Dear Bedford Borough Council,

I am writing with a freedom of information request for data relating to the content and outcome of Return Home Interviews (RHIs) provided for runaway or missing children by your authority.

When you respond with confirmation that you have received my request, could you please advise whether any clarification is needed in order to complete my request? Please ensure any questions arrive to me prior to the 20 day deadline.

Yours faithfully,

Poppy Damon

Please can you send over answers to the following:
+ How many recorded instances of missing then returned children did you have in your authority per year between Jan 1st 2014-Jan 1st 2019? If you can provide a per month break down please do.
+How many of these instances were children who had runaway more than once? If possible can you send a break down which shows a numbered list to indicate individual children and a second column with how many times they ran away? This would of course not include their name or any details.
+ A summary of the recorded outcomes or actions taken for all completed Return Home Interviews (for example a safeguarding referral, report to the police or to another service). I would like a breakdown of these for Jan 2014-Jan 2019. Ideally this would be laid out by outcome, beside a number of times this was taken. This would sit along side a number of how many RHIs were carried out in total per year. Excel or PDF formats are fine.
+ How many of these return interviews contained content about child exploitation?
+How many times were the police notified of potential child exploitation, following a RHI?
+ Can you send me the hiring requirements for staff employed in-house to carry out RHIs? If you outsource this service please respond with who does this for you.
+If you do not outsource and complete RHIs yourself - could you please provide the aide memoire/guidelines/checklist that you use when completing Return Home Interviews?

Freedom of Information, Bedford Borough Council

Thank you for your e-mail requesting information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

We will proceed with the request which we received today. It is our
intention to have the information delivered to you as soon as possible
otherwise within the statutory 20 working days.

 

In consideration of the request, which may be subject to any exemptions/
exceptions the Council may rely on to refuse the request, some of which
are absolute and some of which only apply where the public interest in
maintaining the exemption/exception outweighs that in disclosing the
information.

 

 

Please note that should you be requesting information under the
Environmental Information Regulations although we provide free access to a
wide range of information through our website, access to any public
registers which we hold and for inspecting information at our offices, we
are allowed to charge you a reasonable fee for providing certain
information.  If applicable, we will issue you with a fee notice.  This
will detail the tasks involved in responding to the request, and
associated costs.  Further information is available on the EIR page of
Bedford Borough Council’s website at the following link:

 

[1]http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...

  

 

Please note that once a response has been forwarded to you an anonymised
summary of all requests appear on the Bedford Borough website at the
following link:

[2]http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...
Our current practise is that the information will be available to view on
the web for 2 years.

 

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this matter should be emailed to [3][Bedford Borough Council request email] .

 

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Daniela Hanson, Bedford Borough Council

Bedford BC - OFFICIAL-Unsecure

 

Dear Poppy Damon

 

Request pursuant to Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Request No  13773

 

Further to your request for information dated 4 March, I can confirm that
the information you requested is held under the Freedom of Information Act
2000. However, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not oblige the
Council to comply with a request for information if it estimates that the
cost of complying with the request would exceed the “appropriate limit.”

This appropriate limit has been set in the Freedom of Information and Data
Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 which provides
that for a local authority the appropriate limit is £450. This is
calculated by reference to a maximum of 18 hours being taken and the cost
of staff time being set in the Regulations as £25 per hour.  The
Regulations also say that In calculating the amount the Council may, “for
the purpose of its estimate, take account only of the costs it reasonably
expects to incur in relation to the request in: (a) determining whether it
holds the information, (b) locating the information, or a document which
may contain the information, (c) retrieving the information, or a document
which may contain the information, and (d) extracting the information from
a document containing it.”

 

The Council has therefore decided to refuse your request.

 

You requested:

Please can you send over answers to the following:

·         How many recorded instances of missing then returned children
did you have in your authority per year between Jan 1st 2014-Jan 1st 2019?
If you can provide a per month break down please do.

Answer:

Number of Missing Episodes (with Return Dates) grouped by month and year
of Episode Start Date as recorded on Azeus (Children’s Services Client
Management System) as at 19th March 2019.

 

Number of
Year Month Missing Annual Total
Episodes with
Return Dates
Feb 1
Apr 1
May 1
2014 Jul 2 14
Aug 1
Sep 1
Oct 5
Nov 2
Mar 1
Aug 1
2015 Sep 5 55
Oct 21
Nov 22
Dec 5
Jan 17
Feb 12
Mar 15
Apr 24
May 18
2016 Jun 39 400
Jul 41
Aug 38
Sep 44
Oct 48
Nov 60
Dec 44
Jan 29
Feb 49
Mar 46
Apr 24
May 39
2017 Jun 57 671
Jul 64
Aug 50
Sep 67
Oct 69
Nov 89
Dec 88
Jan 103
Feb 81
Mar 58
Apr 82
May 79
2018 Jun 46 699
Jul 62
Aug 42
Sep 53
Oct 36
Nov 31
Dec 26
Grand Total 1,839

 

·         How many of these instances were children who had runaway more
than once? If possible can you send a break down which shows a numbered
list to indicate individual children and a second column with how many
times they ran away? This would of course not include their name or any
details.

