Response to Home Education Review

Matt Hupfield made this Freedom of Information request to Staffordshire County Council

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 Sir or Madam,

Could you please provide me with a copy of the Local Authority's response to the 'Independent Review of Home Education in England' consultation questionnaire.

Yours faithfully,

Matt Hupfield

Dear Sir or Madam,

I just wanted to clarify the fact that I would like copies of the response to both the short, 6 question, and full, 60 question, questionnaires.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

The release of this questionnaire may be subject to a Freedom of
Information Act exemption and therefore a Public Interest Test will be
held. In accordance with the County Council procedures a panel will decide
if this information is subject to the exemption and if the information
will be withheld, or if the information will be released.

No inference should be made from this letter that we currently hold the
information that has been requested.

The Public Interest Test panel will meet in due course and I will contact
you with the outcome as soon as possible after the panel has reached a
decision.

In the first instance if you have any comments relating to how your
request has been handled by our authority, please contact Philip Jones,
Head of Information Governance, Information Governance Unit, 1a Bailey
Street, Stafford, ST17 4BG.

If you have any further comments relating to how your request has been
handled by our authority, please contact the Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours Sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs

Access to Information Officer

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Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

I find it disappointing that it has taken you the full 20 days to inform me that you believe this query may be exempt.

-snip-
The release of this questionnaire may be subject to a Freedom of Information Act exemption and therefore a Public Interest Test will be held. In accordance with the County Council procedures a panel will decide if this information is subject to the exemption and if the information will be withheld, or if the information will be released.
-snip-

I do not understand on what grounds the questionnaire responses could be considered exempt as there is no reason for it to contain any personal or sensitive information. The questionnaire simply asked for the LA's opinion on how successful they believe the current legislation is for monitoring children educated otherwise than at school.

Can I draw your attention to the fact that other County Councils have already released the same information:

Birmingham:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/in...

Brighton and Hove:
http://ahed.pbwiki.com/BrightonAndHove

Dorset:
http://daretoknowblog.blogspot.com/2009/...

Gloucestershire:
http://daretoknowblog.blogspot.com/2009/...

Oxfordshire:
http://www.freedomforchildrentogrow.org/...

Lincolnshire:
http://tryingtorelax.blogspot.com/2009/0...

I see no reason given the fact that all of these County Council's, and more, have already deemed it appropriate to release their responses that Staffordshire should be any different.

-snip-
No inference should be made from this letter that we currently hold the information that has been requested.
-snip-

Before being sent to the DCSF the completed questionnaire had to be seen and approved by the head of childrens services. I would be astounded if the LA had not kept a copy of this information. If there is not an electronic copy at the very least there should be a draft that would have to have been approved.

Can I point our again that there should be two questionnaires, a short 6 question version and a full 60 question version. This request is for a copy of the response to both.

In the meantime could you please clarify the reason or reasons you believe this information may be exempt and a reference to the legislation/guidance which gives cause to this reason.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

We contacted the DCSF for their views in relation to the release of this document. A response was received on the 20/3/09, which is why we did not provide a response earlier. However, as the Act allows 20 working days for a response to be sent we were still within the deadline.

Following consultation with the DCSF Staffordshire County Council will be considering section 36 (2) (b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This exemption is considered if disclosure of the information would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and under section 36(2)(c) of the Act, in that disclosure would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs

I acknowledge the fact that other councils may have opted to release this information. However, we have chosen to consider the exemption. This is not to say that it will be applied.

The email sent is based upon a standard letter - to which we include the phrase 'No inference should be made from this letter that we currently hold the information that has been requested'. I have not stated that we do not hold a copy.

I am aware that you have requested both copies of the questionnaire.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs
Access to Information Officer

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Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

Thank you for the prompt response.

As the public consulation period for the Home Education Review is over, and the findings from the review will be published in May, I see no reason why or how the release of this information could prejudice the review.

Could you confirm that the public affairs you consider the release of this information will 'likely prejudice' is the home education review procedure.

Could you also confirm what 'provision of advice' or 'exchange of views' you believe the release of this information is likely to inhibit.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

I can confirm that we do not hold this information. This request does not constitute a valid Freedom of Information Request. You will informed of the result of the public interest test in due course.

Yours sincerely,
Lian Rebecca Stibbs

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Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

I presume I can safely interpret 'we don't hold this information' as 'we're not going to tell you our objections'.

