Disclosure of confidential information and Article 8 HRA

Tony Wise made this Freedom of Information request to Birmingham City Council

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

The request was partially successful.

Dear Birmingham City Council,

I refer to disclosures made from confidential Social Service files. Article 8 offers general protection for a person’s private and family life, home and correspondence from arbitrary interference by the State.

Under the Act can you please provide internal recorded information as to precisely how Article 8 impacts upon the access to and disclosure of Social Service information held on a confidential basis in the following circumstances.

1/ If police are requesting information to prevent crime.
2/ If an estranged parent requests detail of his/her daughter.
3/ If a school requests information relevant to a pupil.
4/ If the police request information, to deal with a conduct complaint against them, that is accessed only because it is favourable to them.
5/ If a doctor requests information relevant to a patient.

If you require any further information or clarification please feel free to ask.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

Dear Mr Tony Wise

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for
Information

Thank you for your recent enquiry for information held by the Council
under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We
acknowledge receipt of your request dated 9 May 2011, which was received
in our office and we will be touch with you again in due course.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we
will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you and you will be
required to pay before we will proceed to deal with your request.

If you require any further information or are not happy with our response
please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team on 0121 303 4876.

Yours sincerely

Corporate Information Governance Team

Data Protection Act 1998
The information you have provided within your Freedom of Information
request will be held on our database and may also be held within manual
records for a period of 2 years from the date Birmingham City Council
received your request. Any personal data that you provide to Birmingham
City Council will be held in line with the requirements set out within the
Data Protection Act 1998.
Re Use of Public Sector Information
Where Birmingham City Council is the copyright holder of any information
that may be released, re-use for personal, educational or non-commercial
purposes is permitted without further reference to the City Council. Where
the re-use is for other purposes, such as commercial re-use, the applicant
should notify the City Council in writing to seek approval or agree terms
for re-use.

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Birmingham City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Tony

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the
Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

I refer to disclosures made from confidential Social Service files.
Article 8 offers general protection for a person’s private and family
life, home and correspondence from arbitrary interference by the State.

Under the Act can you please provide internal recorded information as to
precisely how Article 8 impacts upon the access to and disclosure of
Social Service information held on a confidential basis in the following
circumstances.

1/ If police are requesting information to prevent crime.
2/ If an estranged parent requests detail of his/her daughter.
3/ If a school requests information relevant to a pupil.
4/ If the police request information, to deal with a conduct
complaint against them, that is accessed only because it is favourable to
them.
5/ If a doctor requests information relevant to a patient.

Please find herewith the following:

The file attached below is the only document we have been able to locate
which covers elements of the subject you address.

Additionally Mark Paul, Area Legal Advisor, West Midlands CPS is also
undertaking "negotiations with HHJ Hindley QC, Designated Family Judge, to
agree an information exchange protocol in cases involving concurrent
Family Court proceedings. The overall aim is to introduce a single
protocol in West Midlands to incorporate the successful elements of all
existing agreements and to build closer links with Family Courts
(including arrangements for linked directions hearings)". It is
anticipated that a protocol will be produced from these negotiations at
some point in the future.

Whilst we have undertaken a thorough search of the information held by
Birmingham City Council, it may be that, due to the size and amount of
information held by Birmingham City Council, some information may have
been inadvertently missed.

If you have any information which may assist us in determining or locating
any missed information, we would be grateful if you would contact us with
details of this information, so that we can conduct a further search.

If you are not satisfied with the response you may ask for an internal
review. If subsequently you are not satisfied with the Council’s
decision you may apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner
can be contacted at the following address:

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545745 Web Address: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,
Steve Cullen
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 464 4591
Email: [email address]

Re-use of Public Sector Information
The information provided is subject to Birmingham City Council copyright,
however, it may be re-used for personal, educational or non-commercial
purposes without further reference to the City Council. If the re-use is
for other purposes, such as commercial re-use, you should notify the City
Council in writing to seek approval or agree terms for re-use. Where
Birmingham City Council does not hold the copyright, it has indicated the
copyright holder. Permission for re-use should be sought from them
directly.

