Evaluation

Mark made this Freedom of Information request to National School of Government

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 National School of Government.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Will you please advise and assist me in acquiring documents which details how the National School of Government evaluates the programmes and courses it offers. With such an end in mind, perhaps it best that I make specific requests.

Please send me:

1. The syllabus for the "Become the leader you want to be" course that was offered on March 11-14, 2008 at Sunningdale Park

2. Information about enrollment in the March 11-14 course (e.g., number of students enrolled, what ministries the students were from, etc.)

3. Student evaluations of the March 11-14 course

4. All documents that provide an evaluation of the "Become the leader you want to be" courses for the most recent year such evaluations were conducted

5. The most recent evaluation of the Strategic Leadership programme

Yours faithfully,

Mark

Christopher Mallett,

Dear Mark

Thank you for your request for documents and other information detailing how the National School of Government evaluates its programmes and courses.

I am dealing with the enquiry under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will ensure you receive a response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Mallett
Librarian
National School of Government
Sunningdale Park
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE
tel: +44 (0)1344 634286
fax: +44 (0)1344 634118
email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Christopher Mallett,

2 Attachments

Dear Mark

Thank you for your request for information detailing how the National School of Government (NSG) evaluates its programmes and courses.

1. Please find attached a copy of the programme for the 'Become the leader you want to be' course that was run from 11-14 March 2008 at Sunningdale Park. This is the closest document we hold to a syllabus. Further information on the course can be accessed at: http://www.nationalschool.gov.uk/program...

2. 12 students attended this run of the course from the following public sector bodies:

Department for Work and Pensions
Department for International Development
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Office of the Public Guardian
Ministry of Justice
The Scottish Government
The Welsh Assembly Government
National Library of Wales
Government Communications Headquarters

Four members of staff from the Department for Work and Pensions attended the event. One member of staff from each of the other public sector organisations listed attended.

3 & 4. Please find attached a copy of the evaluation form supplied to students attending the 11-14 March 2008 run of the course.

The Programme Director sees all evaluations for each run of 'Become the leader you want to be' within a week of it running. This allows her to review continually how the programme is being received in any financial year.

Once we move into a new financial year, completed copies of 'Become the leader you want to be' evaluation forms are destroyed. As the 11-14 March 2008 programme fell in 2007/08, the content of these evaluations is unavailable other than via the percentage indicator detailed below which is recorded and retained by NSG.

NSG assesses the programme by asking participants to comment on how well the course has met the stated aims and their personal learning goals. The programme attracted a 100% evaluation rating for aims, meaning that all participants felt the course had met the aims very well or well. It also received a 100% evaluation rating for personal learning goals, meaning that all participants felt the course met these very well or well.

Aside from the findings emerging from course evaluations of the type described above, NSG holds no other material detailing appraisals of the 'Become the leader you want to be' programme.

5. In 2004 a sample of programmes provided by the Centre for Strategic Leadership (then part of the Centre for Management and Policy Studies in the Cabinet Office) was included in a project designed to review the provision of world-class leadership. A number of leading organisations from the public and private sectors provided information on their leadership development practices. The primary purpose of the project was to provide the Cabinet Office with comparative information to enable an evaluation of its own programmes to be conducted. A summary of the work was produced to provide feedback to organisations that had collaborated in the research.

The summary report, which identified high-level components of world-class leadership, concluded that the then CMPS was delivering high quality leadership development programmes which, in terms of the use of techniques, programme delivery and delegate reactions, compared well with other world-class programmes. Some points for development were noted and these were acted upon in the evolving design of the Centre for Strategic Leadership's leadership programme portfolio.

This work continues to be reflected in NSG's approach to the design and delivery of senior leadership development and in its Leadership Assurance and Benchmarking service for the assessment of high-quality, high-impact leadership development.

NSG has decided to withhold the full summary report under the exemption set out at section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This relates to a public authority's commercial interests.

Given that section 43 is a qualified exemption, we have sought to determine where the public interest lies with respect to supplying the specified information.