Can you then please confirm that the official position of Staffs County Council is that despite other councils releasing this same information you are going to try to claim it as exempt anyway.

Whilst you have quoted the sections of the FOI Act under which you are going to claim this information as exempt can you also please confirm that you aren't prepared to state what your actual concerns/objections are.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post about this request:

http://www.goldstonacademyfortheinsane.c...

Dear Sir or Madam,

Could you please let me know what stage the 'Public Interest Test' procedure is at and when I should expect a decision to be made as to whether or not this information should be released.

Could you also confirm the answers to the questions I asked in my email of 23 March, which has been ignored.

I have included the contents of the email below for your convenience:

----------
I presume I can safely interpret 'we don't hold this information'
as 'we're not going to tell you our objections'.

Can you then please confirm that the official position of Staffs
County Council is that despite other councils releasing this same
information you are going to try to claim it as exempt anyway.

Whilst you have quoted the sections of the FOI Act under which you
are going to claim this information as exempt can you also please
confirm that you aren't prepared to state what your actual
concerns/objections are.
----------

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield

"Could you please let me know what stage the 'Public Interest Test'
procedure is at and when I should expect a decision to be made a to
whether or not this information should be released."
The public interest test will be held when the appropriate senior
managers are available. At the moment we estimate this to beginning of
May and we will contact you again once this is complete.

Your e-mail dated 23 May did not include a valid Freedom of Information
request therefore there is no obligation to answer however I would like
to address as follows:
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 obliges authorities to comply with
requests for information, where that information is held by the
authority (section 1(4)). The information you have request is either
not recorded/held or is a request for an opinion and is therefore not
subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Once the public interest test
has taken place you will be informed of the outcome and if a section 17
notice is issued the reasons (if not otherwise apparent) why the
information may be withheld. That decision has not yet been taken
therefore no information is held.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your request you can complain in
the first instance to Philip Jones, Head of Information Governance,
Staffordshire County Council, 1a Bailey Street, Stafford, ST17 4BG.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of your request you can
contact the Information Commissioner's Office www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Catherine Lantsbery
Access to Information Manager

Information Governance Unit
Law and Governance
Staffordshire County Council, 1a Bailey Street, Stafford, ST17 4BG
Tel: 01785 278387
Fax: 01785 278362
[email address]
www.staffordshire.gov.uk

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G),

Please provide me with the following information:

When you anticipate the public interest procedure will begin and how long you anticipate it taking.

The names and job titles of the senior managers you are waiting to be available before you can begin the public interest test procedure.

The names and job titles of all staff who will be involved in the procedure.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

M Stafford left an annotation ()

I am very interested in the result of this FOI, good luck Matt.

Maire

Matt Hupfield left an annotation ()

So am I Maire, I've a suspicious feeling they're ignoring me till after the review has concluded though. They have no actual grounds for the exemption and know it so it's just delay tactics. They'll have to release it eventually.

Matt.

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hupfield,

Following the results of the public interest test held on 7/5/09, I can
confirm that I am able to release the authority's response to this review
which was sent to the DCSF. Please note we did not complete a 60 or 6
question version. The public interest test was held to discuss the
guidance received from the DCSF in relation to the application of s36.

If you have any queries or require any further information please do not
hesitate to contact me.

In the first instance if you have any comments relating to how your
request has been handled by our authority, please contact Philip Jones,
Head of Information Governance, Information Governance Unit, 1a Bailey
Street, Stafford, ST17 4BG.

If you have any further comments relating to how your request has been
handled by our authority, please contact the Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours Sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs

Access to Information Officer

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Lian,

Thank you for providing the review response.

Could you now please provide me with the following information:

- A copy of all documentation, for example minutes or notes of meetings, related to the public interest test.

- Copies of all correspondance between the LA and the DCSF in relation to the public interest test

I would also like to remind you of the related information I requested on 5 May, which I have listed below again for your convenience.

- When the public interest procedure began and how long you it took.

- The names and job titles of the senior managers you were waiting to be available before you could begin the public interest test procedure.

- The names and job titles of all staff who will be involved in the procedure.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

I am away from the office until Friday 15th May 2009. Please contact
Catherine Lantsbery or Michelle Kowalczyk for assistance.
Regards,
Lian.

