FOI Act Request - Erection of School Fence

Paul Gregory made this Freedom of Information request to Lindisfarne Middle School

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 successful.

Dear Lindisfarne Middle School,

I am making this request for information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act").

I am aware that a small school like Lindisfarne might be unfamiliar with the Act, so before proceeding with my request I will provide some background information. If you are already familiar with the provisions of the Act, please feel free to move directly to my request under the "Request" heading.

Background information:
The Act places a legal obligation on public authorities, like Lindisfarne Middle School by virtue of its delegated budget, to provide timely and factual information to a member of the public ("the applicant") on written request.

Under the terms of the Act public authorities normally have 20 working days to provide this information. The Act was amended to take into account the special circumstances of schools. The Freedom of Information (Time for Compliance with Request) Regulations 2009 now permits schools to respond within 20 normal school days or 60 other days, whichever is sooner. It is important to note that the Act requires a prompt response in all cases, so it is not acceptable for the public body to "sit" on a prepared response until the last minute of the deadline.

Section 8.1b of the Act requires that the applicant provides the public body with a suitable address for the delivery of their response. Significantly, section 8.1b provides that an electronic address, e.g. an email address, is sufficient for correspondence with the applicant. You should therefore have no difficulty in providing an electronic response to the return email address associated with this request.

Section 11 of the Act allows the applicant to express a preference for how the response is delivered, be that in hard or electronic format. The Act requires that the public body shall so far as reasonably practicable give effect to that preference.

Certain exemptions are given in the Act, whereby public bodies can refuse to provide information requested. As someone fully conversant and well-practised in the application of this legislation I am confident that no such exemptions apply in the case of my request, which is outlined below.

Request:
Lindisfarne Middle School recently attracted the criticism of local residents for the erection of a continuous fence around the perimeter of the school grounds, sometime towards the end of July 2010.

The 5 August 2010 edition of the Northumberland Gazette carried an article titled "Don't fence us in!", in which several local residents expressed their disapproval at the perceived suddenness of the fence’s erection and school's reluctance to respond to their concerns.

In a letter published in the 12 August 2010 edition of the Northumberland Gazette, local County Councillor Gordon Castle said "the school (Lindisfarne) will not shift its position (or tell me the true cost of the fence) and the County Council can not force them to".

Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I require Lindisfarne Middle School to disclose, in full, the total cost of erecting the aforementioned fence around the perimeter of the school grounds, sometime towards the end of July 2010. This includes the costs of any consultation, surveying and building works associated with the erection of the fence.

Additionally, in accordance with Section 11 of the Act outlined above, I request electronic copies of all documents produced by the school, its Governing Body or its employees in relation to the erection, maintenance and impact of the fence. This includes documents produced from the time of the initial decision to erect the fence and will obviously include, among other things, the letter circulated to local residents at around the time the fence was erected. It also includes emails relating to the erection of the fence. The documents you deliver to me should be in an easily readable format - Portable Document Format (.pdf file extension) or Microsoft Word 2003 (.doc file extension) are acceptable.

I trust, having fully read the background information provided above, the school realises that compliance with this request isn't optional, unlike their apparent handling of Councillor Castle's earlier informal enquiries.

I look forward to a timely and comprehensive response to this request, in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Gregory

Dear Lindisfarne Middle School,

I am reminded of the school's statutory obligation to respond to my FOIA request, "Erection of School Fence", by 21st September. That deadline has now passed.

Please issue a response promptly, before the matter is referred to the Information Commissioner.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Gregory

Dear Mr Gregory,

I am currently collating documents to comply with your request under the
freedom if information act. We will respond within the '20 working days
deadline'. The School term (for staff) commenced on Monday 6th September
and thus the deadline for meeting your request is Friday 1st October.

Yours sincerely,

Lynn Rose

Dr L Rose
Headteacher
Alnwick Lindisfarne Middle School
Lindisfarne Road
Alnwick NE66 1AX

Tel: 01665 602534
Fax: 01665 605994

Northumberland made the following annotations

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Dear Mr Gregory,

We are currently compiling the documents you have requested under the
freedom of information act. We will meet your request by the deadline of
'20working days'. The school term (for staff) commenced on Monday 6th
September and thus the deadline is Friday 1st October.

Yours sincerely

Lynn Rose
Dr L Rose
Headteacher
Alnwick Lindisfarne Middle School
Lindisfarne Road
Alnwick NE66 1AX

Tel: 01665 602534
Fax: 01665 605994

Northumberland made the following annotations

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Tate, Elizabeth,

[Subject only] FW: Freedom of Information request - FOI Act Request - Erection of School Fence

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Dear Dr Rose,

I am aware that you have experienced some difficulties responding to my FOIA request, "Erection of School Fence", via the WhatDoTheyKnow system.

I can confirm that I have received your previous correspondence, stating that a response would be delivered by 1st October 2010.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Gregory

Tate, Elizabeth,

5 Attachments

[Subject only] FW: first part of response

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Tate, Elizabeth,

6 Attachments

On some of these communications we have deleted personal details relating
to individuals who are not employees or governors of the school as an
exception under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Dear Mr Gregory,

On some of these communications we have deleted personal details relating
to individuals who are not employees or governors of the school as an
exception under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely,

Lynn Rose

Dr L Rose

Headteacher

Alnwick Lindisfarne Middle School

Lindisfarne Road

Alnwick NE66 1AX

Tel: 01665 602534

Fax: 01665 605994

Northumberland made the following annotations

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Tate, Elizabeth,

5 Attachments

[Subject only] FW: final response

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