Elective Home Education forum

Mr. R. Tate made this Freedom of Information request to Staffordshire County 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 refused by Staffordshire County Council.

Dear Staffordshire County Council,

I am aware that Staffordshire holds a 'West Midlands Forum' can you please provide the following for all meetings that took place between March 2013 - Present:

1) How often the meetings take place.
2) The budget allocated for these meetings.
3) The meeting agendas.
4) Any minutes and/or notes that were taken.

And finally;
5) A list of who attended each meeting.

Yours faithfully,
Mr. R. Tate

Evans, Sophie (D,L&T), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Tate,

Thank you for your request for information.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Many Thanks,

Sophie Evans
Access to Information Team Assistant
Information Governance Unit
Staffordshire County Council
Location: Third Floor, Staffordshire Place 2, Tipping Street, Stafford
Postal Address: Wedgwood Building, Block A, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH
Tel:  01785 895739

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Allen, Gemma (D,L&T), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Tate,

Thank you for your request for information.

As the information you have requested is held by Entrust and not Staffordshire County Council we are unable to process your request.

If you have any queries or require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

In the first instance if you have any comments relating to how your request has been handled by our authority, please write to Lian Stibbs, Access Manager, Information Governance Unit, Staffordshire County Council, Wedgwood Building, Block A, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH.

If you have any further comments relating to how your request has been handled by our authority, please contact the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Many Thanks
Gemma Allen
Access to Information Officer
Information Governance Unit
Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire Place
c/o Wedgwood Building - Block A
Tipping Street, Stafford
ST16 2DH
Tel: 01785 278568
[email address]

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Dear Allen, Gemma (D,L&T),

Entrust are part-owned by Staffordshire County Council and they are contracted to provide a public service on behalf of Staffordshire County Council using public funds. As such they are answerable to freedom of information requests and this can be done via the person responsible for commissioning those services to Entrust.

Please see the following:

"When information is held by another person on behalf of a
public authority, the information is held by the public
authority for the purposes of FOIA."

and furthermore:

"Section 3(2) sets out the two legal principles that establish
whether information is held for the purposes of FOIA.

3.
(2) For the purposes of this Act, information is held by a public
authority if—

(a) it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person, or
(b) it is held by another person on behalf of the authority."

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Please gather this information from Entrust as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Mr. R. Tate

Allen, Gemma (D,L&T), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Tate,

I can confirm that your interpretation of the Act where documents are held by another person on behalf of a public authority is correct. However, Entrust are not holding this information on Staffordshire County Council's behalf and therefore we are under no obligation to gather for release.

In the first instance if you have any comments relating to how your request has been handled by our authority, please write to Lian Stibbs, Access Manager, Information Governance Unit, Staffordshire County Council, Wedgwood Building, Block A, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH.

If you have any further comments relating to how your request has been handled by our authority, please contact the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Many Thanks
Gemma Allen
Access to Information Officer
Information Governance Unit
Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire Place
c/o Wedgwood Building - Block A
Tipping Street, Stafford
ST16 2DH
Tel: 01785 278568
[email address]

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Graeme Evans left an annotation ()

The answer given conflicts with the answer provided in the original denial of the request "As the information you have requested is held by Entrust and not Staffordshire County Council we are unable to process your request. "

So it is stated as held by Entrust as the reason for denial and when that does not deter the requestor the answer given is that Entrust do not hold it. Which of the two answers above is actually true?

Graeme Evans left an annotation ()

If there is any doubt that Entrust and Jenny Dodd and Staffordshire and the West Midlands Elective Home Education Officers Forum are connected with Staffordshire and this FOI request we suggest you look at the email between jenny.dodd@staffordshire.gov.uk and stephen bishop of the DfE dated 03 October 2014 timed at 15.38 titled 2007 EHE Guidelines. That may clarify the position.

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

If the information is not held by Staffordshire Council the requester could contact Entrust directly. Perhaps the issue would then be whether Entrust is a public body for the purposes of the FOIA? https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
https://www.entrust-ed.co.uk/Pages/Welco...

Tim Turner left an annotation ()

I don't know what the legal status of Entrust is, but the two answers given by Staffordshire aren't necessarily contradictory. If Entrust hold the information for their own purposes, and not for a service they are delivering on Staffordshire's behalf, then Staffordshire are technically correct and they don't have to obtain and disclose the data. Important thing is to find out who owns Entrust with Staffordshire. If it is other public bodies, then Entrust is covered by FOI in its own right. If it is part owned by charities or private sector bodies, it is extremely unlikely that they're covered, and FOI would only apply if Entrust were formally added. This is entirely possible, but not very common.

Dear Allen, Gemma (D,L&T),

Thank you for your speedy response. As per the following FOI, it does indeed appear that this is a service contracted out to Entrust, and this would certainly make sense given the EHE forum was ran by Staffordshire County Council before Entrust took over the services.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

1.1.5 states:

(xiii) maintaining strong links with all relevant partners, including participation in regional and local initiatives.

The DFE also responded to a similar FOI last month, which can be found here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

As Entrust is indeed representing Staffordshire County Council at these meetings, as they are contracted to do and as shown here where Jenny Dodd uses a Staffordshire County Council e-mail address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

and running them using public funds, then the FOI request is applicable to them and I would appreciate the information as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Mr. R. Tate

Evans, Sophie (D,L&T), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr R Tate,

Thank you for your email below regarding your recent Freedom of Information Request. The Access Manager, Lian Stibbs, will now be conducting an internal review for your request.

She would normally expect to be able to deal with such matters within 20 working days. On occasion this is not possible because of issues that arise in an internal review. If this is the case we will write to you again and explain any delay and when you can expect an answer. At present we have no reason to believe this matter cannot be dealt with within the timescale.

If you have any queries regarding the above or would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Many Thanks,

Sophie Evans
Access to Information Team Assistant
Information Governance Unit
Staffordshire County Council
Location: Third Floor, Staffordshire Place 2, Tipping Street, Stafford
Postal Address: Wedgwood Building, Block A, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH
Tel:  01785 895739

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Jane Pointon left an annotation ()

That top of this section states;
1.1.5 The Elective Home Education services to be delivered by the JVCo include, but are not limited to:
I wonder how they're interpreting the lack of limits?

Dear Evans, Sophie (D,L&T),

Can you please confirm that I should receive a response from Lian Stibbs regarding this by 6th February 2015?

Your speedy response is appreciated.

Yours sincerely,
Mr. R. Tate

Evans, Sophie (D,L&T), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Tate,

 

I have considered your emails in relation to your FOI request dated 4
December 2014. You requested information regarding the West Midlands
Forum. The case officer responded to state that the information is not
held by Staffordshire County Council but by Entrust.

 

To provide some context, while Staffordshire County Council works in
partnership with Entrust certain aspects of their work are not subject to
FOI in that Entrust is not wholly owned by public bodies. Where we have a
right to request information back from them we do and would consider under
FOI for release. However, this forum is not run on our behalf and
therefore we cannot consider this request. You may wish to contact
Entrust, however, as stated they are not subject to the Act.

 

I note your comment regarding Jenny Dodd using an SCC email address. Many
former SCC employees email addresses have now been changed to Entrust.
However, this is a transitional process and some will not have changed as
yet. This is the reason for Jenny Dodd's email looking to have been sent
by Staffordshire County Council. I can confirm that Jenny Dodd has not
sent this email on our behalf.

 

I do not uphold your complaint and find that the case officer was correct
to refuse your request.

 

If you disagree with my response please contact the Information
Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.

 

Sent on behalf of:

 

Lian Stibbs

Access Manager

[email address]

Information Governance Unit

 

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Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Has anyone contacted Entrust? If there is a refusal on the basis that Entrust is not bound by the FOI Act then this might be something that could be taken up with other individuals.