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

Following the automated "out of office" response sent on May 13, could you please acknowledge receipt of my message of the same date.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information. A response will
be sent within the statutory 20 working days.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs
Access to Information Officer

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

Staffordshire seem to have a habit (policy?) of releasing the information on the 20 day deadline.

I assume in this instance the 20 working days starts from May 13, the date the council acknowledged receipt of the request.

Whilst the acknowledgement was an automatic "out of office" reply I trust appropriate arrangements were made whilst you were unavailable for another information officer to process FOI requests.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

I can confirm that a response will be released within the statutory
deadline. Staffordshire County Council do not 'have a habit (policy?)'
of releasing or indeed responding on the 20 day deadline. A response is
provided as soon as possible, within the deadline.

You are correct in assuming that the 20 working day deadline begins from
the 13th of May. While I was away from the office, there were other
officers who were able to pick up any emails received during my absence.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs
Access to Information Officer

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

Thank you for the prompt clarification. After the other officers failed to acknowledge receipt of the request I am pleased to be assured that May 13 was indeed the start of the 20 working day limit.

My concern over the time it takes you to respond to requests is validated by requests such as this:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/el...

In this instance it took the full 20 working days to provide a single document (that being currently in use should have been readily accessible) and then a further 20 working days to confirm it was the only document held.

Whilst I appreciate you may well have a heavy workload and that the responses were provided, just, within the statutory 20 working days it is difficult to believe that it actually took this long to find the information.

Letters I have received from Bill Dewar and Peter Traves clearly imply that my requests for information under the FOI act are seen as somewhat of an annoyance, at least by them. The cynical side of me wonders whether there is a little feet dragging going on.

I trust you are aware of all of my other outstanding requests (which can be found here: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/matt_...) and I look forward to receiving the information within (or on as the case may be) the 20 day deadline.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

I can confirm that Freedom of Information requests received by The
Information Governance Unit - part of Law and Governance, will be
responded to in accordance with the Act. We have no duty to provide an
acknowledgment and once a request has been received we ensure that
requests are forwarded to the appropriate directorate (in this case
Children and Lifelong Learning) for a response to be released within the
statutory deadline.

I am fully aware of your current requests for information which are being
processed.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs

Access to Information Officer

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

I appreciate the fact that you may well not be required to acknowledge receipt of requests, but it's only courteous really and must be considered good practice. Can I recommend you suggest to your line manager that sending an initial acknowledgement response be added to your best practice guidelines.

Thank you for your clarification of responsibilities, you've confirmed my suspicions. I had initially assumed it was the role of the information officer to physically search for and assemble the information. It appears, and I mean no offence by this, that you are simply a messenger.

The fact that the responsibility for providing the information related to my requests falls to C&LL, and their increasing dislike of me for calling them to task, explains the unnecessary delays in the information being released.

Could you please then also confirm for me:

- Whether it is the information officer or the appropriate directorate who decide whether information that falls under a FOI request should be claimed as exempt.

- What I should do if I have suspicions, or evidence, that not all of the information that the local authority holds has been released. I am assuming I would request an internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Traves, Peter (C&LL), Staffordshire County Council

Mr Hupfield

I refer to the passage below that was included by you in an email to Lian
Stubbs. You know full well that my correspondence with you was not in
connection with FOI requests. It was directly related to your attack on
the professionalism of one of my officers, your refusal to meet with us
and your refusal to accept that we have any right to assess the quality of
education received by a child in your care. I entirely support FOI as an
extension of liberty in this country. I do not support the disingenuous
attempt by you to twist what I have said.

Letters I have received from Bill Dewar and Peter Traves clearly

imply that my requests for information under the FOI act are seen

as somewhat of an annoyance, at least by them. The cynical side of

me wonders whether there is a little feet dragging going on.

Peter Traves

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Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

Your comments are acknowledged.

A public interest panel will decide whether information should be exempt,
based upon arguments for and against release, in line with the Act.

A standard paragraph detailing your route to make any comments/complaints
is included with any final response. For your reference, you will need to
request an internal review prior to addressing the Information
Commissioner if still not satisfied.

In the first instance if you have any comments relating to how your
request has been handled by our authority, please contact Philip Jones,
Head of Information Governance, Information Governance Unit, 1a Bailey
Street, Stafford, ST17 4BG.

