Request for review minutes and all other correspondence

Polly Burns made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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 partially successful.

Dear Department for Education,

I write referring to my FOI request for Isabelle Trowler's diary.

The request was refused, and the internal review upheld the refusal, saying the reasons for refusal were the same.

You can find all details here.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

I am writing to request copies of all emails, briefings, memoranda, advice notes, notes following telpehpone calls, minutes of meetings, reviews and panels etc in relation to

a) the original request and
b) the review panel.

I require the names of all the decision makers as well please.

Yours faithfully,

Polly Burns

Department for Education

Dear Polly Burns 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 25 November 2015. You requested:

I write referring to my FOI request for Isabelle Trowler's diary.

The request was refused, and the internal review upheld the

refusal, saying the reasons for refusal were the same.

You can find all details here.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

I am writing to request copies of all emails, briefings, memoranda,

advice notes, notes following telpehpone calls, minutes of

meetings, reviews and panels etc in relation to

a) the original request and

b) the review panel.

I require the names of all the decision makers as well please.

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 36 (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs)

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 25 January 2015, although I will aim to get this to you beforehand if possible. If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

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

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.

Yours sincerely,

Siobhan Latham 

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

show quoted sections

Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Polly Burns,

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 25 October 2015. You request read:

I write referring to my FOI request for Isabelle Trowler's diary.

The request was refused, and the internal review upheld the refusal, saying the reasons for refusal were the same.

You can find all details here.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

I am writing to request copies of all emails, briefings, memoranda, advice notes, notes following telpehpone calls, minutes of meetings, reviews and panels etc in relation to

a) the original request and
b) the review panel.

I require the names of all the decision makers as well please.

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

Further to my email of 18 December, the Department has considered whether the public interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information.

A copy of the information which can be disclosed is enclosed subject to a number of redactions made under Section 40(2) of the Act relating to personal information and where information is out of scope of your request . I can also confirm the names of the senior Department for Education staff involved in the decisions relating to your original request and the subsequent internal review. These are Andrew McCully (as acting Permanent Secretary), Almudena Lara (Deputy Director clearing response) and Jacquie Spatcher (Deputy Director carrying out internal review). The Minister consulted was Sam Gyimah.

However the remainder of the information requested is being withheld because the following exemptions apply to this information:

Section 36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

Under section 36(2), the Department is not required to provide information, if in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a Minister in the case of Government Departments) disclosure of the information under the Act would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

In relation to your request, a Minister has decided that, in his reasonable opinion, disclosure of some of the information that you have requested is likely to have this prejudicial effect and therefore the exemption in Section 36 applies.

The information in question is being withheld under this section as it would, or would be likely to inhibit:

* the free and frank provision of advice - 36(2)(b)(i); or
* the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation - 36(2)(b)(ii);

or

* would otherwise prejudice or would be likely otherwise to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs 36(2)(c).

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore a public interest test has been carried out. In doing so the following factors have been taken into consideration:

• There is a general public interest in disclosure. There is public interest in openness and in understanding the advice that senior officials provide to Ministers.

• There is also a public interest in understanding the decision process around freedom of information requests and internal reviews.

• Conversely, it is in the public interest that the formulation of government policy and government decision making can proceed in the self-contained space needed to ensure that it is done well.

• Officials must feel able to provide their independent, honest advice and views to Ministers. There may be a deterrent effect on those providing advice if they think it may be disclosed. Officials and Ministers must feel able to make decisions on freedom of information requests and internal reviews openly and freely. Disclosure could therefore make officials more cautious about the advice that they offer to colleagues and send to Ministers, if they thought this information would find its way into the public domain. They might adopt a cautious approach on contentious subjects, which could lead to poorer decision making and management of the department.

• Officials must feel able to engage in free and frank exchanges of views so that decisions can be informed by proper debate and deliberation. In cases regarding freedom of information requests, it is important that officials can exchange views about the interpretation and handling of requests. Disclosure could make officials cautious about the views they expressed and this lack of deliberation could lead to the misinterpretation of requests and inefficient handling and use of resources.

• The impartiality of the civil service needs to be protected - it could be undermined if advice was routinely made public as there is a risk that officials could come under political or public pressure not to challenge ideas in the formulation of policy and this leading to poorer decision making.

The arguments for and against release have been considered and it has been decided that the public interest in non-disclosure outweighs the public interest in disclosure in this case.

Section 40(2) – Personal information

We have also applied section 40(2). This is because the information in question includes third party 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 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 protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government Licence (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website -http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor... .

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 www.ipo.gov.uk<http://www.ipo.gov.uk/>.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number 2015-0043456 in any future communications.

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.

Yours sincerely,

Siobhan Latham 

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

show quoted sections