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Birmingham City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Disclosure of confidential information and Article 8 HRA'.

Please conduct an internal review of this request. The information supplied does not meet my request in a number of ways including that your response doesn't respond to my request in any accurate way. Your generic response is in relation to family issues and in no way equates to the request as formulated.

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

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wise

Please see the attached for your request for an internal review.

(See attached file: Appeal Acknowledgement.doc)

Yours sincerely

Corporate Information Governance Team

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Birmingham City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wise

Please see our attached response to your appeal.

(See attached file: Appeal Decision Letter.doc)

regards

Corporate Information Governance Team

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

When will I be contacted as promised in your letter

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Dear Birmingham City Council,

I've still not been contacted

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

Good Afternoon Mr Wise

We would like to take this opportunity to apologies for the
misunderstanding and delay in your response regarding your request.
However I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information
held by the Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000:

Following the appeal and further to the panel***s decision we would like
to re-visit your request in order to identify the information that falls
within the scope of the request.

To enable us to respond to your request precisely we would like to seek
further clarification regarding your request.

Please can you contact me on the number below as soon as possible.

Many thanks

Melanie Sewell
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Children Young People & Families Directorate
Tel: 464-4591

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

There's no number for Gods sake!

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

I will be out of the office starting 05/08/2011 and will not return until
09/08/2011.

If you have an urgent query please contact my manager Steve Cullen after
4/1/2011 via Lotus Notes or Phone (0121 464 4591) or the Corporate
Information Governance Team:

Data Protection - Email DP Contacts via Lotus Notes or ring 0121 303 4876
for Freedom of Information - Email FOI Mailbox via Lotus Notes or ring 0121
303 2080.
I will respond to non-urgent matters upon my return

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

Thank you. I'll ring on the 9th then.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Dear Ms Sewell,

I appreciate the conversation. I hope that I clarified the position in relation to requirements re: consent, records etc in diverse scenarios. In any event it is non negotiable that appropriate records are kept

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

Good Morning Mr Wise

Thank you for your response as stated below:-

Dear Ms Sewell,

I appreciate the conversation. I hope that I clarified the position
in relation to requirements re: consent, records etc in diverse
scenarios. In any event it is non negotiable that appropriate
records are kept

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

We do require a clear understanding of what actually you are requesting.

Can you explain and be specific as to what you mean by requirements re:
consent, records etc in diverse scenarios.

As we were unable to meet your request in a number of ways, including that
our response did not respond to your request in any accurate way. I
understand our response was of a generic response in relation to family
issues. Therefore we require clarity so that Birmingham City Council are
able to provide you with an accurate response.

In all correspondence please quote our reference number that is relating
to this request.

Many thanks

Melanie Sewell
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Children Young People & Families Directorate
Tel: 464-4591

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

Is the City Council going to respond on the internal review request? I clarified everything in my telephone conversation and it is not required that a requestor clarifies at the internal review stage in any event.

I have been waiting for the outcome of the internal review for over three months. This is a major breach of the requirements under the Code of Practice. Please do not blame me for this as the requestor. The FOI section 45 Code of Practice does not oblige a complainant to specify the grounds of his internal review and there is no basis in the FOI section 45 Code of Practice on which to postpone an internal review, pending clarification by the complainant. Indeed I have surpassed the requirement of the Code of Practice in any event by clarifying this request months ago on the phone.

I am none too pleased with this response to my FOI request.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Dear Birmingham City Council,

Is this matter being dealt with? I am now aware that Birmingham City Council has been or is being monitored by the Information Commissioner in relation to FOI requests.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

Dear Mr Wise

I can see from our FOI request database that my former colleague Melanie
Sewell was liaising with you regarding a request that you made earlier
this year but, as she left Birmingham City Council in August I have been
unable to identify what specifically you are waiting for.  The last
recorded information was that you had made an appeal regarding your
request and that this was completed on 01-07-2011.  There is nothing
recorded as to what information/action you are currently awaiting.  Could
I ask that you let me so I can look into this for you.

