Home Education Review: statistics for home educated children known to social care.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

According to an annex of the Graham Badman's Report To The Secretary of State on The Review Of Elective Home Education in England,

"Within the 25 LAs for which we have data, there were 477 registered home educated children who were currently known to social care."

I hereby request under the Freedom of Information Act the total number of children known to be Electively Home Educated and the number known to social care for each of the 25 LAs. It is not necessary to identify the LAs, a numbered list from 1 to 25 including the total of children known to be Electively Home Educated followed by the total known to social care will be sufficient. This should avoid any risk of individual children being identified.

Also, I would like a copy of the original request for this data as sent to LAs, any information held on how many LAs received the request and any information on how they were selected. Please also include any responses to this request received from LAs but not included in the 25 mentioned above (for e.g. some may have given a total figure for Electively Home Educated children but no figure for known to social care).

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number
2009/0067231.

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0870 0002288
www.dcsf.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Sir or Madam,

RE: reference 2009/0067231

I would welcome a response to my Freedom of Information request which is now overdue.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Dear Sir or Madam,

RE: reference 2009/0067231

I would welcome a response to my Freedom of Information request which is now overdue. This is my second follow up email. Please acknowledge receipt.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins,
I am very sorry that you have not yet received a response to your request,
received on 27 July (2009/0067231), under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (the Act) seeking information in relation to the review of home
education.

I should like to apologise for the delay in replying and to your further
requests enquiring about the delay. The Department is aware that it has
missed the statutory deadline for reply and is in breach of its
obligations under the Act. I very much regret this - the Department
should meet its obligations under the Act.

While I appreciate that it is in no way a justification I should like to
explain that the Department makes every effort to meet deadlines, but the
delay in responding in this case has been due to the unusual volume of
requests the Department has received in recent months. The Information
Commissioner has been informed of the situation.

Outstanding correspondence is reviewed by officials on a weekly basis.
Your correspondence is therefore under regular review and we will forward
a full response to you as soon as possible.

Once again please accept my sincere apologies for the delay.

Yours sincerely,

Josephine Bell
Independent Schools Partnerships and Strategy Team
[email address]
[1]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0067231.

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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 Department for Children, Schools and Families's handling of my FOI request 'Home Education Review: statistics for home educated children known to social care.'.

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

You have allocated my correspondence the following reference number: 2009/0067231

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins,
I am writing further to you email dated 13 September about your earlier
correspondence, reference 2009/0067231. I should like to apologise for
the delay in replying. The Department is aware that it has missed the
statutory deadline for reply and is in breach of its obligations under the
Act. I very much regret this - the Department should meet its obligations
under the Act.

While I appreciate that it is in no way a justification I should like to
explain that the Department makes every effort to meet deadlines, but the
delay in responding in this case has been due to the unusual volume of
requests the Department has received in recent months. The Information
Commissioner has been informed of the situation.

The Department normally considers requests for an internal review
following a response being sent to you. I can assure you that your
correspondence is currently being considered and a reply will be sent to
you as soon as possible. If you are unhappy with that reply please
contact me in writing and an internal review will be considered.

Yours sincerely,

Josephine Bell
Independent Schools Partnerships and STrtegy Team
[email address]
[1]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0078170.

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Dear Sir or Madam,

Re: correspondence reference 2009/0067231

This request is now a month overdue. Please can you give me an estimate of when I can expect a reply. I note that requests submitted after mine have been answered.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Copy of previous email

Dear Sir or Madam,

Re: correspondence reference 2009/0067231

This request is now a month overdue. Please can you give me an estimate of when I can expect a reply. I note that requests submitted after mine have been answered.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins,
I am writing further to your email dated 28 September about the delay in
responding to case reference 2009/0067231.

As advised in our email dated 3 September, the Department is aware that it
has missed the statutory deadline for reply and is in breach of its
obligations under the Act. I can assure you that your correspondence is
being considered and a reply will be sent to you as soon as possible.

Please accept my apologies for the delay. A reply will be sent to you as
soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Josephine Bell
Independent Schools Partnerships and Strategy Team
[email address]
[1]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0067231.

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Mrs.J.E.Garrett left an annotation ()

This is very similar to about half a dozen requests which have also been stalled, all asking the same question or very similar questions. It is looking more and more likely that the DCSF has something to hide about the badman review.
Now if they were above board and answered the basic questions then they could clear half of their work load. But they won't because then they would be proven to be using dodgy data to 'prove' a pre-determined result.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Further to my Freedom of Information request, case reference 2009/0067231. My intention was to use the information requested to inform my response to the government consultation, Home Education - registration and monitoring proposals. I had hoped that applying for the information twelve weeks before the deadline would allow you sufficient time to answer as well as time for me to consider the statistics.

I understand that the department normally considers requests for an internal review after a response has been sent. However, as your response is now seven weeks late and looks likely to be too late for the intended purpose of my request, I would like to request an internal review (as suggested in your response to my previous request for an internal review) into why your department continues to break the law in this way.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Mrs.J.E.Garrett left an annotation ()

I would stop dealing with them on their playing field, they can sit there and do nothing for as long as they like. Send this complaint off to the information commisioner.

