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Local Authorities who have agreemnts with doctors regarding Home Education

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Dear Department for Education,

In your recently published guidelines for Local Authorities on Home Education, you state in paragraph 4.4:

"4.4 In particular, local authorities should explore the scope for using agreements with health bodies, general practitioners and other agencies, to increase their knowledge of children who are not attending school. Some local authorities already actively encourage referrals from doctors and hospitals of children whom there is reason to think may be home educated. "

You say: "Some local authorities already actively encourage referrals from doctors and hospitals of children whom there is reason to think may be home educated. "

Under FOI, please would you provide the following information:

1) How many Local Authorities "actively encourage referrals from doctors and hospitals of children whom there is reason to think may be home educated."?
2) Please state which Local Authorities are included in the answer to 1).

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Brown

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
receive a reply within 15 working days.

You can find out how the department processes your personal information by
reading our [1]Privacy Notice.

 

 

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Mr Andrew Brown,

Thank you for your recent enquiry. 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 reference number 2019-0014191.

Thank you

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

 

BISHOP, Stephen, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Brown

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 6 April.

 

You requested:

 

In your recently published guidelines for Local Authorities on Home
Education, you state in paragraph 4.4:

 

"4.4 In particular, local authorities should explore the scope for using
agreements with health bodies, general practitioners and other agencies,
to increase their knowledge of children who are not attending school. Some
local authorities already actively encourage referrals from doctors and
hospitals of children whom there is reason to think may be home educated.
"

 

You say: "Some local authorities already actively encourage referrals from
doctors and hospitals of children whom there is reason to think may be
home educated. "

 

Under FOI, please would you provide the following information:

 

1) How many Local Authorities "actively encourage referrals from doctors
and hospitals of children whom there is reason to think may be home
educated."?

2) Please state which Local Authorities are included in the answer to 1).

 

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

The information you requested is not held by this department.

 

It may be helpful if I explain that although this information is not
collected in a systemic way, the department is aware of it as an existing
practice from discussion with groups of home education officers
representing local authorities; and wishes to encourage its adoption as
general practice.

 

If you have any queries about this email, 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 email.  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

 

 

 

Stephen Bishop

Independent Education and Boarding Team

Department for Education

[1][email address]

01325 340440 (int x640440)

 

 

 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Dear BISHOP, Stephen,

Dear Mr Bishop,

Thank you for your prompt response to my FOI request, and for confirming that DfE do not hold the information I have requested.

Given that you do not have this information, I think it is somewhat misleading to include statements about LAs having such agreements therefore. If it is only anecdotal from discussions you have had, and you have not actually seen or hold details of such agreements, I do not think (in my opinion) it is appropriate to say this in the Guidelines. Other LAs will read this statement and perhaps wrongly believe they are one of the few who do not have such agreements, whereas there is no hard evidence that any have agreements in place. However, all of this is my opinion only, and as such unrelated to FOI requests or legislation.

Under FOI however, please would you provide copies of any written notes the department has taken during the discussions you mention? This may give me an indication of which LAs have such agreements. If such notes are emailed after the discussions, then these would be fine (as opposed to the handwritten ones actually taken during the discussion).

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Brown

BISHOP, Stephen, Department for Education

Dear Mr Brown

Thank you. Please note that your new request has been allocated the reference number 2019-0015517, with an FOI deadline of 15 May.

Stephen Bishop
Independent Education and Boarding Team
Department for Education
[email address]
01325 340440 (int x640440)

 

show quoted sections

BISHOP, Stephen, Department for Education

Dear Mr Brown

 

Thank you for your request, received on 12 April 2019. You requested:

 

Thank you for your prompt response to my FOI request (2019-0014191), and
for confirming that DfE do not hold the information I have requested.

 

Given that you do not have this information, I think it is somewhat
misleading to include statements about LAs having such agreements
therefore. If it is only anecdotal from discussions you have had, and you
have not actually seen or hold details of such agreements, I do not think
(in my opinion) it is appropriate to say this in the Guidelines. Other LAs
will read this statement and perhaps wrongly believe they are one of the
few who do not have such agreements, whereas there is no hard evidence
that any have agreements in place. However, all of this is my opinion
only, and as such unrelated to FOI requests or legislation.