Yours sincerely,
Steve Cullen
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 464 4591
Email: [email address]

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

This is totally indefensible. I have bent over backwards as regards this request for a review and had a long conversation with Ms Sewell when I clarified my request (which incidentally I am not obliged to do). Did only one person work in FOI for Birmingham at the time of my request?? Further if there is no information recorded about my requests and a long call how could the Council defend their position if I complained to the ICO? This all appears to be totally dysfunctional at such time as the Council has been brought to the attention of the ICO as regards FOI compliance.

Much of the information is on this site and Ms Sewell referred to other persons being involved in collation of material as regards this request anyway.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

Dear Mr Wise

The details of your original request and subsequent appeal are recorded on
our FOI database but the request and appeal are both recorded as
completed.  At the time you were dealing with Melanie Sewell she was the
only person within the Children, Young People and Families Directorate
dealing with FOI requests on a day-to-day basis.  I, as her line manager,
had an overview of the handling of requests but have not had any direct
involvement with your request or subsequent appeal.  Since Melanie left I
have once again been dealing with FOI requests myself but can do little to
assist you unless you tell me what you are expecting to be provided.
 There does not appear to be any indication on the detail within records
of your request that will enable me to assist you so, unless you are
willing to provide this information, there is little I can do practically
to assist you further.

Kind regards,
Steve Cullen
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 464 4591
Email: [email address]

Tony Wise To [email address]
<[FOI #70967 email]> cc
Subject Re: Fw: Freedom of Information
01/12/2011 09:49 request - Disclosure of
confidential information and
Article 8 HRA (Our ref:
FOI5497)

Dear Birmingham City Council,
This is totally indefensible. I have bent over backwards as regards
this request for a review and had a long conversation with Ms
Sewell when I clarified my request (which incidentally I am not
obliged to do). Did only one person work in FOI for Birmingham at
the time of my request?? Further if there is no information
recorded about my requests and a long call how could the Council
defend their position if I complained to the ICO? This all appears
to be totally dysfunctional at such time as the Council has been
brought to the attention of the ICO as regards FOI compliance.

Much of the information is on this site and Ms Sewell referred to
other persons being involved in collation of material as regards
this request anyway.

Yours faithfully,
Tony Wise

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Dear Mr Cullen,

You answeted the original request on 12 May 2011 for Gods! sake, which contradicts your last response. There was also extensive prevarication, delay and misunderstandings from the Council after the request was answered by you originally. I then had to wait for a letter that was promised after the Council conceded fault and subsequently had to remind the Council of this. I then had other problems but did call and clarified my request in full. Somehow this wasn't recorded but Ms Sewell did reply to me via this site. Can I please have a fuller explanation of all of this because I am just not happy? Your tone doesn't help either because, quite clearly, this is no my fault. I am not happy that the request was recorded as closed when the material on this site proves the opposite. Just when did Ms Sewell leave the Council? She appears to have been present on 18 August 2011.

I will assist again but am not happy that I have had to jump through hoops over the last 6 or 7 months as regards a quite simple request that could have been clarified months ago.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

As this appears to be in relation to Mr Wise's appeal it would appear
appropriate that this is dealt with corporately in the first instance.  I
am still unable to ascertain what Mr Wise is requesting as he refers to
"the site" but does not give an access link for me to see the information
I require.

I shall be leaving the office in a few minutes and will not be returning
until Tuesday 6th December.  I will endeavour to respond to Mr Wise next
week if you are able to establish what is required of me.

I once again reaffirm that I have not had any involvement in dealing with
Mr Wise's complaint.  As I do not routinely emails regarding requests once
they have been completed I can only respond based on the information
recorded against the request on the FOI database.  Obviously I am unable
to find out what Melanie has said during her conversations with Mr Wise.