The web page for it is.
http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number
2009/0085891.

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0870 0002288
www.dcsf.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Mrs.J.E.Garrett left an annotation ()

Told you so, they have given themselves another 20 days leaway, taking it past the consultation deadline.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Further to my Freedom of Information request, case reference 2009/0067231. Just to confirm, in case it was not clear from my last letter, I would still like my original FOI request to be answered. Your reply is now more than two months overdue.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Dear Sir or Madam,

Re: 2009/0067231

You have still not replied to my original Freedom of Information request made on the 26th July and are now overdue with a reply to my request for an internal review. Please can you give this information request your attention.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Dear Sir or Madam,

Re: 2009/0067231

Could I at least have an acknowledgement that you have received this and my two previous follow up messages dated 31st October and 11th November? It would also be nice to have a reply to the original request.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs
Wilkins,
Your Ref: 2009/0067231
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 27 July 2009.

Before answering your request I should like to apologise for the considerable delay in replying. The
Department is aware that it has missed the statutory deadline for reply and is in breach of its
obligations under the Act. I very much regret this - the Department should meet its obligations under
the Act. While I appreciate that it is in no way a justification I should like to explain that the
Department makes every effort to meet deadlines, but the delay in responding in this case has been due
to the unusual volume of requests the Department has received in recent months. The Information
Commissioner has been informed of the situation.

You requested the following -

According to an annex of the Graham Badman's Report To The
Secretary of State on The Review Of Elective Home Education in
England,

"Within the 25 LAs for which we have data, there were 477
registered home educated children who were currently known to
social care."

I hereby request under the Freedom of Information Act the total
number of children known to be Electively Home Educated and the
number known to social care for each of the 25 LAs. It is not
necessary to identify the LAs, a numbered list from 1 to 25
including the total of children known to be Electively Home
Educated followed by the total known to social care will be
sufficient. This should avoid any risk of individual children being
identified.

Also, I would like a copy of the original request for this data as
sent to LAs, any information held on how many LAs received the
request and any information on how they were selected. Please also
include any responses to this request received from LAs but not
included in the 25 mentioned above (for e.g. some may have given a
total figure for Electively Home Educated children but no figure
for known to social care).

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act").

25 LAs and 477 registered home educated children

The Department holds some information about the 25 LAs and the number of home educated known to social
care in each. This information is being withheld because the following absolute exemptions under the Act
apply to it:

Section 40. Having carefully reviewed the information in scope of your request, the Department considers
that the absolute exemption at section 40 of the Act is engaged because the some of information
requested constitutes personal data, disclosure of which would contravene the data protection
principles. Data are `personal data' if, taken with `other information' they enable a living individual
to whom the data relate to be identified.

Section 38(1)(a) and (b) this section 38 provides that information is exempt if its disclosure under the
Act would, or would be likely, to

(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual; or

(b) endanger the safety of any individual.

This exemption is subject to the public interest test which means that even where prejudice or likely
prejudice can be demonstrated, it is still necessary to consider whether in all the circumstances of the
case the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
This exemption covers events that could reasonably be expected but do not have to be definitely
foreseeable.

The case for disclosure of information protected by this exemption rests mainly on the desirability of
greater openness for the purposes of increasing public understanding and trust, and on encouraging
greater accountability.

Conversely, it is reasonable to expect that the release of any information which might lead to the
identification of the families of those registered as at risk might result in a deterrent effect to
participation in, and co-operation with, the appropriate safeguarding processes in the future, leading
to increased risk to vulnerable children. Under certain circumstances unlawful action might be taken
against those thought to be in some way culpable. Such action could never be justified, nor would
release of information leading to identification or possibly to misidentification of individuals. The
most effective precaution which could be taken to prevent anticipated danger to individuals lies in not
disclosing information which could put them at risk.

Although your request for local authority data to be listed anonymously might at first glance seem not
to cause these problems, we know that a number of FoI requests have been made to individual authorities
and in our opinion the aggregation of this data together with data that could be disclosed by individual
local authorities, might lead to a situation where small groups of home educated children might be
identified.

Having carried out the balancing test, the Department takes the view that it is not in the public
interest for any of the information to be released.

Original data request

A copy of the original request sent to LAs can be disclosed in response to your request. Please see
attached.

All top tier local authorities (150) were sent the first local authority questionnaire (Annex D of
Graham Badman's report). 90 responses were received. A second questionnaire was sent to the 90 local
authorities who responded to the first request. 25 responses to this second questionniare were
received.

Two further responses were received after the data had been analysed, this information has not been
included in published statistics.

The information supplied to you is protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Any
documents produced by government officials will be covered by Crown Copyright. You are free to use the
information for your own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the
purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial publication, would require the
permission of the copyright holder and is regulated by the Reuse of Public Sector Information
Regulations 2005. You can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright at:

Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU

Email: [1][email address]

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference
number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the
Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will
be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of
your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the
Information Commissioner's Office.
Yours sincerely,

Lisa White
[2]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0067231.

