Reason/s for ceasing the real time location system tagging students with RFID in West Cheshire College

Pippa King made this Freedom of Information request to West Cheshire College

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 successful.

Dear West Cheshire College,

Under the Freedom of Information Act please could you supply the following information within 20 working days.

1) Please advise the reason why the ultra wideband RFID real time location system for tracking students in West Cheshire College was not suitable and was ceased, a per your communication on 27th February 2013
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

2) Please advise the date this decision to cease RFID tagging the students was made.

3) Please provide any documents that detail this decision. i.e. minutes of meeting, texts, letters etc

4) Please provide how registration for students is now taken, the name of the system and who supplied it.

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others, and in such case please could you release available data as soon as possible rather than delay the entire request.

If you are not fully certain of what it is I am asking then I look forward to contact from you as soon as possible to clarify what it is I am requesting in order for the college to meet its obligations under the law.

If the costs of processing this request exceed the limit in the Act, please advise on what information you are able to supply within the cost limit.

Thank you for your information to date about the college's use of RFID. Your time in this matter is appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Arrowsmith, Ann-Marie, West Cheshire College

 

Dear Ms King

 

Freedom of Information request: 3^rd April 2013/  9^th April 2013.

 

We acknowledge receipt your email of the 3^rd April 2013 and the
additional questions presented to the College in your email of the 9^th
April 2013. Your request was considered under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. We have summarised these questions below in Appendix 1 for your
information.

 

Decision

 

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (the Act) the College has decided to refuse your request as it has
been deemed a “Vexatious Request”.

 

Notice of Non-Disclosure

 

The College is not disclosing the response to your questions, pursuant to
the exemption provision of Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000. In accordance with the Act, this letter constitutes a Refusal notice
under Section 17(5) for this request to the College.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

Section 14(1) of the Act provides that the College is not obliged to
comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious. In his
guidance note (4/4/13) the Commissioner advises authorities to consider
the context and history of the request and assess whether the request
would fall into some or all of the following categories before deciding
that section 14 is engaged:

 

1) Whether compliance would create a significant burden in terms of
expense and distraction.

 

2) Whether the request is designed to cause disruption or annoyance.

 

3) Whether the request has the effect of harassing the public authority or
its staff.

 

4) Whether the request can otherwise fairly be characterised as obsessive
or manifestly unreasonable.

 

5) Whether the request has any serious purpose or value.

 

In this case, West Cheshire College is aware that a series of requests
acting in pursuance of a campaign has been made to various public
authorities concerning RFID. In West Cheshire College’s opinion, your
questions to this authority number a total of 52 (excluding appeals) and
over a period of 19 weeks. This latest request provides further evidence
to support an obsessive campaign of action designed to cause disruption
and annoyance.  There is also evidence in our opinion to suggest that you
are acting purposefully to harass the College and its staff and targeting
a staff member with accusations that are detailed in your Freedom of
Information requests without reason or purpose.

 

In summary, after considering your request, The College has found that
your request is vexatious as it causes disruption, harassment and
annoyance to the College and its staff. West Cheshire College is not
obliged to fulfil vexatious requests and will not be processing your
request for information any further.

 

Under Section 17(6) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the College
will apply the Information Commissioners guidance that states that we will
not respond to further vexatious requests from you on a similar nature or
on the same topic. Under Section 17(6) the College is not obliged to issue
further refusal notice if it has already issued a notice in relation to a
similar repeated or vexatious request from the same person or persons
acting in concert.

 

If you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to appeal, please
write to:

 

Dr. Ruth Jones, Quality Department, West Cheshire College, Off Sutton Way,
Ellesmere Port CH65 7BF and your complaint will be dealt with accordingly.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the appeal, you have a right to further
appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

 

They can be contacted at:

 

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.

Telephone: 01625 545 700

 

Kind Regards

Ann-Marie Arrowsmith

Appendix 1.

