies... There have been a number of campains by the NHS / DoH / DfE outlining the slogan "Breast is Best" refering to the fact that it is infact in a baby / child's best interest to be breast fed.

1) Can you please provide me with the most recent publications which outline this fact, which are easily accessible. For example: (a) Advertisement / Video's, (b) Posters, (c) Leaflets.

I am happy to be directed to an Internet URL such as YouTube for videos. However, should you require my postal address to ease the release of the information then I am happy to provide such information to yourself.

I would however, prefer the release to be in a digital format if this is possible - but with the obvious size of Videos ETC, I assume it would be easier to post a CD/DVD of the video files).

2) As the government actually make the statement that "Breast is Best", (a) are there any reports held by yourselves that outline this fact. (b) if so, can you please provide me with a copy of such reports.

I am aware that this information may well be produced by the DoH. However, as the DfE is responsible for EDUCATION, it seems clear that publication of leaflets / flyers ETC for SureStart centres who educate parents would be the responsibility of the DfE.

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsell

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0051338

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 12
August. Your request was as follows:

Since the public health minister Tessa Jowell first launched a campaign in
May 1999 which was aimed at encouraging more mothers to breastfeed their
babies... There have been a number of campains by the NHS / DoH / DfE
outlining the slogan "Breast is Best" refering to the fact that it is
infact in a baby / child's best interest to be breast fed.

1) Can you please provide me with the most recent publications which
outline this fact, which are easily accessible.  For example: (a)
Advertisement / Video's, (b) Posters, (c) Leaflets.
I am happy to be directed to an Internet URL such as YouTube for videos. 
However, should you require my postal address to ease the release of the
information then I am happy to provide such information to yourself.

I would however, prefer the release to be in a digital format if this is
possible - but with the obvious size of Videos ETC, I assume it would be
easier to post a CD/DVD of the video files).

2) As the government actually make the statement that "Breast is Best",
(a) are there any reports held by yourselves that outline this fact. (b)
if so, can you please provide me with a copy of such reports.

I am aware that this information may well be produced by the DoH. 
However, as the DfE is responsible for EDUCATION, it seems clear that
publication of leaflets / flyers ETC for SureStart centres who educate
parents would be the responsibility of the DfE.
Your request has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

 

Following a search of the department’s paper and electronic records, it
has been established that the information you requested is not held by
this department. 

Please contact the Department of Health who may be able to help you. Their
contact details can be found via the following link: 

[1]www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the department.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the department within two calendar months of the date
of this email. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review
panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your
request. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0051338. If
you need to respond to us, please visit [2]www.education.gov.uk/contactus
and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our
customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your
comments via our website at: [3]www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey

Yours sincerely

On behalf of the head of the Ministerial and Public Communications
Division
[4]www.education.gov.uk

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Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'DfE - Breast is Best'.

Thank you for your refusal to provide the requested information to myself on the 15th August 2013. I am writing to you today, on the 15th August 2013 to request my internal review of your response.

From seeing the following document on your website:
http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...

It appears clear that the following term from your guidance containing the text:
---
For example, breastfeeding gives babies all the nutrients they need and provides both mother and baby with a range of health benefits. The current advice is to continue for six months or longer.
---

Would clearly fall within scope of my request. I therefore doubt that your (rather quick) search of your stored data has actually been detailed enough. A quick search of google for the term "Department for Education Breast Feeding" actually gave me the document listed above on the very first SERP and infact as link.
http://pearsall.eu/2013/08/department-fo...

The very first result being the Thesaurus Term for Breastfeeding. This term inturn links through to the related content: 'Diet and nutrition in Early Years' from 26 April 2012. The most useful piece of information on this page clearly states the following:

------------
Infancy and childhood are of critical importance in the development of healthy bodies and habits. For example, breastfeeding gives babies all the nutrients they need and provides both mother and baby with a range of health benefits. The current advice is to continue for six months or longer.
-----------

Whilst I understand that it could well be the fact that this information is exempt under Section 21 of the FOI Act, the notice stated that no information was held. This is clearly untrue. I am obviously asking for an internal review on this basis. As I have found this information by a very simple Google search, it appears clear that the DfE hold information on this subject.