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2. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/

Dear Sir or Madam,

Further to my request received by you on 27 July 2009, Ref: 2009/0067231 and your response on the 24th November 2009.

I understand that you do not wish to reveal actual numbers of home educated children known to social services and actual numbers of home educated children for each of the 25 Local Authorities.

As an alternative, could you provide the number of children known to social services as a percentage all known home educated children within the LA for each LA (again, not necessary to name LAs)? Providing just a percentage figure for each LA without revealing either actual numbers of home educated children known to social services or numbers of home educators known to a LA would prevent comparisons to other FOI requests to LAs (as any number of combinations of figures could produce identical percentage rates).

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number
2009/0099724.

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0870 0002288
www.dcsf.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Wilkins, Your
Ref: 2009/0099724
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 24 November 2009.

You requested the following -

I understand that you do not wish to reveal actual numbers of home
educated children known to social services and actual numbers of
home educated children for each of the 25 Local Authorities.

As an alternative, could you provide the number of children known
to social services as a percentage all known home educated children
within the LA for each LA (again, not necessary to name LAs)?
Providing just a percentage figure for each LA without revealing
either actual numbers of home educated children known to social
services or numbers of home educators known to a LA would prevent
comparisons to other FOI requests to LAs (as any number of
combinations of figures could produce identical percentage rates).

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act").

You have asked for the number of children known to social services as a percentage of all known home educated children
for each LA which can be released.

I attach a graph in relation to your request, showing the spread of results from different local authorities on the
percentage of children known to social care. This graph supports Mr Badman's statement that `the number of children
known to children's social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to the size of the home
education population'.

You will note that one local authority has over 60% of their children known to social care. This is slightly higher
than what was published in the working paper at
[1]http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/foischeme/subPage....
This is a result of undergoing further quality assurance.

The information supplied to you is protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Any documents produced by
government officials will be covered by Crown Copyright. You are free to use the information for your own purposes,
including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder and is regulated by the Reuse of
Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. You can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright at:

Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU

Email: [2][email address]

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in
any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing
to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent
review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the Information
Commissioner's Office.
Yours sincerely,

Lisa White
[3]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0099724.

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2. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]
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Dear Department for Children, Schools and Families,

Re: correspondence allocated the reference number 2009/0067231

Thank you for your reply dated 21st December however, unfortunately, it does not provide enough information for my purposes and would like to request further clarification. Apologies for not framing my previous request correctly.

The original request was for the figures for 25 LAs, yet the chart you provide only gives percentages for 23. Can you explain the discrepancy?

Presuming you have access to the full figures from the 25 LAs, can you give me the total number of EHE children known to the 25 LAs and confirm that this it the total population from which the "477 registered home educated children who were currently known to social care" was taken from. Providing total figures for all 25 LAs without revealing figures for individual LAs will prevent comparisons to other FOI requests to LAs and the risk of revealing individual identities.

Also, the link you provide for the working paper does not work. Please can you check and re-send it.

Thanks for you help so far,

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Wilkins

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Mrs Wilkins

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0106593

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0870 0002288
www.dcsf.gov.uk

show quoted sections

ivanataylor left an annotation ()

So, have I got it right. If we ask for the TRUTH we are considered vexatious??

Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs
Wilkins,
Your Ref: 2009/0106593
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 21 December 2009. I am sorry you
have not received an earlier reply to your email.

You requested the following -

Thank you for your reply dated 21st December however,
unfortunately, it does not provide enough information for my
purposes and would like to request further clarification. Apologies
for not framing my previous request correctly.

The original request was for the figures for 25 LAs, yet the chart
you provide only gives percentages for 23. Can you explain the
discrepancy?

Presuming you have access to the full figures from the 25 LAs, can
you give me the total number of EHE children known to the 25 LAs
and confirm that this it the total population from which the "477
registered home educated children who were currently known to
social care" was taken from. Providing total figures for all 25 LAs
without revealing figures for individual LAs will prevent
comparisons to other FOI requests to LAs and the risk of revealing
individual identities.

Also, the link you provide for the working paper does not work.
Please can you check and re-send it.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act").

The chart provided in my last email dated 21 December gave the percentage of children known to
social care for 22 LAs including one LA whose response was `0'. The remaining 3 LAs did not provide
a response to this question.

Unfortunately it is not clear from your email the information you are requesting. The total number
of EHE children known to the 25 LAs is 4855. This is the total population from which the 477
registered EHE children who were currently known to social care was taken from. I apologise if this
is not what you are requesting and to please contact me if you require further information.

The information supplied to you is protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Any
documents produced by government officials will be covered by Crown Copyright. You are free to use
the information for your own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for
the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial publication, would require
the permission of the copyright holder and is regulated by the Reuse of Public Sector Information
Regulations 2005. You can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright at:

Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU

Email: [1][email address]

I also attach the working paper for your attention.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference
number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the
Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint
will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact
the Information Commissioner's Office.
Yours sincerely,

Lisa White
[2]www.dcsf.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0106593.

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References

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mailto:[email address]
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