 

DETAILS OF DISCUSSIONS PERTAINING TO ACTIVE ULTRA WIDEBAND REAL TIME
LOCATION SYSTEM (RTLS) RFID TAGGING STUDENTS

 

2nd Response, 22nd March 2013: The College has searched all relevant
documents and archives during this review period and are unable to find
any documents to meet your clarification request currently. This is
compounded by the fact that key College staff involved in the project have
left the College and the major contractor BAM have completed their
contractual obligations from new build.

 

2a) As per the second sentence of the second response please advise which
member/s of staff left? If unable to advise names please advise positions
they held?

 

3a) Please advise action that the college is taking to either regain these
records/documents taken by ex-employees or detail efforts the college is
making to trace such documents that staff leaving has “compounded”, as per
the second sentence of the second response, or detail any other reason why
staff leaving have created an inability for the college to provide minutes
of the (RTLS) RTLS as per the original request?

 

CONTACT WITH ZEBRA TECHNOLOGIES

 

2b) Kevin Francis is either lying in the statements he made about contact
with Zebra Technologies on the video “West Cheshire College – Optimizing
the learning experience with a Zebra Location System” which was on Zebra
Technologies website until recently (link provided on previous
communication), on the Zebra Technologies Press release (which has also
been removed from Zebra Technologies website but can be found here
http://rfidinschools.files.wordpress.com...) and to the RFID Journal (also
removed from their website but can be found here
[1]http://rfidinschools.files.wordpress.com...)

 

3b) or please advise if he, Kevin Francis, acted independently of the
college.

 

4b) or that the college has not any contact whatsoever, i.e. talking,
emailing, faxing, telephoning, texting or communicating in any form with
Zebra Technologies.

 

Reason/s for ceasing the real time location system tagging students with
RFID in West Cheshire College – 9^th April 2013

 

1)      Please advise the reason why the ultra-wideband RFID real time
location system for tracking students in West Cheshire College was not
suitable and was ceased, a per your communication on 27^th February 2013 
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

2)      Please advise the date this decision to cease RFID tagging the
students was made.

3)      Please provide any documents that detail this decision. i.e.
minutes of meeting, texts, letters etc.

4)      Please provide how registration for students is now taken, the
name of the system and who supplied it.

 

show quoted sections

Dear West Cheshire College,

Please pass this on to Dr. Ruth Jones, Quality Department, West Cheshire College, Off Sutton Way,
Ellesmere Port CH65 7BF or pass to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I per your last communication I am writing to request an internal review of West Cheshire College's handling of my FOI request 'Reason/s for ceasing the real time location system tagging students with RFID in West Cheshire College'.

I am sorry you have decided that my requests are considered a “Vexatious Request”.

When an educational establishment decides to tag children with some of the most sophisticated RFID tags on the market, and monitor them in real time, the decision making process in this should understandably be absolutely transparent and accountable. This is an opportunity for West Cheshire College to show their intent in this matter.

Please can you confirm whether or not the requests that you communicated on 3rd May will also be considered a “Vexatious Request”? Re: 2a, 3a, 3b and 4b.

I look forward to your review outcome.

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

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Pippa King left an annotation ()

6th May 2013. Review due by latest 11 June 2013. An extra 5 working days allowed for half term.

Dear Dr. Ruth Jones,

Please disregard my last question concerning questions 2a, 3a ,3b and 4b as Appendix 1 was not fully showing.

To clarify, West Cheshire College did acknowledge questions 2a, 3a, (2b) 3b and 4b as requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act on 3rd May. Then on the same day decide that the college will decline to answer them and treat them as vexatious.

This is then to confirm that the college has no outstanding requests for information from myself other than the ones under internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Pippa King

Arrowsmith, Ann-Marie, West Cheshire College

I am out of the office until Monday 13th May and will respond to your
email on my return.