 

Under FOI however, please would you provide copies of any written notes
the department has taken during the discussions you mention? This may give
me an indication of which LAs have such agreements. If such notes are
emailed after the discussions, then these would be fine (as opposed to the
handwritten ones actually taken during the discussion).

 

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

 

The information you requested is not held by this department, because no
notes of any such meetings have been retained.

 

If you have any queries about this email, 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 email.  Your complaint will be considered by an
independent review panel, which 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

 

 

Stephen Bishop

Independent Education and Boarding Team

Department for Education

[1][email address]

01325 340440 (int x640440)

 

 

 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Local Authorities who have agreemnts with doctors regarding Home Education'.

The department was not able to say which Local Authorities have agreements with doctors, as this was discussed at some meetings with the LAs. However, the department has now stated that no meeting notes were retained - that is, were there any notes, these have since been destroyed.

It is common practice, after a meeting, to share notes or actions from the meeting via email afterwards. While I understand that handwritten notes or personal notes may have been destroyed, I would expect the department to still retain copies of emails/notes on their email servers. I would be grateful if this FOI response could be reviewed please to ensure this information is not retained on a server somewhere?

When making statements in published guidelines about "some local authorities" having agreements with doctors to share information on home education, the department should have some evidence of this fact.

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

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Brown

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
receive a reply within 15 working days.

You can find out how the department processes your personal information by
reading our [1]Privacy Notice.

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

BISHOP, Stephen, Department for Education

Dear Mr Brown

Thank you for your request for an internal review of the department's response to your FOI request reference 2019-0015517

Your request has been assigned the reference number in the email title line above. Please quote it in any correspondence. The deadline for the department to respond with the findings of the internal review is 18 June.

We shall now make arrangements to set up the review on the basis described in the earlier response. If you have any queries at this stage, please let me know.

Stephen Bishop
Independent Education and Boarding Team
Department for Education
[email address]
01325 340440 (int x640440)

 

show quoted sections

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Mr Brown

FOI request 2019-0019141 (A Brown)

I refer to your request for an internal review, which was received on 19
May.

You requested:

Dear Department for Education,

 

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

 

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's
handling of my FOI request 'Local Authorities who have agreemnts with
doctors regarding Home Education'.

 

The department was not able to say which Local Authorities have agreements
with doctors, as this was discussed at some meetings with the LAs.
However, the department has now stated that no meeting notes were retained
- that is, were there any notes, these have since been destroyed.

 

It is common practice, after a meeting, to share notes or actions from the
meeting via email afterwards. While I understand that handwritten notes or
personal notes may have been destroyed, I would expect the department to
still retain copies of emails/notes on their email servers. I would be
grateful if this FOI response could be reviewed please to ensure this
information is not retained on a server somewhere?

 

When making statements in published guidelines about "some local
authorities" having agreements with doctors to share information on home
education, the department should have some evidence of this fact.

 

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

 

The department has now completed its internal review process and has
carried out a thorough review of the case, chaired by a senior officer who
was not involved with the original request. The department has decided to
uphold the original decision not to disclose the information concerned,
for the same reasons set out in the email of 15 May, because no notes of
the meetings in question have been retained.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you have the right to appeal
directly to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at:

           The Case Reception Unit

           Customer Service Team

Information Commissioner’s Office

           Wycliffe House

           Water Lane

           Wilmslow

           Cheshire

           SK9 5AF

 

Further information about the Information Commissioner’s complaints
procedure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website:
[2]https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

Yours sincerely

 

 

Stephen Bishop

Independent Education and Boarding Team

Department for Education

[email address]

01325 340440

Web: [3]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [4]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [5]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

References

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1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...
2. https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...
3. https://www.education.gov.uk/
4. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
5. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Andrew Brown please sign in and let everyone know.