Regards,
Steve

Steve Cullen
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 464 4591
Email: [email address]

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Birmingham City Council

I will be out of the office starting 01/12/2011 and will not return until
06/12/2011.

For urgent Data Protection or Freedom of Information matters please contact
the Corporate Information Governance Team:

Data Protection - email DP Contacts via Lotus Notes or ring 0121 303 4876
Freedom of Information - email FOI Mailbox via Lotus Notes or ring 0121 303
2080

If you are sending data to enable a response to be sent out for an FOI
request please ensure the data has been copied to the Corporate Information
Governance Team so that our response is not unnecessarily delayed until my
return to work.

I will respond to all other matters upon my return.

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

This is the link and it was Steve Cullen that responded to me way back in May 2011. The site is the "whatdotheyknow" FOI site that has been utilised quite often by requestors to the Council. Consequently I feel that this is getting worse. I will clarify my request again in writing on this site. However I think that this is unreasonable in the context of the overall circumstances and the Code of Practice.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/di...

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Dear Birmingham City Council,

As this request has been ongoing for an inordinate amount of time please just provide the following. Please note that I have already clarified this once on the phone over three months ago.

1/ Please supply your written procedures (or full explanation of) in relation to how and why Birmingham City Council makes formal records of access/disclosure of Social Service information.

2/ The finished or draft protocol as indicated be Steve Cullen on 12 May 2011 re: "Additionally Mark Paul, Area Legal Advisor, West Midlands CPS is also undertaking "negotiations with HHJ Hindley QC, Designated Family Judge, to agree an information exchange protocol in cases involving concurrent Family Court proceedings. The overall aim is to introduce a single protocol in West Midlands to incorporate the successful elements of all existing agreements and to build closer links with Family Courts (including arrangements for linked directions hearings)". It is anticipated that a protocol will be produced from these negotiations at some point in the future".

3/ All statutory procedures (or an indication of what these are) that governs data sharing at Birmingham City Council.

4/ Copies of Information Sharing agreements (if applicable) with police, schools and NHS (including doctors).

5/ Details of disciplinary actions or procedures that are recognised/implemented at Birmingham City Council if access to and disclosure of confidential personal information is not recorded properly.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Dear Birmingham City Council,

If I don't get an appropriate response by 5:00pm tomorrow forget it. I will be complaining to the ICO about this disgrace at that point. I can't believe that Mr Cullen stated that he has had nothing to do with the request when he actually responded to me originally in May 2011.

If this is the performance of the Council after signing an undertaking what was it like before!

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise

Birmingham City Council

Dear Mr Wise

Thank you for your clarification of the earlier request for information
held by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 which was received on 06-12-11.

We will contact you again once it has been ascertained what data is held
by Birmingham City Council.  In some circumstances a fee may be payable
and if that is the case, we will let you know.  A fees notice will be
issued to you, and you will be required to pay before we will proceed to
deal with your request.

If you require any further information or are not happy with our response
please do not hesitate to contact me quoting the reference number above in
any future communications.

Yours sincerely
Steve Cullen
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 464 4591
Email: [email address]

Data Protection Act 1998
The information you have provided within your Freedom of Information
request will be held on our database and may also be held within manual
records for a period of 2 years from the date Birmingham City Council
received your request. Any personal data that you provide to Birmingham
City Council will be held in line with the requirements set out within the
Data Protection Act 1998.

Re Use of Public Sector Information
Where Birmingham City Council is the copyright holder of any information
that may be released, re-use for personal, educational or non-commercial
purposes is permitted without further reference to the City Council. Where
the re-use is for other purposes, such as commercial re-use, the applicant
should notify the City Council in writing to seek approval or agree terms
for re-use.