Answer:

The numbers of children with repeat missing episodes for the period 1st
January 2014 and 31st December 2018, grouped by numbers of episodes as
recorded on Azeus as at 19^th March 2019.

 

Number of
Missing Number
Episodes of
between 01Jan14 Children
and
31 Dec18
1 Episode 248
2-5 Episodes 117
6-10 Episodes 17
11-20 Episodes 16
21-40 Episodes 6
41+ Episodes 11
Grand Total 415

 

·         A summary of the recorded outcomes or actions taken for all
completed Return Home Interviews (for example a safeguarding referral,
report to the police or to another service). I would like a breakdown of
these for Jan 2014-Jan 2019.  Ideally this would be laid out by outcome,
beside a number of times this was taken.

Answer:  This information is not held in an easily accessible format.  For
us to obtain and collate this information it would exceed the “appropriate
limit” for FOI.*

 

·         . This would sit alongside a number of how many RHIs were
carried out in total per year. Excel or PDF formats are fine.

Answer:

The number of Return Home Interviews recorded on Azeus as at 19th March
2019, grouped by Return Home Interview date.

 

Number of Return
Year Month Interviews by Annual Total
Interview Date
Jun 2
2015 Aug 1 6
Sep 2
Oct 1
Feb 2
Apr 3
May 6
Jun 9
2016 Jul 6 75
Aug 4
Sep 6
Oct 8
Nov 20
Dec 11
Jan 12
Feb 11
Mar 9
Apr 5
May 30
2017 Jun 33 172
Jul 19
Aug 7
Sep 11
Oct 13
Nov 12
Dec 10
Jan 15
Feb 13
Mar 10
Apr 22
May 10
2018 Jun 2 124
Jul 16
Aug 5
Sep 6
Oct 6
Nov 9
Dec 10
Grand Total 377

 

 

·         How many of these return interviews contained content about
child exploitation?

Answer:

Based on the Proformas recorded on Azeus with Missing Episode Start Dates
between 1st April 2014 and 31st December 2018, there were 77 individual
children with a CSE flag relating to 274 missing episodes.

 

·         How many times were the police notified of potential child
exploitation, following a RHI? 

Answer: This information is not held in an easily accessible format.  For
us to obtain and collate this information it would exceed the “appropriate
limit” for FOI.*

 

·         Can you send me the hiring requirements for staff employed
in-house to carry out RHIs? If you outsource this service please respond
with who does this for you.

Answer: Barnardos

 

·         If you do not outsource and complete RHIs yourself - could you
please provide the aide memoire/guidelines/checklist that you use when
completing Return Home Interviews?

Answer: n/a

 

*The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not oblige the Council to comply
with a request for information if it estimates that the cost of complying
with the request would exceed the “appropriate limit.”

This appropriate limit has been set in the Freedom of Information and Data
Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 which provides
that for a local authority the appropriate limit is £450. This is
calculated by reference to a maximum of 18 hours being taken and the cost
of staff time being set in the Regulations as £25 per hour.  The
Regulations also say that In calculating the amount the Council may, “for
the purpose of its estimate, take account only of the costs it reasonably
expects to incur in relation to the request in: (a) determining whether it
holds the information, (b) locating the information, or a document which
may contain the information, (c) retrieving the information, or a document
which may contain the information, and (d) extracting the information from
a document containing it.”

 

The Council has therefore decided to refuse  this part of your request.

 

If for whatever reason you are unhappy with our response to your
application you are entitled to pursue any dissatisfaction through the
Council's Internal Review Procedure.  Pursuant to Section 17 (7) of the
Act the procedure provided by the Council for dealing with complaints
about the determination of this request for information is the Council’s
FOI Complaints Procedure, a copy of which can be obtained on request or is
set out at: 
[1]http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Daniela Hanson
Freedom of Information Administrator (Children's Services)
Support Services
Children's Services
Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP
Tel: 01234 276749 (Internal 44749)
Website: [2]www.bedford.gov.uk  
‘Bedford Borough Council – Working with our partners to make the Borough a
better place to live, work and visit.’

For up-to-date information on the Council follow us on:
Twitter: @bedfordtweets  
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Colin Foster, Director of Children’s Services
Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP DX 117105 Bedford 4

Phone (01234) 267422   Minicom (01234) 221827   Web www.bedford.gov.uk

 

 

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