If you have any further comments relating to how your request has been
handled by our authority, please contact the Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Stibbs

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Matt Hupfield

*** For the benefit of anyone else reading this a full history of my case with Staffordshire County Council can be read here: http://www.hupfield.com/matt/ ***

Dear Traves, Peter (C&LL),

---
It was directly related to your attack on the professionalism of one of my officers,
---

I find it astounding, and slightly frightening, that you consider raising the fact, and providing supporting evidence, that Mr Hindmarsh failed to correctly and lawfully carry out his duties an attack.

You have consistently ignored the concerns I have brought to your attention, which I am afraid serves only to cast doubt upon your own professionalism.

---
your refusal to meet with us
---

I honestly don't understand how you can make that statement. If you re-read my latest letter to you, dated May 9th, you will notice I offered the following dates to meet: 12th, 13th, 14th or 22nd May. You have failed to reply to either accept one of those dates or arrange an alternative. The failure to meet lies with you.

Having shown themselves to be disrespectful, untrustworthy and incapable of carrying out their responsibilities I have no intention of meeting with the EHE team with regard to the monitoring of my children's education. I am however, as I have always been, still keen to meet with someone from the LA to discuss my concerns with the way in which my family has been treated.

---
your refusal to accept that we have any right to
assess the quality of education received by a child
in your care.
---

The LA has responsibility to investigate an 'appearance' of the failure to provide of a child with a suitable education.

I do not acknowledge your self proclaimed 'right'
to assess or monitor the quality of the education received by children simply because they are educated out of school. Especially when the people designated to do the monitoring consistently demonstrate their lack of experience and understanding of home education.

I would be doing my children a disservice, and putting them at risk of harm, to allow any of your EHE officers access to them.

---
I entirely support FOI as an extension of liberty in
this country. I do not support the disingenuous
attempt by you to twist what I have said.
---

If the EHE team were a little more open, transparent and professional then it is likely people would not need to use the FOI Act to extract information from them to ensure they were behaving appropriately.

Nothing has been twisted, just consistently stated as it is. Refusing to acknowledge that, at least, one of your officers has not done their job properly does not make that fact go away.

I suggest you take some time to read up and get your facts straight before committing such embarrassing factual innacuracies to writing again.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield.

Traves, Peter (C&LL), Staffordshire County Council

I do not accept the views that you put in your response. You have
failed to respond to the core of my letter to you outlining why I think
it appropriate for LAs to have the power to assess the quality of home
education. I do not accept in any way that Mr Hindmarsh has failed in
his duty to you - quite the contrary. Nor do I accept the rather
bizarre view that there is some kind of home education expertise that
must be tested by the parent before access is granted to officers with
years of proven experience in education - what we are talking about is a
capacity to assess the breadth and quality of education offered.

Peter Traves

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Traves, Peter (C&LL),

Yet again you have failed to acknowledge the dates I offered to meet with you. You cannot expect me to bear the burden of responsibility for the lack of meeting when you refuse to communicate about a meeting.

Yet again you fail to acknowledge or address the *evidenced* failings of your staff. It is not just my opinion that they have failed in their duties but a provable fact. Refusing to accept it will not make it go away.

Please explain why you think it is 'bizarre' that I expect someone who wants to assess my children's provision of *home education* to have some expertise in *home education*.

Experience teaching in *school* does not qualify you to judge the *home education* of others. Nor do you need to be a teacher in order to successfully home educate.

Education in schools is near identical wherever you are in the country. Education at home varies dramatically from family to family, and even child to child.

Your position is on par with suggesting that because someone has years of experience flying air craft then they should be considered capable of inspecting and signing off space craft. Totally different things, but hey they both fly so it's probably OK, I'm sure they'll do a good job.

You are entitled to this flippant regard to the experience, or lack of, of your officers but should not be surprised that parents may take their children's education, and welfare, somewhat more seriously and demand more assurances before allowing access to them.

Are you seriously suggesting that your officers shouldn't have to prove themselves and that I should let what is essentially a stranger have access to my children without having vetted them first?

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

M Stafford left an annotation ()

"It was directly related to your attack
on the professionalism of one of my officers"

Having read this authorities responses to the 2007 and 2009 consultations, I too would question the professionalism of the authorities officers. Good luck Matt with getting the information you want.