 

If you require assistance prior to my return please contact Andy Hutchings
on [email address] or 01244 656447

 

Kind regards

Ann-Marie

 

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show quoted sections

Arrowsmith, Ann-Marie, West Cheshire College

Dear Ms King

Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Reason/s for ceasing the real time location system tagging students with RFID in West Cheshire College: 6th May 2013

I am writing in response to your email of 6th May 2013 requesting an internal review of the College’s decision to treat your request as vexatious.

To undertake the internal review I have examined all the correspondence between yourself and the College from November 2012 to present.

Under section 14(1) of the Act the College is not obliged to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious. In his guidance note (4/4/13) the Commissioner advises authorities to consider the context and history of the request and assess whether the request would fall into some or all of the following categories before deciding that section 14 is engaged:

1) Whether compliance would create a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction.

2) Whether the request is designed to cause disruption or annoyance.

3) Whether the request has the effect of harassing the public authority or its staff.

4) Whether the request can otherwise fairly be characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable.

5) Whether the request has any serious purpose or value.

Following the internal review the response to treat further requests dated 3rd May as vexatious under section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, is upheld and the reasons for this decision are laid out the response dated 3rd May. I can confirm that questions 2a, 3a, 3b and 4b are included in this decision.

Under Section 17(6) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the College will apply the Information Commissioners guidance that states that we will not respond to further vexatious requests from you on a similar nature or on the same topic. Under Section 17(6) the College is not obliged to issue further refusal notice if it has already issued a notice in relation to a similar repeated or vexatious request from the same person or persons acting in concert.

If you are dissatisfied with the internal review, you have a right to further appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

They can be contacted at:

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 01625 545 700

Yours sincerely
Dr. Ruth Jones

show quoted sections

Pippa King left an annotation ()

Complaint filed to the Information Commissioner's Office June 15th 2013

Pippa King left an annotation ()

9th October 2013
The Information Commissioner's Office found that "the College is not correct to refuse the requests of 3 April 2013 and 9 April 2013 as vexatious.” and has instructed the college to answer the Freedom of Information Act questions.'
A response is due from West Cheshire College by 6th November 2013.

Pippa King left an annotation ()

This Freedom of Information request was answered here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...
received 4th November 2013 from West Cheshire College:

REQUEST FROM 9TH APRIL 2013

1) Please advise the reason why the ultra wideband RFID real time location system for tracking students in West Cheshire College was not suitable and was ceased, a per your communication on 27^th February 2013

7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

The system was installed for the main purpose of self-marking class attendance registers. During the development and testing period it became apparent that the RFID software would not communicate effectively to the current register system. This, together with escalating costs, was the main reason why use of the software was ceased.

2) Please advise the date this decision to cease RFID tagging the students was made.

Monday 18th February 2013

3) Please provide any documents that detail this decision. i.e. minutes of meeting, texts, letters etc

The decision on 18th February 2013 was made by the Acting Principal in consultation with the Area Manager College Services. However there are no written documents on record regarding the decision.

At a meeting of the College's Senior Leadership Team on 29^th October 2013, it was formally agreed to completely cease the use of RTLS.

4) Please provide how registration for students is now taken, the name of the system and who supplied it.

Registration is taken via a system called Tokairo supplied by Document Logistix Ltd. This system has been in place since August 2001 and is a system that is commonly used across the education sector. At no point did the College cease using the Tokairo registration system, the testing of the RTLS system ran in parallel with test groups whilst it was being developed.

I trust that these responses satisfy your requirements. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require anything further.

Kind regards

Matthew Brown
Director of Finance

Steve Elibank left an annotation ()

Are you able to upload a copy of the ICO's decision notice ruling that your requests aren't vexatious?

Pippa King left an annotation ()

I received an email from the Information Commissinoer's Office stating:

"the Commissioner is satisfied that the College is not correct to refuse the requests of 3 April 2013 and 9 April 2013 as vexatious.

Should the College accept the above preliminary conclusion, I have asked it to provide a fresh response to you under section 1 of the FOIA or issue a refusal notice under section 17."

Accordingly I got the response from West Cheshire College on 4th November 2013.