Pupil data: Off-register Back Office use by Home Office in Q2 2017

The request was refused by Department for Education.

Dear Department for Education,
with reference to any pupil data ever collected via the School Census and regardless of where it is stored or the name of the database:

a) Please provide a copy of each the approved monthly data request application forms from the Home Office received by the DfE in April 2017, May 2017 and June 2017.

b) Please confirm:
i) the number of individuals for which requests were made from the Home Office, in each month April 2017, May 2017 and June 2017 (Q2) and
ii) the number of individuals on which data was returned for each.

c) Please provide a copy of any new or amended MOUs between the DfE and the Home Office and/or Cabinet Office in effect or already drafted, on today's date (August 3, 2017) as regards requests for personal information from pupil data or school governor data. These include agreements with or without the use of nationality information in the identification and/or retrieval of records (whether that nationality data are physically transfered or not). This should provide any agreements that are new, or amended, since the release of MoUs v1.0 and 2.1 regarding pupil data sharing, released via FOI in December 2016.

d) Please confirm the number of users who have access rights to the school governor personal data items in Edubase but which are not accessible through the public website interface. (Data items: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio... but not accessible via http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear....

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Jen Persson

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Thank you for your enquiry. We will endeavour to provide you with a
response within 15 working days, or 20 working days if your request was
made under the Freedom of Information Act.

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Jen Persson,

 

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 2017-0040081.

 

Thank you

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

 

 

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Jen Persson 

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 3^rd
August 2017.

 

You requested:

With reference to any pupil data ever collected via the School Census and
regardless of where it is stored or the name of the database:

a) Please provide a copy of each the approved monthly data request
application forms from the Home Office received by the DfE in April 2017,
May 2017 and June 2017.

b) Please confirm:

i) the number of individuals for which requests were made from the Home
Office, in each month April 2017, May 2017 and June 2017 (Q2) and

ii) the number of individuals on which data was returned for each.

c) Please provide a copy of any new or amended MOUs between the DfE and
the Home Office and/or Cabinet Office in effect or already drafted, on
today's date (August 3, 2017) as regards requests for personal information
from pupil data or school governor data. These include agreements with or
without the use of nationality information in the identification and/or
retrieval of records (whether that nationality data are physically
transfered or not). This should provide any agreements that are new, or
amended, since the release of MoUs v1.0 and 2.1 regarding pupil data
sharing, released via FOI in December 2016.

d) Please confirm the number of users who have access rights to the school
governor personal data items in Edubase but which are not accessible
through the public website interface. (Data items:
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio... but
not accessible via [2]http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear...

I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).

The Department holds the information you have requested.  However, I
consider that the following exemption(s) apply to your request:

Section 22 – we intend to publish the information requested.

The Act obliges the Department to respond to requests promptly, and in any
case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request.  However,
where one of the exemptions listed above is applicable, the Department
must consider whether the public interest lies in disclosing or
withholding the information.  In these circumstances the Act allows the
time for response to be longer than 20 working days.

In your case the Department estimates that it will take an additional 20
days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. 
It is anticipated that you will receive a full response by 29^th September
2017.  If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a
conclusion, we will keep you informed.

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 letter.  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.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications. 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sebastian Tallents

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

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio...
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear...
3. https://www.education.gov.uk/
4. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
5. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Dear Mr Tallents,
thank you for the reply. May I ask you to clarify it and that the refusal under Section 22 applies to all the information requested, including:

c) The Memorandum of Understanding (Data Sharing agreement)

and

d) Please confirm the number of users who have access rights to the school governor personal data items in Edubase but which are not accessible through the public website interface.

The Department has never publshed any of the information requested before, but has the intention for everything asked. I would be pleased if you calrify this applies to all parts of the FOI request, (a-d) including specifically, as above.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Jen Persson

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Jen Persson,

 

RE: 2017/0040081

 

I refer to our correspondence of 1 September 2017 in reference to the
above request which is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (“the Act”).

 

A final conclusion has been reached and your request is currently
progressing through final sign off.  We will be sending a final response
no later than the 6 October, we apologise we are unable to send the final
response by 29 September as previously stated.

 

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 letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of you request.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

 

If you have any queries, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the
reference number in any future communications.

 

Samantha Morrison

 

National Pupil Database and Data Sharing team

 

 

 

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

4 Attachments

Dear Ms Persson,

 

Ref: 2017-0040081

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 3^rd
August 2017.

 

You requested:

 

With reference to any pupil data ever collected via the School Census and
regardless of where it is stored or the name of the database:

a) Please provide a copy of each the approved monthly data request
application forms from the Home Office received by the DfE in April 2017,
May 2017 and June 2017.

b) Please confirm:

i) the number of individuals for which requests were made from the Home
Office, in each month April 2017, May 2017 and June 2017 (Q2) and

ii) the number of individuals on which data was returned for each.

c) Please provide a copy of any new or amended MOUs between the DfE and
the Home Office and/or Cabinet Office in effect or already drafted, on
today's date (August 3, 2017) as regards requests for personal information
from pupil data or school governor data. These include agreements with or
without the use of nationality information in the identification and/or
retrieval of records (whether that nationality data are physically
transferred or not). This should provide any agreements that are new, or
amended, since the release of MoUs v1.0 and 2.1 regarding pupil data
sharing, released via FOI in December 2016.

d) Please confirm the number of users who have access rights to the school
governor personal data items in Edubase but which are not accessible
through the public website interface. (Data items:
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio... but
not accessible via [2]http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear...

I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).

The Department holds the information you have requested, and further to my
letter of 1^st September 2017, the Department has now considered whether
the public interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information.

A copy of the information, which can be disclosed, is enclosed.

