Publication by children's social workers

Chris Mills made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Dear Kent County Council,

Please tell me what guidelines, rules and policies apply in your authority to the publication, in academic, professional and trade journals, of articles authored by people who are employed by the authority as social workers in the children’s services department or in a comparable role?

Yours faithfully,

Christopher J.Mills

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Mills

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 10^th April 2014 (20 working days from date of receipt).

 

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/14/0517 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

 

Best regards

 

Miss Jemila Dodge

Information Access Officer

Information Resilience & Transparency Team,

Business Strategy & Support, Governance & Law

Kent County Council, Room 2.71, Sessions House, County Road, Maidstone,
ME14 1XQ

Tel: 01622 696265, Internal 7000 6265,

Fax: 01622 696075

[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/cont...

 

 

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Kent County Council

Dear Mr Mills

 

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) 2000, relating to publications by Kent County
Council (KCC) Social Workers. I am pleased to provide the response below:

 

Kent County Council’s general stance is that any request for an employee
to be involved in any media publication needs to be agreed by their
Manager, Service Director, KCC’s Press Office and relevant Cabinet Member
(although the Cabinet Member would not usually need to see academic
articles unless they related to policy issues).

 

KCC’s formal media policies are set out in the Blue Book (Section E)
please see the below extract:

 

‘Media

If you are not authorised to deal with representatives of the media, you
should refer any enquiries you receive to your line manager or to a media
relation’s officer at County Hall. If you have specific authority to deal
with media enquiries, you should only reply to requests for information or
questions which relate to the facts of a situation. If an expression of
opinion or official statement of policy is needed, you must speak to your
Head of Department. Every assistance should be given to elected Members
who need information to deal. With questions from the media, you should
refer to the Corporate Communication Manager for further advice if you are
unsure of the protocols. If you speak as a private individual directly to
the press or at a public meeting or other situation where your remarks may
be reported to the press, ensure nothing you say might lead the public to
think you are acting in your capacity as a KCC employee. If you ever speak
on behalf of a recognised trade union you must make it clear that the
views you are expressing are those of the trade union you represent and
not those of the Authority.’

 

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/14/0517.

 

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner’s website [2]http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Laura Pronger

Information Access Officer

Information Resilience & Transparency Team

Strategic and Corporate Services, Governance & Law

Kent County Council, Room 2.71, Sessions House, County Road, Maidstone,
ME14 1XQ. 

Telephone: 01622 694261, Internal: 7000 4261, Fax: 01622 696075

[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...

 

 

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sandy Joyce left an annotation ()

I think this is a little outdated, as per Sir Munby's ruling in Re J (A Child) on 27 June 2013 states, anyone is free to speak openly to the press. (There is also a new ruling on whistleblowers being offered more protection too)

The court may likewise, by an appropriate injunction, afford anonymity to other participants in the process, for example, an expert, a local authority, or a social worker. Such injunctions, however, will not readily be granted: see the discussions in A v Ward [2010] EWHC 16 (Fam), [2010] 1 FLR 1497, and In re X and others (Children) (Morgan and others intervening) [2011] EWHC 1157 (Fam), [2012] 1 WLR 182, sub nom Re X, Y and Z (Expert Witness), [2011] 2 FLR 1437. As I put it in A v Ward, para [181], any such application in relation to an expert or a social worker must be justified by reference to "the particular circumstances or particular vulnerabilities of specific individuals." What I referred to as a 'class' claim, that is, "a claim that any professional who falls into a certain class – and in the case of … social workers … the membership of the class is very large indeed – is, for that reason, and, truth be told, for that reason alone, entitled in current circumstances to have their identity protected, in plain language to have their identity concealed from the public", will not succeed. Anonymity should not be extended to experts, local authorities and social workers unless there are compelling reasons. Again, I shall return to this below.
Transparency

Before proceeding any further, I do, however, need to emphasise a number of critically important matters. There is nothing new in what follows but the matters to which I wish to refer are so important that they bear constant repetition.
The first matter relates to what it has become conventional to call transparency. There is a pressing need for more transparency, indeed for much more transparency, in the family justice system. There are a number of aspects to this.
One is the right of the public to know, the need for the public to be confronted with, what is being done in its name. Nowhere is this more necessary than in relation to care and adoption cases. Such cases, by definition, involve interference, intrusion, by the state, by local authorities and by the court, into family life. In this context the arguments in favour of publicity – in favour of openness, public scrutiny and public accountability – are particularly compelling

Chris Mills left an annotation ()

The annotation by Sandy Joyce seems to address an entirely separate issue - confidentiality of family court proceedings. My request seems fairly clear to me. It was focused on the publication of articles written by social workers in professional and academic journals. Such articles would, I expect, be about research and policy issues, not individuals or families.