How are Wiltshire Council ensuring schools and academies are compliant with the law in how they treat students?

Miss B White made this Freedom of Information request to Wiltshire 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 successful.

This is a two part question:

How is Wiltshire Council is assuring itself of the extent to which secondary schools and academies are meeting the requirements of the following standards: equality act, safeguarding regulations, and the SEND Code of Practice? Please provide policies and information from your management system to answer this question.

Please also provide evidence (less than 7 years old) that Wiltshire Council has assured itself of the extent to which secondary schools and academies are meeting the requirements of the following standards: equality act, safeguarding regulations, and the SEND Code of Practice.
Evidence I am seeking will be in the form of the following:
• audit and assurance plans
• assurance reports or audit reports
• Audit committee summaries classifying the level of assurance and the risks
• lists of completed or outstanding actions which need to be conducted to improve compliance with the above standards.

Many thanks,
I look forward to your response.

B White (Miss)

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Good morning,

Thank you for your request for information received on 11 March 2020.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days.

Andrew McConaghy
Freedom of Information and Records Lead
Information Governance Team
Corporate Services

Tel: 01225 713632
Email: [email address]
Web: www.wiltshire.gov.uk
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FOI, Wiltshire Council

4 Attachments

Dear Madam,

Freedom of Information Request – ENQ12654-REQ001

Thank you for your request for information dated 11 March 2020 in which you asked for the following information:

How is Wiltshire Council is assuring itself of the extent to which secondary schools and academies are meeting the requirements of the following standards: equality act, safeguarding regulations, and the SEND Code of Practice? Please provide policies and information from your management system to answer this question.

Please also provide evidence (less than 7 years old) that Wiltshire Council has assured itself of the extent to which secondary schools and academies are meeting the requirements of the following standards: equality act, safeguarding regulations, and the SEND Code of Practice.
Evidence I am seeking will be in the form of the following:
•audit and assurance plans
•assurance reports or audit reports
•Audit committee summaries classifying the level of assurance and the risks
•lists of completed or outstanding actions which need to be conducted to improve compliance with the above standards.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act') The Council is obliged to:

• Let you know whether we hold the information you have requested
• Provide you with the requested information, if held, (subject to any exemptions under the Act which may apply).

I can confirm that Wiltshire Council holds the information you have requested. The information you requested is as follows; and is attached to the email.

Wiltshire Council supports secondary schools and academies meeting statutory safeguarding requirements by:
•requesting that all establishments completed an annual safeguarding audit report (see PDF attached)
•carrying out safeguarding visits during which recommendations are made when standards are below minimum requirements
•providing model policies that the schools and academies can adopt (see Model CP policy and Staff Behaviour Policy attached)

All the secondary schools and academies have submitted a return covering the academic year 2018-19 (see Audit executive summary attached).
When they informed us that they required additional support to meet requirements, we individually contacted them and offered support.

Information supplied under the Act may be subject to copyright protection under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You may use the information provided in response to your request under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

If you are dissatisfied with the above response you have a right to request a review of your request for information. Details of the complaints and review procedure are appended to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Miss Sukhvir Kaur
Information Governance Officer
Email: [email address]

Freedom of Information Complaints & Review Procedure

Any person who has requested information from Wiltshire Council, which has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act is entitled to complain and request an internal review of their request for information if they are dissatisfied with the response they have received.

Requests for review of Freedom of Information requests must be made in writing (includes email) to:

Freedom of Information Lead
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
Wiltshire
BA14 8JN

Email [email address]

Please include the reference number, date of your request and details of why the review is being requested. Requests for review should be brought to the attention of the Freedom of Information Lead within 40 calendar days of the response to the original request.

Any request for review will be acknowledged in writing confirming the reasons for the review. The Freedom of Information Lead will allocate the review to someone who is independent of the original decision. The person conducting the review will set a target date for a response with the intention to complete the review within 20 working days. In more complex cases the review may take up to 40 working days.

The reviewer will conduct a full review of the handling of the request for information and of decisions taken, including decisions taken about where the public interest lies in respect of exempt information where applicable. The review enables a re-evaluation of the case, taking into account any matters raised by the requestor.

On completion of the review the reviewer will reply to the requestor with the result of the review. If the requestor is still dissatisfied following the review they should contact the Information Commissioner to appeal the decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted using the following details:

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

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate)
01625 545 745 (national rate)
Email: [email address]

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Dear FOI in WIltshire Council,

thank you for this very helpful information. In summary I understand that Wiltshire council provides a questionnaire for schools to conduct self-assessment, and it reports a summary of the overall findings. The self assessment has identified that 100% schools say they are at least effective, i.e. they meet statutory requirements.

I have a couple of related questions.
How does Wiltshire Council assure itself that the schools are accurately assessing their performance?
Who is accountable for the accuracy of the audits?
Who is accountable for ensuring compliance of a school with the laws when it comes to lived experience?

Yours sincerely,

Miss B White

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Good morning,

Thank you for your request for information received on 2 April 2020.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days.

Andrew McConaghy
Freedom of Information and Records Lead
Information Governance Team
Corporate Services

Tel: 01225 713632
Email: [email address]
Web: www.wiltshire.gov.uk
Follow Wiltshire Council

Sign up to Wiltshire Council’s email news service

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FOI, Wiltshire Council

Dear Madam,

Freedom of Information Request – ENQ12654-REQ002

Thank you for your request for information dated 2 April 2020 in which you asked for the following information:

How is Wiltshire Council is assuring itself of the extent to which secondary schools and academies are meeting the requirements of the following standards: equality act, safeguarding regulations, and the SEND Code of Practice?

Please provide policies and information from your management system to answer this question.