Stephen Mckie left an annotation ()

Nor do I accept the rather bizarre view that there is some kind of home education expertise that must be tested by the parent before access is granted to officers with years of proven experience in education.

Wow,

I find Mr Traves comments unbelievable.

This view suggests that Mr Traves believes that home educators must be using methods used at school. It completely exposes his utter lack of understanding of alternative teaching methods and makes me wonder if he is at all equipped to do his job.

With Mr Traves method of thinking I could argue that an eye surgeon is well experienced to operate on my knee, because both are part of the human body.

Utter lunacy! Is this man really in charge?

Michelle Batchelor (Mrs) left an annotation ()

Mr Traves states, "You have
failed to respond to the core of my letter to you outlining why I think
it appropriate for LAs to have the power to assess the quality of home
education."

Could Mr Traves please link this statement to the current law surrounding Home Education. Just because you (Mr Traves) "think it appropriate for LAs to have the power to assess the quality of home education" does NOT make it lawful. There is no automatic right for the LA to see the child, evidence of work or to meet with the parents; that you "think it appropriate" is irrelevant.

Does it "appear" that the child is not receiving a suitable education? Do you understand about the different types of home education taking place, very successfully, in England today? (Read Paula Rothermel's (et al) studies)

It appears to me that the EHE team have been very obstructive to Mr Hupfield and misread or disregarded the current laws of this land!

Michelle

Matt Hupfield

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to remind you of the information I
requested on 5 May, which is due to be released no later than tomorrow to be within the 20 day deadline. I have listed it below again for your convenience.

- When the public interest procedure began and how long you it took.

- The names and job titles of the senior managers you were waiting to be available before you could begin the public interest test procedure.

- The names and job titles of all staff who were involved in the procedure.

I would also like to remind you of the information I requested on May 13th:

- A copy of all documentation, for example minutes or notes of meetings, related to the public interest test.

- Copies of all correspondence between the LA and the DCSF in relation to the public interest test.

I look forward to receiving responses to both requests.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Matt Hupfield

Dear Sir or Madam,

Further to my message of June 1, I had in fact overlooked the Bank Holiday of May 25. This means the 20 working day limit in which you are required by law to reply to my request of May 5 will in fact expire today, not tomorrow.

I look forward to receiving your response by the end of today.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield.

Matt Hupfield

Dear Sir or Madam,

>This means the 20 working day limit in which you

>are required by law to reply to my request of May 5

>will in fact expire today, not tomorrow.

This should of course read "today, not yesterday."

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Hupfield

Further to your request for information I would like to confirm the
following:

When the public interest procedure began and how long you it took.

This is not a Freedom of Information request as it is not a request for
information held however I can confirm that the request was received 23
Feb 2009 and the information requested was indicated as "confidential" by
the Elective Home Education Team and that section 41 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 was considered. This is an absolute exemption and
no public interest test is required. However after consideration the
information did not meet the criteria for confidentiality but that it was
still sensitive and should be considered for disclosure/withholding under
section 36 (prejudice to the conduct of public affairs) which is subject
to a public interest test. This decision to consider section 36 was taken
on 20 March 2009. The PIT was then arranged for 7 May 2009 and the
information was released on 12 May 2009.

The names and job titles of the senior managers you were waiting to be
available before you could begin the public interest test procedure.

Jean Evans - Assistant Director (Law and Governance)

Philip Jones - Head of Information Governance (Law and Governance)

Heather Wadkin - Information Manager (Children and Lifelong Learning)

The names and job titles of all staff who were involved in the procedure.

As above and

Lian Stibbs - Access to Information Officer (Law and Governance)

A copy of all documentation, for example minutes or notes of meetings,
related to the public interest test.

Copies of all correspondence between the LA and the DCSF in relation to
the public interest test.

All information held relating to the public interest test is attached.
The decision is also recorded on our website here:
[1]http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/yourcoun...

If you have any comments relating to how your request has been handled by
our authority, please contact Philip Jones, Head of Information
Governance, Information Governance Unit, 1a Bailey Street, Stafford, ST17
4BG.

If you have any further comments relating to how your complaint has been
handled by our authority, please contact the Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Lantsbery

Access to Information Manager

Information Governance Unit

Law and Governance

Staffordshire County Council, 1a Bailey Street, Stafford, ST17 4BG

Tel: 01785 278387

Fax: 01785 278362

[2][email address]

[3]www.staffordshire.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Matt Hupfield

Dear Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G),

Thank you for your prompt response this morning.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Matt Hupfield

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for the information you have provided today, however there are a number of pieces of information missing.