I consider the fact that this information is clearly a publication. My very first question was:

----
1) Can you please provide me with the most recent publications which outline this fact, which are easily accessible. ***For example***:
(a) Advertisement / Video's, (b) Posters, (c) Leaflets.
----

Infact, after using the search feature on your own website for the term "Breastfeeding":

I come up with the following results...
http://www.education.gov.uk/search/resul...

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall 

Thank you for your follow up letter, requesting an internal review of the
Department’s handling of your FOI request ‘DfE – Breast is Best’, which
was received on 15 August.

We are dealing with your request and will respond in the near future. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0051806. If you
have any queries about this letter, please visit
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

 

Yours sincerely,

On behalf of the Childcare, Special Educational Needs and Childcare
Strategy policy family
 
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall 

Thank you for your follow up letter, requesting an internal review of the
Department’s handling of your FOI request ‘DfE – Breast is Best’, which
was received on 15 August.

We are dealing with your request and will respond in the near future. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0051806. If you
have any queries about this letter, please visit
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

On behalf of the Childcare, Special Educational Needs and Childcare
Strategy policy family
Department for Education
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall,
 

I refer to your request for an internal review of the Department’s handling of your FOI request ‘DfE – Breast is Best’, which was received on 15 August. The wording of your request was as
follows:

“Since the public health minister Tessa Jowell first launched a campaign in May 1999 which was aimed at encouraging more mothers to breastfeed their babies... There have been a number of
campaigns by the NHS / DoH / DfE outlining the slogan "Breast is Best" refering to the fact that it is in fact in a baby / child's best interest to be breast fed.

1) Can you please provide me with the most recent publications which outline this fact, which are easily accessible.  For example: (a) Advertisement / Video's, (b) Posters, (c) Leaflets.

I am happy to be directed to an Internet URL such as YouTube for videos.  However, should you require my postal address to ease the release of the information then I am happy to provide
such information to yourself.

I would however, prefer the release to be in a digital format if this is possible - but with the obvious size of Videos ETC, I assume it would be easier to post a CD/DVD of the video
files).

2) As the government actually make the statement that "Breast is Best", (a) are there any reports held by yourselves that outline this fact. (b)  if so, can you please provide me with a
copy of such reports.

I am aware that this information may well be produced by the DoH.  However, as the DfE is responsible for EDUCATION, it seems clear that publication of leaflets / flyers ETC for SureStart
centres who educate parents would be the responsibility of the DfE.”

The Department has now completed its internal review process and has carried out a thorough review of the case, chaired by a senior officer who was not involved with the original request.
The Department has decided to uphold the original decision that we do not hold the information that you requested for the following reasons:
 
Although the DfE’s website makes some references to breastfeeding and directs the reader to the Department of Health (DH), it does not produce any adverts, videos, posters or leaflets on
the issue. The example you gave in your request for an internal review was one of those references; others are set out below for your information. 

In response to the second part of your request, the DfE does not hold any reports making the statement ‘Breast is Best’. As indicated above, there are a number of references to reports
about breastfeeding on our website and we have identified a number of relevant publications which include links to information about breastfeeding, in line with the Government’s policy in
this area. These references, which are all in the public domain, are as follows:

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) section of the DfE website includes a link to the School Food Trust (SFT) which has 'Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in
England - A Practical Guide'. The SFT’s report includes advice on breastfeeding:
[1]http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teac...

An article on diet and nutrition in the early years on the DfE website includes a reference to breastfeeding in the first
paragraph: [2]http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy.... This page also includes a link to
a DH publication 'Change4life' which includes advice on breastfeeding.
 
[3]http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy... this page includes reference on breastfeeding in the 'what the research tells
us' towards the bottom of the page. There is also a link to a set of slides called 'Families in the Foundation Years Evidence Pack' which includes similar information.
 
[4]http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy... article mentions the support and advice provided by
midwives and health visitors on breastfeeding.
 
