Operation Shogun, Sedbury Park School Child Sexual Abuse

Cathy Fox made this Freedom of Information request to Gloucestershire County 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 refused by Gloucestershire County Council.

Dear Gloucestershire County Council,

Please could you send me the final report of Operation Shogun, an investigation into child sexual abuse centering on Sedbury Park School stating in 1998 and finishing finally about April 2005.
Could you also send me the Council Response to the Report which is usually of the format, minutes of the social services committee or equivalent discussing the Report and formulating policy for lessons learnt, and then minutes of full council approval of this

Yours faithfully,

Cathy Fox

Sue Morris, Gloucestershire County Council

Information request
Our reference: 619628

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Dear ‎Ms Fox‏
 
Request for Information (Reference: 619628)
 
Thank you for your request for information, received on 24 September 2015.
 
Request summary: Could you please send me the final report of Operation
Shogun, an investigation into child sexual abuse centering on Sedbury Park
School starting in 1998 and finishing about April 2005. Could you also
send the Council response to the report usually of the format, minutes of
the social services committee or equivalent discussing the Report and
formulating policy for lessons learnt, and the minutes of the full council
approval of this.
 
We will respond to your request as soon as possible, and no later than 22
October 2015 (the statutory timescale of 20 working days, starting on the
working day following receipt of your request). We may need to contact you
if the request needs to be clarified; this is to ensure we provide you
with the information you require.
 
If the information you have requested is held by another public authority,
we will inform you of this so that you can contact them directly.
 
Gloucestershire County Council is committed to the principles of
information disclosure and will, wherever possible, provide all
information requested. However, some information you have requested may
not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld
by law, and, in most cases, the reason will be explained to you when we
send out any information that can be released. We will also inform you as
soon as possible if we do not hold the information you have requested.
 
Our response to your request may be published in our disclosure log, with
your personal details removed. Our new disclosure log can be found on our
website at: [1]www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/foi.  In future, you may find
that the answer to your questions about the Council has already been
published.
 
Yours sincerely 

Sue Morris 
Information Management Service Administrator
 
01452 425186 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/foi

Teresa Wilmshurst, Gloucestershire County Council

Information request
Our reference: 619628

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Dear Ms Fox
I am emailing with regards your request for information:

Could you please send me the final report of Operation Shogun, an
investigation into child sexual abuse centering on Sedbury Park School
starting in 1998 and finishing about April 2005. Could you also send the
Council response to the report usually of the format, minutes of the
social services committee or equivalent discussing the Report and
formulating policy for lessons learnt, and the minutes of the full council
approval of this?
 
Could you please clarify the specific information you are requesting as we
are not able to search for information without being able to identify
which report you are referring to, for example details such as the
authoring organisation of the report?  Furthermore, if you have any
further information regarding more targetted timeframes this would also
assist us with our searches. Please also note that the final report may
not be held by the Council if it were undertaken by the police, so you may
need to contact the police directly. 

You may also wish to undertake your own searches at Gloucestershire
Archives, as it is possible that some information may be available from
there.
Once we hear from you again, we will continue to process your request.  If
we do not hear from you  by 3 January 2016, we will assume you no longer
require the information and close the request.

Yours sincerely
Teresa Wilmshurst 
 

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,

The Report should have been a joint Report by the Council and the Police as it was a joint investigation.
I am surprised that relevant people in the Council do not remember this, but perhaps the best way to search would be in Social Services Committee minutes on and after April 2005.
Usually the Social Services Director produces a Report for discussion about the investigation into Sedbury Park, and from this you should be able to find the final Operation Shogun report details.
The Social Services Director Report into Operation Shogun investigation is part of the Council Response that I have also requested

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Teresa Wilmshurst, Gloucestershire County Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 619628

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Dear Ms Fox
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 24 September 2015.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 

We would like to hear your views on our service. If you’d like to tell us
how we did, you can complete our feedback form online at
[1]http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/foifee...

Yours sincerely

Teresa Wilmshurst 
 
 
01452 425317 
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/foifee...

Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,
Re 619628
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I am not able to travel to the archives, therefore the information is not reasonably accessible to me as per ICO advice.
Could you confirm that the archives come under the same FOI email address as Gloucestershire County Council?

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Teresa Wilmshurst, Gloucestershire County Council

Dear Ms Fox,

Thank you for your email.  Contact details for the Archives are avilable
via this link:
[1]http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archiv...

With regards not being able to visit the Archives, the service should be
able to advise you about researchers who could undertake searches on your
behalf.

I hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,

Teresa Wilmshurst

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Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,
Re 619628
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I am not able to travel to the
archives, therefore the information is not reasonably accessible to me as
per ICO advice.
Could you confirm that the archives come under the same FOI email address
as Gloucestershire County Council?
Yours sincerely,
Cathy Fox

show quoted sections

Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,

I am sorry I phrased the question poorly. Can you tell me whether the archives come under Gloucestershire council for FOI? Do the Council own the archives?