- Missing e-mail attachments:
Several e-mail messages refer to attached documents. These documents have not been included in the released information. Please provide copies of all attachments.

- Missing e-mail messages:
A number of e-mail messages contain a subject line that starts with "RE:". This text is automatically inserted into the subject line by the e-mail client when a message is replied to and means there are previous messages in the conversation. The original message, or messages, have not been included. Please provide copies of the complete e-mail conversations, both internally and with the DCSF.

- Missing names:
In the document "PIT - Additional Information" the name of a person to whom a quoted statement is attributed has been blacked out. In addition a number of names in e-mails have also been blacked out. Aside from making the information easier to follow if all names are included there is no valid cause for blacking out the names as it does not constitute personal information. What an officer or servant does in the course of their employment is public information. Please provide uncensored copies of all information requested.

This is not a new request so not subject to an additional 20 working day limit. This is a prompt for release of a complete and full set of the information requested on May 5. I trust this oversight will be treated as a priority and that a complete set of this information will be collated and released today.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield

Missing e-mail attachments:
All attachments which relate to the PIT have been included as part of
the PDF documents. Attachments may also refer to department logos,
previous e-mails or duplicate documents. I can confirm individual
e-mails attachments but you will need to provide to which specific
e-mails you refer ( please provide Date, From, To and Subject).

Missing e-mail messages:
Your request stated that you required all e-mails in relation to the
Public Interest Test, which is what has been provided. Anything which
has a FW or RE which does not have a previous chain will not be related
to the public interest test. The e-mails have been provided in date
order from the point at which the decision taken to apply the public
interest test. Please note some discussions may have taken place face
to face or over the telephone and would not be recorded.

Missing names:
The missing names relate to administration staff unrelated to the case
and who do not make decisions their names have been redacted in line
with ICO guidance.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

With regards

Catherine Lantsbery
Access to Information Manager
Staffordshire County Council
Tel: 01785 278387

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G),

- Missing e-mail attachments:

The attachments are not referring to logo's or duplicate messages. If an e-mail is released, and therefore deemed relevant, that had an attachment then the attachment is also relevant and should also be released. Without releasing the attachment the message is incomplete and you are therefore releasing incomplete information. Please provide copies of *all* attachments.

- Missing e-mails:

Without access to the full conversations it is impossible for me to determine what is missing. However it is clear from the content of some e-mails that there were previous messages or replies which are not included in the released information. Please review the chains of messages to ensure you have included all relevant information.

- Missing names in "PIT - Additional Information":

Though I don't see the point when I'm sure it would be readily available I appreciate your logic of removing the name of the PA to Peter Traves.

I also appreciate the same logic in relation to the names on emails.

In the section "Statement(s) from Interested Parties" the name of the person to whom a quote is attributed is also removed. I cannot imagine a statement from a member of administrative staff was used as support in the PIT. Please provide the name and job title of this person.

- Missing minutes:

Having now read through all of the information I have also noticed that the PIT meeting minutes are alarmingly sparse. The document contains only the sections "Request", "Consideration" and "Outcome". There is no record of any discussion or decision making actually taking place.

Could you please either provide the full minutes to the meeting or confirm that the council made no attempt to record an accurate set of minutes for the meeting.

--------------------

I am not in a position to, or prepared to, ask for individual e-mail messages or attachments. Without access to the full set of information, as you have, it is impossible for me to determine what is or is not relevant and there is a significant risk I will miss something.

A cynical point of view could be that this was a deliberate strategy used to limit the information that was released.

In either case the responsibility to provide correct and complete information undeniably lies with you.

Please review the information you have provided and as a matter of priority provide me with a complete and full set of the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Thank you for your e-mail. I am currently out of the office. If you have
any data protection or freedom of information queries please contact Lian
Stibbs (01785 278177), Gemma Allen (01785 278568) or Michelle Kowalczyk
(01785 854123).

