Referral and Assessment process

Waiting for an internal review by Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Can you please email me an electronic copy of the following information:

Confirmation that when 16 or 17 year old unaccompanied children make a claim for asylum, that:

1) they are referred to your social services department for immediate support?

and

2) for a period, they are initially cared for under Section 17 of the Children Act?

and

3) then they are cared for and accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act after a needs led or age assessment confirms such a duty is owed?

and

4) once this Section 20 duty begins it ceases after a period and then they are supported under the Children (Leaving Care) Act?

4.1) For this group of 16 and 17 year olds please indicate, on average, how many weeks they are accommodated under Section 20 before this duty is discharged and they are transferred to after care services under the Children (Leaving Care) Act, for the year ending 31 March 2008?

6) Please also provide copies of any information you hold hold that explains the Referral and Assessment process, procedures, service provision and legal duties that are applicable to this group of 16 and 17 year olds, from the point of referral, assessment and through to when you fully discharge your Section 17 or Section 20 duties and the discharge of your Children (Leaving Care) Act duties.

: Your correspondence:

Please ensure that any of your general correspondence, acknowledgements or holding letters etc are included or cut-and-pasted into the body of the email messages, using plain text, rather than as attachments. As this will mean your correspondence is much easier to access, read and respond to.

: Accessibility:

When providing any information disclosures please provide it in the original unrestricted format such as:

a. MS Word .doc or Rich Text Text .rtf format or equivalent
(suitable for disclosure of email messages)

b.Spreadsheets in MS Excel .xls format or equivalent

c.Presentations in MS Powerpoint .ppt format or equivalent

or converted to Portable Document Format (PDF), ONLY if none of the above formats are available

if you only have a paper version (hard copy) available, please provide a Digital Photo Copier Scanned version in PDF format. If you do provide disclosures in PDF from a Digital Photo Copier Scan, please state that you have done so because no other format, such as a, b or c above, are available.

If you need to redact text elements of any disclosure can you please ensure that the rest of text based information remains accessible to a Screen Reader. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_reader>

Please ensure any electronic disclosures are absolutely free of any Document limitations or controls, such as making them Read-only, Encrypted or Password restricted, as this is likely to render them less usable on a general basis and more specifically, inaccessible to Assistive Technology.

Please do not send any information in compilation archive formats, such as .zip.

Providing correspondence and disclosed information via these means will help ensure that text based information is accessible for use with a Screen Reader or a Magnifier for none text based information and will prevent any further and separate representations under the Disability Discrimination Act. If you are unable to meet these reasonably practicable accessibility requests please state why and provide a copy of any internal information, such as a policy relied upon that would explain such a decision.

Yours faithfully,

Cassidy, J

FOIRequests, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

Dear Sir/Madam,

REF: 2009/COR0296 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION - INFORMATION REQUEST

I acknowledge your request received on 14 May 2009.
Your request is being considered and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font size, or electronically. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large print, etc. then please let me know.
For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including your rights of appeal.
If the information you request contains reference to a third party then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.
There may a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.
If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact me.
Further information is available from the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, Telephone: 01625 545 700, http://www.ico.gov.uk<http://www.ico.gov.uk/>
Yours faithfully,
Jon Hill
Senior Information Management Officer
Information Management Team
FCS Business Technology
London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
Tel: 020 8753 5865

show quoted sections

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Referral and Assessment process'.

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

Can you send a reply to this specific email address, with the above subject line. You have sent a response but it is difficult to follow as you have broken the normal method of responding to email according to the Subject line.

With regards your response to this request, as shown at,

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/so...

can I ask for an Internal Review as I do not consider the information I have requested has been provided.

With regards your response to Section 2, you do not give any indication as to whether you provide Section 17 Children Act support whilst assessments are outstanding or not yet done or whether Section 17 support is provided after any initial assessment. In essence you have provided no response to this very specific request.

With regards your response to Section 4.1, you have again not provided a response to a very specific information request. Its asks "on average" "how many weeks they are accommodated under Section 20
before this duty is discharged and they are transferred to after
care services under the Children (Leaving Care) Act, for the year
ending 31 March 2008?"

your response is just to restate the eligibility criteria for the Children (Leaving Care) Act. I have requested what is the average number of weeks for the year
ending 31 March 2008? you have provided Section 20 support, you have not given a response to this request.

Yours sincerely,

Cassidy, J

Hill Jonathan, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

Dear Sir or Madam

REF: APPEAL 2009/COR0296 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION - INFORMATION REQUEST

I am writing with regards to your request for a review of our response to you. Please note we are currently in receipt of over 400 requests for information under the Act and assign each request a unique reference number to help us manage our cases. We ask those communicating with us to always quote the reference to enable us to identify and process their request quickly.

I will deal with your points in turn.

1. "With regards your response to Section 2, you do not give any indication as to whether you provide Section 17 Children Act
support whilst assessments are outstanding or not yet done or whether Section 17 support is provided after any initial
assessment. In essence you have provided no response to this very specific request."

As was explained in our response all cases are assessed, and following assessment, services are provided appropriate to need. If a client is in immediate need of accommodation they are assisted under Section 20, Children Act 1989. If Section 17 support is more appropriate, we provide it while the assessment is outstanding or after the Initial Assessment.

2. "With regards your response to Section 4.1, you have again not provided a response to a very specific information request. Its
asks "on average" "how many weeks they are accommodated under Section 20 before this duty is discharged and they are
transferred to after care services under the Children (Leaving Care) Act, for the year ending 31 March 2008?" your response is just
to restate the eligibility criteria for the Children (Leaving Care) Act. I have requested what is the average number of weeks for the
year ending 31 March 2008? you have provided Section 20 support, you have not given a response to this request."

Section 20 duties are discharged when an individual reaches the age of 18. It is not possible to give an average of how many weeks they are accommodated under Section 20 as each young person comes into care at a different date. Most would have been in care for up to 52 weeks.

I trust this addresses your questions.

If you remain dissatisfied you may now appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, Telephone: 01625 545 700, http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours faithfully

Alison Ross-Dow
Senior Information Management Officer
London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
Information Management Team/Finance & Corporate Services
2nd Floor, Hammersmith Town Hall Extension
King Street
London W6 9JU
DL: 020 8753 2455

www.lbhf.gov.uk

Director of Finance & Corporate Services: Jane West

Dear Hill Jonathan,

To help conclude this request for information concerning your Council's responses to asylum seeking children specifically. Do you fully comply with Local Authority Circular (13) 2003 which stated that unaccompanied children seeking asylum alone should be immediately accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act (1989), upon arrival or referral to you. Hence they should be accommodated under Section 20 immediately and prior to any assessment of need or age assessment is outstanding?

I consider your earlier responses to like questions still remains unclear and unclear to very specific and precise information requests. Your earlier response suggest you do not always provide Section 20 support in the circumstances outlined in my original request.

Yours sincerely,

Cassidy, J