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Birmingham City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Wise

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the
Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

1/ Please supply your written procedures (or full explanation of) in
relation to how and why Birmingham City Council makes formal records of
access/disclosure of Social Service information.
     
2/ The finished or draft protocol as indicated be Steve Cullen on 12 May
2011 re: "Additionally Mark Paul, Area Legal Advisor, West Midlands CPS is
also undertaking "negotiations with HHJ Hindley QC, Designated Family
Judge, to agree an information exchange protocol in cases involving
concurrent Family Court proceedings. The overall aim is to introduce a
single protocol in West Midlands to incorporate the successful elements of
all existing agreements and to build closer links with Family Courts
(including arrangements for linked directions hearings)". It is
anticipated that a protocol will be produced from these negotiations at
some point in the
future".
     
3/ All statutory procedures (or an indication of what these are) that
governs data sharing at Birmingham City Council.
     
4/ Copies of Information Sharing agreements (if applicable) with police,
schools and NHS (including doctors).
     
5/ Details of disciplinary actions or procedures that are
recognised/implemented at Birmingham City Council if access to and
disclosure of confidential personal information is not recorded properly.

Please find herewith the following:

1. All request for access to their own personal data by the data subject
(or their nominated representative) are recorded on our formal Subject
Access Request database giving details of what data has been requested,
what proof of identity was provided and when, and when the response was
made.  Requests for access to personal data by other organisations are
currently held within specific services although work is currently being
undertaken on developing a centralised recording system.  In line with the
terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 personal information will only be
disclosed to other organisations where they can demonstrate a legitimate
reason (such as a legal obligation to disclose the data) for them to
receive the data requested, or where data sharing arrangements are in
place and the data subject has been made aware of organisations with whom
data may potentially be shared.  The procedures of Birmingham Safeguarding
Children Board have a section on sharing information between agencies.
 You will find it on the Board's website at:
http://www.lscbbirmingham.org.uk/downloa...

2. Attached below is the latest version of the draft protocol:

 

3. Birmingham City Council operates in line with the Information
Commissioner's Data Sharing Code of Practice which is available from their
website, www.ico.gov.uk, and with the Data Protection Act, which sets out
various situations where personal data can be disclosed, including where
required to by law, or the courts.

4. The most recent ISA is:

Additional inter-agency guidance is provided in Birmingham Safeguarding
Children's Board procedures:
 
http://www.lscbbirmingham.org.uk/downloa...

Birmingham Safeguarding Children's Board has commissioned the review and
revision of the current material in order that a new ISA can be produced,
although there is no deadline for completion of this task as yet.

5. There is no specific disciplinary procedure relating to the
mis-recording of access to and/or disclosure of confidential personal
information. However, such actions could be indicative of  a failure to
comply with the Council's Data Protection polices and standards, these
policies are on the council's web site. Such a failure could be viewed as
gross misconduct.

Whilst we have undertaken a thorough search of the information held by
Birmingham City Council, it may be that, due to the size and amount of
information held by Birmingham City Council, some information may have
been inadvertently missed.

If you have any information which may assist us in determining or locating
any missed information, we would be grateful if you would contact us with
details of this information, so that we can conduct a further search.

If you are not satisfied with the response you may ask for an internal
review. If subsequently you are not satisfied with the Council’s decision
you may apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally,
the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at the following address:

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545745                    Web Address: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,
Steve Cullen
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 464 4591
Email: [email address]

Re-use of Public Sector Information
The information provided is subject to Birmingham City Council copyright,
however, it may be re-used for personal, educational or non-commercial
purposes without further reference to the City Council. If the re-use is
for other purposes, such as commercial re-use, you should notify the City
Council in writing to seek approval or agree terms for re-use. Where
Birmingham City Council does not hold the copyright, it has indicated the
copyright holder. Permission for re-use should be sought from them
directly.

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Dear Birmingham City Council,

I've already complained to the ICO. I'll wait for them to contact me (and you).

Yours faithfully,

Tony Wise