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Teresa Wilmshurst, Gloucestershire County Council

Dear Ms Fox,

Thank you for your email.  Gloucestershire Archives are part of
Gloucestershire County Council.  Any request sent to the Archives that
falls under the remit of FOI will be dealt with by the FOI team at the
Council.  However, if someone asks for information held by the Archives,
this will be dealt with by the Archives as it doesn't fall under FOI.

I hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,

Teresa Wilmshurst

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Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,
I am sorry I phrased the question poorly. Can you tell me whether
the archives come under Gloucestershire council for FOI? Do the
Council own the archives?
Yours sincerely,
Cathy Fox

show quoted sections

Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,
Thank you for that explanation. Could you tell me why it does not fall under FOI?

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Teresa Wilmshurst, Gloucestershire County Council

Dear Ms Fox,

Thank you for your email.  It doesn't fall under FOI as it is considered
to be reasonably accessible to the public as it is available for
inspection.

I hope this helps explain the situation.

Yours sincerely,

Teresa Wilmshurst

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Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,
Thank you for that explanation. Could you tell me why it does not
fall under FOI?
Yours sincerely,
Cathy Fox

show quoted sections

Dear Teresa Wilmshurst,

This is not correct.
Please find below guidance from the ICO
Firstly an authority is meant to confirm or deny whether you hold it, even if you do not provide it
Secondly the
information is not reasonably accessible as I do not live anywhere near Gloucester.

Section 21 – information already reasonably accessible

This exemption applies if the information requested is already accessible to the requester. You could apply this if you know that the requester already has the information, or if it is already in the public domain. For this exemption, you will need to take into account any information the requester gives you about their circumstances. For example, if information is available to view in a public library in Southampton, it may be reasonably accessible to a local resident but not to somebody living in Glasgow. Similarly, an elderly or infirm requester may tell you they don’t have access to the internet at home and find it difficult to go to their local library, so information available only over the internet would not be reasonably accessible to them.

When applying this exemption, you have a duty to confirm or deny whether you hold the information, even if you are not going to provide it. You should also tell the requester where they can get it.

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Dear Gloucestershire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Gloucestershire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Operation Shogun, Sedbury Park School Child Sexual Abuse'. 619628

If the Council is not going to answer my request in line with the FOI Act, please send this for an internal review.
If you determine that for any reasons you do not wish to carry out an internal review, then please treat this as a new request. Either way please carry out your duty under the FOI Act, to provide me with the information.
The Council have tried illegally to hide behind exemption 21 without confirming or denying whether you hold the information which you are obliged to do, as well as that it is not applicable becuase it is not applicable to me on the grounds that I live nowhere near Gloucestershire. You have even tried to say it does not come under FOI, which is clearly not correct.
The guidance from ICO is quite clear and is repeated below.
Please therefore fulfill my request from last September without further delay.
"Please could you send me the final report of Operation Shogun, an
investigation into child sexual abuse centering on Sedbury Park
School stating in 1998 and finishing finally about April 2005.
Could you also send me the Council Response to the Report which is
usually of the format, minutes of the social services committee or
equivalent discussing the Report and formulating policy for lessons
learnt, and then minutes of full council approval of this"

ICO
Section 21 – information already reasonably accessible
"This exemption applies if the information requested is already
accessible to the requester. You could apply this if you know that
the requester already has the information, or if it is already in
the public domain. For this exemption, you will need to take into
account any information the requester gives you about their
circumstances. For example, if information is available to view in
a public library in Southampton, it may be reasonably accessible to
a local resident but not to somebody living in Glasgow. Similarly,
an elderly or infirm requester may tell you they don’t have access
to the internet at home and find it difficult to go to their local
library, so information available only over the internet would not
be reasonably accessible to them.

When applying this exemption, you have a duty to confirm or deny
whether you hold the information, even if you are not going to
provide it. You should also tell the requester where they can get
it."

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

Yours faithfully,

Cathy Fox

Sue Morris, Gloucestershire County Council

Information request
Our reference: 619628

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Dear Ms Fox
 
Thank you for your request for an internal review received on 5 February
2016. I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle
your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
I can confirm that we are considering your concerns and we will aim to
provide you with a response by 4 March 2016.
 
Yours sincerely
Sue Morris
Information Management Service Administrator

‎01452 324262‏

 

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Jenny Grodzicka, Gloucestershire County Council

Information request
Our reference: 619628

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Dear Ms Fox
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 8 February 2016. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
The County Council’s review policy says you must complain in writing
within 40 working days of receiving the refusal notice, as outlined in the
[1]Council’s Information Compliance Complaints Procedure and this was
explained in our response to your original request.