The Department holds the remainder of the information you requested, but
it is being withheld because the following exemption(s) apply as set
below.

Item 1

a) Please provide a copy of each the approved monthly data request
application forms from the Home Office received by the DfE in April 2017,
May 2017 and June 2017.

The forms requested have been provided enclosed with a small number of
redactions to which we are applying under section 40(2) (personal data).
 Personal data is that which relates to a living individual who can be
identified from that data, or from that data and other information which
is likely to be in, or to come into, the possession of the requestor. 
Disclosure of this information would contravene a number of the data
protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998, and would be
regarded as ‘unfair’.  By that, we mean the likely expectations of the
data subject that his or her information would not be disclosed to others
and the effect which disclosure would have on the data subject.  Section
40(2) is an absolute exemption and is not subject to the public interest
test.

 

The forms also contain details of the password for encrypted files that
are used to transfer the specific details of the individuals Home Office
are requesting information about. These details have been withheld under
Section 36 (2)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act as it would be
prejudicial to the conduct of public affairs in that they would undermine
the security of the data transfer process.

Under section 36 the Department is not required to provide information if,
in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a minister in the case of
a government department) disclosure of the information would be likely to
inhibit the provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation or would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of
public affairs.

In relation to your request, a minister has decided that, in their
reasonable opinion, disclosure of the information in the scope of your
request is likely to have these prejudicial effects and therefore the
exemptions in section 36 apply.

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore the Department has also
carried out a public interest test to determine whether the public
interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information. The potential
downsides of releasing this information is that it would increase the risk
of data being accessed by a third party. There are no public interests in
disclosing the password.

The forms also include details of the ‘number of individuals to match
against DfE records’ and ‘Number of individuals for whom a match was found
by DfE’. These details have been withheld because the Section 22 of the
Act applies to this information. Section 22 applies to information which
is due to be published in the future. In this case, the numbers requested
will be part of a transparency update. This was announced by the Chief
Data Officer.  The Department is working towards an Autumn update and a
publication date will appear on the DfE forward look shortly.

Section 22 is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the public
interest test. In favour of release, the Department recognises the general
public interest in openness and transparency and the fact that this in
turn increases public trust and understanding of Government workings and
policies. However, in the circumstances of this case there are reasonable
grounds to expect the orderly publication of information, prior to final
checks to ensure accuracy of the summary records, early piecemeal
disclosure would be likely to create disruption of planned release. 

Item 2

b) Please confirm:

i) the number of individuals for which requests were made from the Home
Office, in each month April 2017, May 2017 and June 2017 (Q2) and

ii) the number of individuals on which data was returned for each.

The Department holds the information you requested, but it is being
withheld because the Section 22 of the Act applies to this information.
Section 22 applies to information which is due to be published in the
future. In this case, the numbers requested will be part of a transparency
update. This was announced by the Chief Data Officer.  The Department is
working towards an Autumn update and a publication date will appear on the
DfE forward look shortly.

Section 22 is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the public
interest test. In favour of release, the Department recognises the general
public interest in openness and transparency and the fact that this in
turn increases public trust and understanding of Government workings and
policies. However, in the circumstances of this case there are reasonable
grounds to expect the orderly publication of information, prior to final
checks to ensure accuracy of the summary records, early piecemeal
disclosure would be likely to create disruption of planned release. 

Item 3

c) Please provide a copy of any new or amended MOUs between the DfE and
the Home Office and/or Cabinet Office in effect or already drafted, on
today's date (August 3, 2017) as regards requests for personal information
from pupil data or school governor data. These include agreements with or
without the use of nationality information in the identification and/or
retrieval of records (whether that nationality data are physically
transferred or not). This should provide any agreements that are new, or
amended, since the release of MoUs v1.0 and 2.1 regarding pupil data
sharing, released via FOI in December 2016.

The information you have requested is being withheld due to exemptions
under sections 36(2)(c) of the Act.

Under section 36 the Department is not required to provide information if,
in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a minister in the case of
a government department) disclosure of the information would be likely to
inhibit the provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation or would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of
public affairs.

In relation to your request, a minister has decided that, in their
reasonable opinion, disclosure of the information in the scope of your
request is likely to have these prejudicial effects and therefore the
exemptions in section 36 apply.

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore the Department has also
carried out a public interest test to determine whether the public
interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information.

Although there is public benefit in transparency of the data sharing
arrangements with Home Office and thus an MoU that has been agreed.
However, in the case of a draft MoU, the department is still agreeing with
the Home Office the scope of the data sharing agreement with them.
Releasing a draft of the MoU would not accurately reflect the view of
either department at the present time. There is therefore a risk that
releasing this information would impact future decision making and stifle
the ability of officials to negotiate, make proposals and form views
through written documents if they are subject to general release.

Item 4

d) Please confirm the number of users who have access rights to the school
governor personal data items in Edubase but which are not accessible
through the public website interface. (Data items:
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio... but
not accessible via [4]http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear...

As at 14 August 2017, 19 users within DfE have active accounts which
permit access to the school governor personal data items in Edubase.

The governance database article on gov.uk
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio...
explains how this information is required to enable the DfE meet its
obligations under the Educational Excellence Everywhere white paper and
confirms access will be limited to a small number of users who need it to
fulfil their official responsibilities.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright.
You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study
and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be
also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news
reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would
require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be
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.

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information
about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual
Property Office’s website at [8]www.ipo.gov.uk.

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 letter.  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.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications. 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Sebastian Tallents

National Pupil Database and Data Sharing Team

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio...
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear...
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio...
4. http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/sear...
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natio...
6. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o... blocked::http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
7. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor... blocked::http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
8. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ blocked::http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/

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