Research commissioned by the Children’s Improvement Board, an organisation which was at the time funded by the DfE, includes a reference to breastfeeding as a proposed child health
outcomes measure. This research was undertaken and published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER):
[5]http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/....
 
Local Sure Start Children’s Centres (SSCCs) may publish their own leaflets or flyers which make reference to breastfeeding. Such publications would not be cleared by or directly funded by
the DfE and the DfE does not produce its own leaflets or flyers for SSCCs.
 
Further references to breastfeeding may be located on parts of the DfE’s website which have been archived on the National Archives website. It may be possible to reach these documents by
following links from the DfE’s website but we have not included them in the list above as they are not “the most recent publications” and do not constitute current DfE advice or guidance.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0051806. If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in
any future communications.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you have the right to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: 

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Further information about the Information Commissioner’s complaints procedure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website:
[6]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...
 
Yours sincerely,
 

Deborah Nickerson
Assistant Director
Childcare, Special Educational Needs and Childcare Strategy Policy Family

 [7]www.education.gov.uk

 
 

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teac...
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...
3. http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...
4. http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...
5. http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/...
6. http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...
7. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Dear Department for Education,

I am unsure whether my request was actually read before response, and understood.

"Since the public health minister Tessa Jowell first launched a
campaign in May 1999 which was aimed at encouraging more mothers to
breastfeed their babies... There have been a number of campains by
the NHS / DoH / DfE outlining the slogan "Breast is Best" refering
to the fact that it is infact in a baby / child's best interest to
be breast fed.

1) Can you please provide me with the most recent publications which outline this fact, which are easily accessible. For example:
(a) Advertisement / Video's, (b) Posters, (c) Leaflets."

I did not ask for publications regarding "Breast is Best" but the FACT as highlight is that the term is derived from the fact that it is in the best interests for a child and mother to breast feed. This point was stated in my request.

My request was for a copy of your latest publications. I provided and stated that they were examples of advertisement videos, posters and leaflets. The word publication is pretty clear to which I am sure your "chair" should understand.

A further simple google search ("breast is best site:gov.uk") results in yet further examples of the term, and also highlights the fact that the campain is still ongoing, using the slogan.
https://www.google.co.uk/#q=breast+is+be...

I am aware that on the 22 July 2010 a response to calls to scrap the slogan was responded to denying the term to be a DoH slogan.
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.u...
"Responding to calls to scrap the ‘Breast is Best’ slogan, a Department of Health spokesperson said:

''Breast is Best' is not a Department of Health slogan. Breastfeeding is good for babies, good for mothers and incredibly convenient. It's crucial that mothers get the support they need to make breastfeeding a success for them and their baby.'

On National Breastfeeding Week, Public Health Minister Anne Milton said:

'It's so important to encourage mothers to breastfeed. It is convenient, good for the baby and good for mothers.

'But not everyone finds it easy - it's a skill that has to be learnt - and many women can feel discouraged if it doesn't work at first.

'National Breastfeeding Week is about giving women the support and advice they need to breastfeed successfully.'"

This is irrelevant, though. My request was focused on the fact that breast feeding is in the best interests of a child, to which I am certain, as proved previously, that you hold information asserting this fact.

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0058875

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

show quoted sections

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall, 

Thank you for your further letter of 26 September, regarding the
Department’s handling of your request ‘DfE – Breast is Best’. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0058875. We have
considered your latest letter and have nothing to add to our response of
25 September.

The Department concluded the internal review of your request and responded
to you on 25 September. As stated in our response, if you are unhappy with
this decision, you have the right to appeal directly to the Information
Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: 

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Further information about the Information Commissioner’s complaints
procedure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website:
[1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Nickerson
Assistant Director
Childcare, Special Educational Needs and Childcare Strategy Policy Family

[2]www.education.gov.uk 
 
 

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References

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2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Dear Department for Education,

RE: 2013/0058875

Thanks for your response. This is to confirm that my complaint has now been lodged with the ICO in respect of this request.

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

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