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Lantsbery, Catherine (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield

Missing attachments: Please provide copies of *all* attachments.
Please note that e-mails received may be in plain text and not html
which would lead to images being referred to as attachments. However
having scanned the e-mails I can only find one reference to an
attachment which is the one in Lian Stibb's e-mail dated 5 March 2009.
The is the PDF entitled "1393 PIT additional information" that was
included in your release. As my previous response if you can identify
any other e-mails that may show an attachment which you believe has not
been included I will be happy to review.

Missing e-mails: Please review the chains of messages to ensure you have
included all relevant information.
As per the information contained in my release the original
consideration was not subject to a public interest test and as per my
previous response some discussions were conducted face to face or over
the telephone or not recorded. Also only the relevant e-mail record will
be placed on the case file. I can confirm that to the best of my
knowledge all e-mails relating to the public interest test have been
released.

In the section "Statement(s) from Interested Parties" the name of the
person to whom a quote is attributed is also removed. I cannot imagine a
statement from a member of administrative staff was used as support in
the PIT. Please provide the name and job title of this person.
The names of the persons providing the basis of the arguments for and
against are included in the PIT document and have not been redacted
(Iain Campbell - DCFS, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Labour MP, Peter Traves,
Corporate Director CLL) as well as the case officer who prepared the
document (Lian Stibbs). The reason for redaction is as previously where
the person who collated the information is exempt from disclosure - I
apologise if the use of the word "statement" was misleading.

Could you please either provide the full minutes to the meeting or
confirm that the council made no attempt to record an accurate set of
minutes for the meeting.
The full and accurate minutes have been provided.

Catherine Lantsbery
Access to Information Manager
Staffordshire County Council
Tel: 01785 278387

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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 Staffordshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Response to Home Education Review'.

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 sincerely,

Matt Hupfield

M Stafford left an annotation ()

Very interested to see the result of this but fear you may have to go to the information commissioner here.

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

I can confirm that the history of your request is currently being
investigated. However, to ensure that the response meets your
requirements, please could you clarify exactly which areas of this
request you wish to have reviewed?

I would assume that you wish for the following areas to be investigated
-
1. Request for the Questionnaire and the lead up to the PIT.
2. The release and results of the PIT.
3. The PIT documentation and background details request and release.
Please could you inform me of any areas missing from this list?

I can confirm that a response to your request will be sent by the Head
of Information Governance Philip Jones, in line with our 20 working day
requirements. I can confirm that the deadline begun on the day your
complaint was received and will continue once in receipt of your
clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Stibbs
Access to Information Officer

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Matt Hupfield

Dear Stibbs, Lian (L&G),

I am specifically interested in the following areas being investigated:

- Quite how the council expects me to inform them which e-mails/attachments I believe may be missing when I do not have access to the original and full email conversations. Why the council chose to not release parts of email conversations.

- On May 18 Mr Peter Traves, Corporate Director for
the Children and Lifelong Learning Directorate (so one would like to assume reasonably intelligent and respectful) posted a message publicly on the request which is unrelated to my request and contains personal information and false allegations. I find his use of a public medium to make these accusations deeply upsetting. I do not understand why Mr Traves chose to use a public medium instead of sending a private email or letter.

- The lack of actual minutes in the released Minutes of the PIT. Can it really be so that the County Council records no information other than the result of the test? Did no one make *any* points or ask *any* questions at the PIT?

Whilst I am mentioning several specific concerns I must clarify and emphasise the fact that I would like the full and complete history of my request investigating.

Matt Hupfield

Stibbs, Lian (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

Dear Mr Hupfield,

Thank you for your clarification, I shall ensure that the specific
points outlined are addressed, along with the areas of concern
highlighted in my earlier email.

As you have promptly replied to my email I can confirm that a response
will reach you by 27/7/09.

Yours sincerely,

Lian Rebecca Stibbs
Access to Information Officer

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Matt Hupfield left an annotation ()

Staffordshire Action for the Protection of Home Education:

http://www.theartofsurvival.co.uk/homeed...

Home Education Support, Advice and Resources in Staffordshire.

Simmons, Ruth (L&G), Staffordshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Hupfield,

Further to your recent email, please find attached Philip Jones' response
to your request for an internal review.

Regards

Ruth Simmons

PA to Philip A. Jones

Information Governance Unit

Law & Governance Directorate

Staffordshire County Council

1A Bailey Street

Stafford ST17 4BG

Tel: 01785 278326

Fax: 01785 278362

Email: [1][email address]

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