The response to your original request was issued on 22 October 2015 (our
reference 619628), meaning any appeal needed to have been received by 17
December 2015. I understand you had an initial query regarding your
response, so have also considered this as the starting point for an
appeal; 40 days from our response to that query (16 November 2015) would
mean that an appeal needed to be submitted by 14 January 2016. 
Unfortunately, as your appeal was received after these dates (8 February
2016), the Council can only review the original response provided if there
are extenuating circumstances that caused a delay. If there are
extenuating circumstances that you believe are relevant, please could you
provide me the details and any supporting evidence as soon as possible and
no later than 22 February 2016. 

However, in addition to the information provided about obtaining a
researcher’s services I can inform you that information held in
Gloucestershire Archives is not only available by visiting; enquiries can
be made remotely and copies can be ordered. Therefore, we do not consider
that geographical distance from Gloucestershire Archives has an impact on
whether the information is reasonably accessible. Information about
Gloucestershire Archive’s copying service can be found on the website at
[2]http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archiv... and the scale of
charges for this service is available at
[3]http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archiv...

Right of Appeal

If you remain dissatisfied with this response, please contact the
Information Commissioner, whose contact details are:

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

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (or 01625 545745 if you would prefer not to call an
‘03’ number, or +44 1625 545745 if calling from overseas)

To assist the Information Commissioner in dealing with your complaint, you
can complete their online form, which is available at:
[4]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/. 

Yours sincerely

Jenny Grodzicka

 

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/CHttpH...
2. http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archiv...
3. http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archiv...
4. https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/

Dear Jenny Grodzicka,

Fine, please take this as a new request
Please could you send me the final report of Operation Shogun, an
investigation into child sexual abuse centering on Sedbury Park
School stating in 1998 and finishing finally about April 2005.
Could you also send me the Council Response to the Report which is
usually of the format, minutes of the social services committee or
equivalent discussing the Report and formulating policy for lessons
learnt, and then minutes of full council approval of this

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Jenny Grodzicka, Gloucestershire County Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 2074646

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Dear Ms Fox
 
Thank you for your request for information, received on 11 February 2016.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely
The Information Management Service

01452 324000

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Gloucestershire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Gloucestershire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Operation Shogun, Sedbury Park School Child Sexual Abuse'.

Your ref 2074646
You will note that it is over 60 days since my previous request on this topic, and that it the time that ICO gives as their guideline, therefore it is a legitimate request. Unfortunately I had to re request the information as an individual would not internally review the request.
I now therefore request an internal review of this request on the basis that Gloucestershire County Council have not complied with the FOI Act Section 1 a and 1b
Section (1)Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled—

(a)to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and

(b)if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.

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

Yours faithfully,

Cathy Fox

Chris Stock, Gloucestershire County Council

Information request
Our reference: 2074646

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Dear Ms Fox
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 2 March 2016.  Please
accept my apologies for not acknowledging your request sooner. I am sorry
that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
I can confirm that we are considering your concerns and we will aim to
provide you with a response by 1 April 2016.
 
Yours sincerely
Sue Morris
Information Management Service Administrator

01452 324000

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Chris Stock,

Thankyou for the reply to my request 2074646. The request was sent 22 February, and hence the target date for reply is 21 March. The review should also ascertain why your letter states that you received it on 2 March

Yours sincerely,

Cathy Fox

Chris Stock, Gloucestershire County Council

Information request
Our reference: 2074646

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Dear Ms Fox
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 2 March 2016. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your request and response have been reviewed and I have also taken into
account the ICO's guidance about dealing with repeated requests under
section 14(2). As advised in our response the scope of my review is
limited to the application of the exemption under section 14(2) of the
Freedom of Information Act and the concerns you raised regarding the use
of this exemption.

As a result of the review I can confirm that the response, in which you
were directed you to the Council's answer in October 2015, remains
appropriate.

You have raised a specific concern that you feel that your request is
legitimate as there was more than 60 days since your previous request on
this topic.  I have looked into this and the ICO's guidance on handling
repeated requests doesn't define what is meant by a 'reasonable period'.
Instead we are required to take the following into account:

i) The likelihood that the information will differ significantly from that
provided in response to the previous request; and

ii) The amount of time that has passed (where it is unlikely that the
information will differ in any significant way) since the authority
complied with the previous request.

The information you have requested is clearly historical and therefore
any information the Council holds relating to it will not have changed
since your previous request. When considering the time elapsed, as the
response from October 2015 is still available to you on the What Do They
Know website and the information is clearly historical, there is not
likely to be any new information or a different response to this request
for the foreseeable future.

Right of Appeal

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation into your
complaint, and this response, please contact the Information Commissioner,
whose contact details are:

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

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (or 01625 545745 if you would prefer not to call an
‘03’ number, or +44 1625 545745 if calling from overseas)

To assist the Information Commissioner in dealing with your complaint, you
can complete their online form, which is available at:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/. 

Yours sincerely

Executive Support Manager

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/

Cathy Fox left an annotation ()

There people obviously do not want the information released. They know they did not answer in compliance with the law, and so seek to obfuscate these by a refusal to review what was requested, but only review what they choose to, which comes out in their favour. Thats transparency, Gloucestershire County Council style