Please also provide evidence (less than 7 years old) that Wiltshire Council has assured itself of the extent to which secondary schools and academies are meeting the requirements of the following standards: equality act, safeguarding regulations, and the SEND Code of Practice.

Evidence I am seeking will be in the form of the following:
audit and assurance plans
assurance reports or audit reports
Audit committee summaries classifying the level of assurance and the risks
lists of completed or outstanding actions which need to be conducted to improve compliance with the above standards.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act') The Council is obliged to:

• Let you know whether we hold the information you have requested
• Provide you with the requested information, if held, (subject to any exemptions under the Act which may apply).

I can confirm that Wiltshire Council holds the information you have requested. The information you requested is as follows;

•How does Wiltshire Council assure itself that the schools are accurately assessing their performance?
Headteachers are asked
•to compile evidence relating to the questions asked and
•to complete the audit return with the nominated governor for safeguarding, to enable them to provide oversight and scrutiny.
The questions are formulated to reflect accurately and precisely the statutory guidance, to prevent subjective interpretation.

•Who is accountable for the accuracy of the audits?
Headteachers and governors are responsible for the accuracy of the audit.
They are reminded annually that this audit is carried out under Section 157 and Section 175 of the Education Act 2002.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 sets out the requirements for schools and academies regarding the development and delivery of safeguarding practice, procedures and training. They should also be prepared to supply information as requested by the three safeguarding partners. (para 74 of KCSiE).

•Who is accountable for ensuring compliance of a school with the laws when it comes to lived experience?
The governing body and headteacher are accountable for compliance with lived experience through monitoring and evaluation work
Council officers audit safeguarding practice during visits to schools. Safeguarding audits are completed as a result of risks to safeguarding practice at the school identified by representatives of one or more of the three safeguarding partners or by complaints raised to Ofsted. Audits are also completed at the school request.

Information supplied under the Act may be subject to copyright protection under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You may use the information provided in response to your request under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

If you are dissatisfied with the above response you have a right to request a review of your request for information. Details of the complaints and review procedure are appended to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Miss Sukhvir Kaur
Information Governance Officer
Email: [email address]

Freedom of Information Complaints & Review Procedure

Any person who has requested information from Wiltshire Council, which has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act is entitled to complain and request an internal review of their request for information if they are dissatisfied with the response they have received.

Requests for review of Freedom of Information requests must be made in writing (includes email) to:

Freedom of Information Lead
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
Wiltshire
BA14 8JN

Email [email address]

Please include the reference number, date of your request and details of why the review is being requested. Requests for review should be brought to the attention of the Freedom of Information Lead within 40 calendar days of the response to the original request.

Any request for review will be acknowledged in writing confirming the reasons for the review. The Freedom of Information Lead will allocate the review to someone who is independent of the original decision. The person conducting the review will set a target date for a response with the intention to complete the review within 20 working days. In more complex cases the review may take up to 40 working days.

The reviewer will conduct a full review of the handling of the request for information and of decisions taken, including decisions taken about where the public interest lies in respect of exempt information where applicable. The review enables a re-evaluation of the case, taking into account any matters raised by the requestor.

On completion of the review the reviewer will reply to the requestor with the result of the review. If the requestor is still dissatisfied following the review they should contact the Information Commissioner to appeal the decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted using the following details:

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

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate)
01625 545 745 (national rate)
Email: [email address]

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Dear FOI,

I believe I am still waiting for similar information relating to the equality act and the SEND Code of Practice which were asked in my initial request for information dated 11 March 2020. I look forward to the remaining information as soon as possible as it is now over the expected time limit. This electronic system requires me to raise this as a request for an internal review.

in summary of the very helpful information that you have given me so far:

My understanding of your response with respect to safeguarding laws and rules, is that to assure itself that schools are properly compliant, Wiltshire council
• provides a questionnaire for schools to conduct self-assessment,
• relies on Heads and Governors adhering to the law i.e. being honest in their responses. All Heads and Governors are responsible and accountable for honest reporting and ensuring lived experience matches their reports.
• verification via audit is limited to occasions where a concern has been raised.

I eagerly await your prompt reply.

Yours sincerely,

Miss B White

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your email.

I will clarify the response and information provided with the relevant service area within the council.

We'll come back to you once they have responded to us.

Kind regards,

Kyle McCormack

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Dear Wiltshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wiltshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'How are Wiltshire Council ensuring schools and academies are compliant with the law in how they treat students?'.

18 days ago I alerted the council to the fact that they had provided only a partial answer to my question.
Please answer the question in entirety or follow steps within the law.

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

Yours faithfully,

Miss B White

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Dear Miss White,

Thank you for your email.

I've logged your request for a review and the reference number is 202000008. This will be handled by Josie Convery, who will make contact with you in due course.

Kind regards,

Kyle McCormack

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Convery, Josie, Wiltshire Council

4 Attachments

Dear Miss White,

 

Please find my review acknowledgement letter attached.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Josie

 

 

Josie Convery
Senior Information Governance Officer – FOI and Records

 

Information Governance

 

[1]cid:image004.png@01D588B9.B1489930
Tel: 01225 712612
Email: [2][email address]    
Web: [3]www.wiltshire.gov.uk

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Monday is a non-working day

 

 

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Convery, Josie, Wiltshire Council

4 Attachments

Dear Miss White,

 

Please find my review response attached.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Josie

 

 

Josie Convery
Senior Information Governance Officer – FOI and Records

 

Information Governance

 

[1]cid:image004.png@01D588B9.B1489930
Tel: 01225 712612
Email: [2][email address]    
Web: [3]www.wiltshire.gov.uk

Follow Wiltshire Council

[4]cid:image002.png@01D588B9.B144EFB0 [5]cid:image003.png@01D588B9.B144EFB0

[6]Sign up to Wiltshire Council’s email news service

 

Monday is a non-working day

 

 

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