Dear Reading Borough Council,

I would ideally like the full post code of all pupils who have just started in year 7 this September (2015) but feel that may breach the Data Protection Act (DPA). The Information Commissioner’s guidance (https://ico.org.uk/media/1061/anonymisat... states, “… the objective should be to achieve the maximum level of detail that can be balanced with the protection of individuals’ privacy.” The Commissioner goes on to say that postal sectors (the full post code minus the last two digits) contain approximately 2,600 households and I feel that this level of detail would give me the information I am seeking whilst protecting the identity of the individuals to whom it relates so I am requesting this reduced level of detail. If the Council are in any doubt I would recommend speaking to the Information Commissioner’s Office to seek their guidance first hand.

I have also given some consideration as to how to minimise the burden on the Council in redacting this information. Assuming the information is held in an Excel spreadsheet, I would like to suggest that the Excel functions MID() and LEN() can be combined to automatically return a cell value with the last two characters truncated using the formula:
=MID(A1,1,LEN(A1)-2)
(where A1 is the cell containing the full post code.) The postal sectors would then need to be copied and pasted back as values so the full post codes can be deleted. I can provide a sample spreadsheet if this would help.

I’d like the information to be provided in a spreadsheet or CSV file allowing it to be further analysed. The information can be in a single CSV/Excel file or in separate worksheets broken down by school but should contain the school name in one column and postal sector in the next. The schools I am interested in are
Highdown School
John Madejski Academy
Kendrick School
Maiden Erlegh in Reading
Prospect School
Reading Girls' School
Reading School

Yours faithfully,

James Coombs

FOI, CRT, Reading Borough Council

Dear Mr Coombs

Thank you for your request for information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (2000). In accordance with the Act, you can expect to receive a formal response to your enquiry by the 9 November 2015.

Yours sincerely,

Mr N Bullough
Senior Customer Relations Officer
Customer Relations | Corporate Support Services
Reading Borough Council
Level 1
Plaza West
Bridge Street
Reading Borough Council
RG1 2LU
0118 937 2726 (72726
Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

show quoted sections

FOI, CRT, Reading Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Coombs,

 

Thank you for your request for information under the provisions of the
Freedom of Information Act (2000). 

 

I would ideally like the full post code of all pupils who have just
started in year 7 this September (2015) but feel that may breach the Data
Protection Act (DPA).  The Information Commissioner’s guidance
([1]https://ico.org.uk/media/1061/anonymisat... states, “… the
objective should be to achieve the maximum level of detail that can be
balanced with the protection of individuals’ privacy.”  The Commissioner
goes on to say that postal sectors (the full post code minus the last two
digits) contain approximately 2,600 households and I feel that this level
of detail would give me the information I am seeking whilst protecting the
identity of the individuals to whom it relates so I am requesting this
reduced level of detail. If the Council are in any doubt I would recommend
speaking to the Information Commissioner’s Office to seek their guidance
first hand. 

 

I have also given some consideration as to how to minimise the burden on
the Council in redacting this information.  Assuming the information is
held in an Excel spreadsheet, I would like to suggest that the Excel
functions MID() and LEN() can be combined to automatically return a cell
value with the last two characters truncated using the formula: 

=MID(A1,1,LEN(A1)-2)

(where A1 is the cell containing the full post code.)  The postal sectors
would then need to be copied and pasted back as values so the full post
codes can be deleted.  I can provide a sample spreadsheet if this would
help.

 

I’d like the information to be provided in a spreadsheet or CSV file
allowing it to be further analysed.  The information can be in a single
CSV/Excel file or in separate worksheets broken down by school but should
contain the school name in one column and postal sector in the next.  The
schools I am interested in are Highdown School John Madejski Academy
Kendrick School Maiden Erlegh in Reading Prospect School Reading Girls'
School Reading School

 

Our response is as follows:

 

This is attached.

 

You are free to use any information supplied to you for your own personal
purposes or for non-commercial research, private study or news reporting.
However, you do not have the right to re-use the information in a way
which infringes copyright, for example, by distributing, making copies of
or publishing the information, without the permission of the copyright
holder, which in most cases will be Reading Borough Council. If you wish
to obtain permission for such use, please contact Mr C Brooks, Head of
Legal and Democratic Services, at Reading Borough Council.

 

Please note that your request may itself be the subject of a FOI request
and will be disclosed in that event.

 

If you are unhappy with this response to your request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act then you may ask for an internal
review.  Please make a request in writing to Mr C Brooks, Head of Legal
and Democratic Services, at Reading Borough Council.  If you request such
a review and are not content with its outcome, then you have a right to
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Mr N Bullough

Senior Customer Relations Officer

Customer Relations | Corporate Support Services

Reading Borough Council

Level 1

Plaza West

Bridge Street

Reading Borough Council

RG1 2LU

0118 937 2726 (72726

[2]Website | [3]Facebook | [4]Twitter | [5]YouTube

 

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to whom it has been addressed and may be covered by legal professional
privilege and protected by law. Reading Borough Council does not accept
responsibility for any unauthorised amendment made to the contents of this
e-mail following its dispatch.

If received in error, you must not retain the message or disclose its
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Reading Borough Council has scanned for viruses. However, it is your
responsibility to scan the e-mail and attachments (if any) for viruses.

Reading Borough Council also operates to the Protective Document Marking
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protectively marked emails and documents are handled in accordance with
this standard (Re: Cabinet Office – Government Security Classifications).

 

 

 

References

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1. https://ico.org.uk/media/1061/anonymisat...
2. http://www.reading.gov.uk/
3. http://www.facebook.com/readingcouncil
4. http://www.twitter.com/readingcouncil
5. http://www.youtube.com/readingbc
6. mailto:[email address]

Dear Reading Council,

Thanks very much for providing the requested information.

Yours sincerely,

James Coombs

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