NSG acknowledges that there are persuasive arguments supporting disclosure. Provision of the requested information would permit close scrutiny of the organisation's training programmes plus ensure greater transparency and accountability in relation to the conduct of its commercial activities.

However, having reflected on the request in some detail, NSG has concluded that it should withhold the report. Disclosure could well prejudice the commercial interests of NSG since the report's findings continue to inform the design and development of its senior leadership development work.

Moreover, the report relates to the assessment of the leadership development practices of a variety of UK and international public and private sector organisations. Disclosure could well make it less likely that such organisations would provide information on commercially sensitive matters if it were to be publicly disseminated.

However, the above paragraphs provide an outline of the report's key points as they relate to NSG.

If you have any questions relating to this email, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision you should write to:

Christopher Clark
Head of Communications and Marketing
National School of Government
Sunningdale Park
Larch Avenue
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE
tel. 01344 634145
email: [email address]

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Information Commissioner's Office cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the National School of Government.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

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

Yours sincerely

Christopher Mallett
Librarian
National School of Government
Sunningdale Park
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE
tel: +44 (0)1344 634286
fax: +44 (0)1344 634118
email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of National School of Government's handling of my FOI request 'Evaluation'.

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

First, please review part 1 of my request. Typically a syllabus is much richer in description. The document that I was sent was impoverished of detail. For example, the "Aim" of the course only had 25 words, and the description of the four days of activity was 150 words, approximately. Given that this is a leadership course with 12 students from major departments and government offices, it is difficult to imagine that there isn't a more verbose document that details the course.

Second, with reference to item 5 of my request (i.e.,evaluation of the Strategic Leadership programme) , you acknowledge that there is a specific document that falls within the scope of my request. I ask that you review the document again. The National School of Government ought to have at least provided me with the parts of the report that were not commercially sensitive. However, I request that the document be released in full based on the authority of public interest. I remind you that the National School of Government is not a commercial organization but, to quote your website, is public organization that "provide[s] high quality learning and development solutions to government organisations and individuals providing public services." For this reason, it is in the public interest to release, in full, the evaluation of the program that, presumably, is intended to be an opportunity from which will come the leaders of major public institutions.

Yours sincerely,

Mark

Chris Clark,

1 Attachment

Dear Mark

Thank you for your email of 7 February 2009 requesting a review of the National School of Government's response to your FOI enquiry which sought information on how the organisation evaluates its training programmes.

With reference to the first point raised in your email, the 'Become the leader you want to be' Programme Director has confirmed that the document we supplied in response to your original request and the accompanying Intranet link provide the most detailed outline of the topics covered on this four day course available, other than the course handouts supplied to students attending the programme.

The second point in your email relates to the summary report which appraises a range of leadership development programmes, including a number of courses provided by the Centre for Strategic Leadership.

As you note in your email, NSG is public sector organisation. However, NSG also trades as a commercial entity in competition with other providers in both the public and private sectors. As such, I am persuaded that there is a public interest in favour of NSG avoiding any action that could weaken its position in the market place, thereby compromising the organisation's ability to recover its costs.

As Mr Mallett comments in his email dated 29 January 2009, NSG acknowledges that there are compelling arguments favouring disclosure. Provision of the requested information would provide greater accountability and ensure transparency in relation to the type of leadership development practices against which NSG seeks to evaluate its own courses.

Nonetheless, after reviewing the relevant material carefully, I am satisfied that the exemption detailed at section 43 of the FOI Act applies and that disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of NSG, specifically with regard to the development of senior leadership development programmes.

Of equal importance, the summary report incorporates evidence emerging from a study of leadership development practices adopted by a range of international and UK-based public and private sector organisations, as well as NSG's predecessor organisation, CMPS. Disclosure could well make it less likely that such organisations would provide information on commercially sensitive matters if this information were to be publicly disseminated.

As it may be of interest in relation to your enquiry, I have enclosed a copy of the NSG publication, 'How to get the best out of leadership development'. Produced by the Centre for Strategic Leadership, it sets out the leadership development practices NSG promotes in government and includes guidance on how to review the effectiveness of leadership development programmes.

