Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012

angela mayall made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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Dear Department for Education,

Re The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

Schools must comply with the above Act by 1 September 2013.

What action will be taken by which body if any school is found to be not complying with the legal requirement to provide methods of accessing school lunches other than the use of biometric identification of pupils, after 1 September 2013, as per...

1.Reasonable alternative arrangements must be provided for pupils who do not use automated biometric recognition systems, either because their parents have refused consent (or a parent has objected in writing) or due to the pupil’s own refusal to participate in the collection of their biometric data.

2.The alternative arrangements should ensure that pupils do not suffer any disadvantage or difficulty in accessing services/premises and so on, as a result of their not participating in an automated biometric recognition system. Likewise, such arrangements should not place any additional burden on parents whose children are not participating in such a system.

Thank you.

Regards,

Yours faithfully,

Angela Mayall

Department for Education

Dear Ms Mayall,
 
Thank you for your email of 19 June about the duties in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (‘the Act’) on
the use of automated biometric recognition systems in schools. I have been asked to reply as I work in the
team responsible for this policy area. 

As you are aware, the new provisions in the Act will come into force from 1 September 2013. The provisions
will apply to any school, sixth form college or further education institution using biometric systems where
education is provided to children under 18. 

These new duties require schools and colleges to notify all parents that they intend to take and process
their child’s biometric information and, as long as no one objects in writing, the written consent of only
one parent will be required.  It is important that consent is actively sought and received and that it is
informed consent: requiring schools and colleges to gain written consent makes sure that parents are aware
both that their child’s school uses an automated biometric system and that it is up to them whether or not
their child’s biometric data is taken.   

In addition, as you have highlighted, a pupil can object or refuse to participate in the processing of his
or her biometric information. The child’s right to refuse applies both to the giving and the on-going
storage and processing of biometric data. If at any time the child objects to the processing of biometric
data the school or college must stop doing so.   

Where pupils do not use automated biometric recognition systems, either because their parents have refused
consent or they themselves have refused to participate, schools are required to provide reasonable
alternative arrangements for them. 

We have produced detailed advice for schools explaining the new requirements, including the approach to
communicating with parents. The advice is available on the DfE website:  

[1]http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/admi...

On the question of compliance, schools will be in breach of their statutory duties if they fail to comply
with the requirements of the Act. In addition, schools will be accountable under the normal schools
complaints procedure.  

The sanctions under the Data Protection Act 1998 will also be available for any processing that takes place
in breach of the provisions of that Act, as any such breach will mean that the school or college is
processing personal data unlawfully.    

I hope this is helpful.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0038757. If you need to respond to us, please
visit: [2]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Connolly
School Intelligence and Bureaucracy Reduction Division
[email address]
[3]www.education.gov.uk

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Dear Department for Education,

Thank you for your response.

However, after repeating at length what I had written you then failed completely to answer the question.

You wrote... "schools will be in breach of their statutory duties if they fail to comply with the requirements of the Act".

My question was, and remains, what action will be taken by which body if any school is in breach of its statutory duty to comply with the Act (by providing alternative methods of accessing services)?

I would appreciate it if you would a. answer the above question and b. do so promptly (as required by law).

Yours faithfully,

Angela Mayall

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 'Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012'.

My question was... WHAT ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BY WHICH BODY if any school is found to be not complying with the legal requirement to provide methods of accessing school lunches other than the use of biometric identification of pupils, after 1 September 2013.

My question, which I've asked twice, has not been answered.

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

Yours faithfully,

Angela Mayall

Department for Education

Dear Ms Mayall,
Thank you for your email dated 28 June regarding the collection of
biometric data in schools.
Let me start by apologising for missing your query in our first response.
There are two bodies that have the remit and powers to investigate a
complaint concerning a breach of a school’s duties under the Protection of
Freedoms Act 2013, when this Act comes into force for schools in September
2013, and the existing Data Protection Act 1998.

I should first say that if, in the first instance, you believe that a
school has failed to comply with the requirements of the Act, you should
first complain to the school using the formal complaints process. Each
school in England is required by law to have a complaints procedure and to
publicise that procedure. If, having exhausted the full complaints process
(including appealing), you are not happy with the outcome of your
complaint, then two further options are available to you.

If the school has failed to comply with its duties under the Protection of
Freedoms Act (e.g. failing to notify each parent of a child of the
school’s intention to use the child’s biometric data), and the school
concerned is a maintained school, the Secretary of State may consider and
investigate the complaint directly with the school’s governing body. If it
was decided that the school had not complied with their statutory duties
under the Act, the Secretary of State could issue a direction to the
school.  

On the other hand, if the school fails to comply with the Data Protection
Act (e.g. processing or handling the data inappropriately), the
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) may investigate the complaint.
During the course of their investigation the ICO has the power to:

* serve Information Notices to request specified information to be
provided to the ICO in a set time period;
* issue undertakings which commit organisations to taking steps to
improve data protection practices;
* serve enforcement notices - 'stop now' orders - to require
organisations where there has been a breach to take steps to come into
compliance with the law;
* conduct assessments/audits to assess the practices of organisations,
both voluntarily and compulsorily (for data protection purposes);
* issue monetary penalty notices (up to £500,000 for serious breaches),
as of 2010;
* prosecute criminal offences; and
* report to parliament matters of concern.

However I should stress that we expect any issues concerning the
collection of data to be resolved and dealt with through the school
complaints procedure.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0041857. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Wilde
Teachers' Pensions and Deregulation Division
[email address]
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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Department for Education

Dear Ms Mayall,  

Thank you for your email dated 21 July regarding a freedom of information
request.

For a request to come within the FOI Act, it has to:-

·         Seek access to recorded information about the business of the
Department

·         Engage the Act

·         Be in writing (paper or email)

·         State the name of the requestor and an address for reply (email
addresses are acceptable)

·         Describe the information needed so it can be identified and
located

We did not deal with your requests under the Act as we did not consider
that you were seeking access to recorded information that Department
holds.

With regards to your query dated 28 June on what action will be taken by
which body if any school is found to be not complying with the legal
requirement to provide methods of accessing school lunches other than the
use of biometric identification of pupils, after 1 September 2013.

We replied to your email on Monday 22 July providing full details of who
has the remit and powers to investigate a complaint concerning a breach of
a school’s duties under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2013, when this Act
comes into force for schools in September 2013, and the existing Data
Protection Act 1998. I have checked the link provided in your email and
can see that this reply was received.
 
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0046352. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Mottershead
School Intelligence and Bureaucracy Reduction Division
[email address]
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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References

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

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Further clarification of the answers given by the Department of Education can be found here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...