If you are not content with the outcome of this internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

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

Yours sincerely

Christopher Clark
Head of Communications and Marketing
National School of Government
Sunningdale Park
Larch Avenue
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE
tel. 01344 634145
email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Chris Clark,

As per section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which stipulates your duty to provide assistance to people who have made requests for information, I am asking for you assistance.

How many pages are in the summary report?

During your investigation did you personally review each sentence, paragraph, and page of the summary report?

Did you evaluate the applicability of section 43 at a sentence and paragraph level?

If so, were there any sentences or paragraphs for which section 43 did not apply and therefore can be disclosed?

Yours sincerely,

Mark

Chris Clark,

1 Attachment

Dear Mark

Thank you for your email. The main body of the report is 6 pages in length. However, the summary review is 22 pages long when appendixes are included.

The document was reviewed in its entirety - each sentence, paragraph and page was carefully appraised.

The applicability of section 43 and the public interest test was applied at a sentence and paragraph level.

In the National School's judgement no sentences or paragraphs forming the main body of the report are disclosable.

However, one of the appendixes comprises a 2 page list of references used in the report's compilation. I have supplied these as an attachment.

Yours sincerely

Chris Clark

Christopher Clark
Head of Communications and Marketing
National School of Government
Sunningdale Park
Larch Avenue
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE
tel. 01344 634145
email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Chris Clark,

Thank you. I notice that Appendix One has a header "References." Are there more headers that appear in the 6 pages of body of the document and the 16 pages of appendices? If there are some header, does the Freedom of Information Act 2000 authorize their release?

Yours sincerely,

Mark

Chris Clark,

Sorry I am away from the office from Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th March inclusive so unable to pick up e-mails. I will be back on Friday 6th a.m. and will respond then. Best regards, Chris Clark
____________________

View all of our courses available in March here:

http://nationalschool.gov.uk/marchcourses

For all our programmes running from April onwards, our new Portfolio 2009/10 is available here:

http://nationalschool.gov.uk/portfolio2009

Note: If these links don't work, please copy and paste them into your web browser.
____________________

If you have received this email and it was not intended for you, please let us know, and then delete it. Please treat our information in confidence, as you would expect us to treat yours. National School computer systems may be monitored and communications carried on them recorded, to secure the effective operation of the system and for other lawful purposes. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National School of Government.

Chris Clark,

Dear Mark

Further to your email dated 5 March 2009, please find below headings appearing in the main body of the summary report and its five appendices.

Headings appearing in the main body of the report:

Summary report on world-class leadership development

Organisational issues

Strategic alignment

Engagement and commitment

Career relevance

Pedagogical issues

Impact

Techniques and processes

Coverage and coherence

Quality of contributors

Embedding, follow-up and support

Leader development or leadership development

Public service versus private sector models

Appendices:

Appendix One - References

Appendix Two - Framework for leadership development

Appendix Three - Questionnaire

Appendix Four - List of organisations contacted

Appendix Five - Summary of responses

Yours sincerely

Chris Clark

Chris Clark
Head of Communications & Marketing
National School of Government

Sunningdale Park
Larch Avenue
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE

Tel: 01344 634 145
Fax: 01344 634 787
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Chris Clark,

I notice "Appendix Three - Questionnaire". Does the Freedom of Information Act 2000 authorize the release of this blank questionnare?

Yours sincerely,

Mark

Chris Clark,

Dear Mark

Thank you for your email.

The National School has concluded that Appendix 3, along with the other withheld sections of the summary report, is not disclosable for the reasons set out in my email of 27 February 2009.

However, you may challenge our decision to withhold the document by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Upon receiving a formal complaint, ICO staff are likely to conduct a review of our handling of the case and could instruct the National School to supply the requested material if they decide the specified exemption ('commercial interests') is not applicable.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Chris Clark

Chris Clark
Head of Communications & Marketing
National School of Government

Sunningdale Park
Larch Avenue
Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 0QE

Tel: 01344 634 145
Fax: 01344 634 787
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections