Dear Middlesbrough 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?

foi, Middlesbrough Council

 

Dear Ms Damon

 

REF NO: 014185

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry, received on 4^th March 2019.  I can
confirm that your enquiry is receiving attention and a response will be
provided within 20 working days following receipt of your enquiry as
allowed under the Freedom of Information Act legislation.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I will
let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or
email [Middlesbrough Council request email] should you require any further advice or
assistance with this or any other matter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Steph Robson

Information & Compliance Officer

 

 

(   01642 729696

+ Finance, Governance & Support, Strategy, Information & Governance,
Middlesbrough Council, PO Box 500, Civic Centre, Middlesbrough, TS1 9RH

: [1][Middlesbrough Council request email]

x Post Code for Sat Nav TS1 2RT

 

Website: [2]www.middlesbrough.gov.uk

 

 

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foi, Middlesbrough Council

2 Attachments

 

Dear Ms Damon

 

REF NO: 014185  

 

I am writing to confirm that Middlesbrough Council has now completed its
search for the information you requested on 4^th March 2019.  Please
accept my sincere apology for the delay in responding to your
request.             

 

In your request you asked for the following information:

 

1. 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.

 

Response:

 

The statistics for 1^st January 2014 to 28 March 2015 are not available
due to changes in computer systems

 

The total number of episodes between 1 April 2015 and 1 January 2019  was
3540, which includes LAC children placed in our area by other Local
Authorities

 

Please see graph 1 for a breakdown by month 

 

Graph 1 – Search on 1 January 2014 to 1 January 2019 for ALL Missing
episodes

 

 

2          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.

 

Response:

           

3299 episodes to 492 children

See attached PDF for breakdown

 

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

 

Response:

 

I can advise you that the Council does hold the requested information.  In
order to provide the requested information it would require each RHI to be
opened, and manually read alongside the other outcomes in the rest of the
child’s record.

 

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information  Act allows public authorities to
refuse to answer requests for information if the cost of complying would
exceed the "appropriate limit" prescribed in the Regulations. The
appropriate limit as set out in the Act is £450 (an hourly rate of £25 per
person per hour for a maximum of 18 hours in total).
To fully comply with your request we have estimated it would breach the
appropriate fees limit of £450. The Council feels that at this time we do
not have the resources to carry out the above search for a fee and
therefore we must partially refuse your request.

 

 

The RHIs cannot therefore be used to calculate a % of all missing episodes
requested in question 1 

 

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

 

Response:   

 

I can advise you that the Council does hold the requested information.  In
order to provide the requested information it would require an extensive
manual search through each individual record.

 

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information  Act allows public authorities to
refuse to answer requests for information if the cost of complying would
exceed the "appropriate limit" prescribed in the Regulations. The
appropriate limit as set out in the Act is £450 (an hourly rate of £25 per
person per hour for a maximum of 18 hours in total).
To fully comply with your request we have estimated it would breach the
appropriate fees limit of £450. The Council feels that at this time we do
not have the resources to carry out the above search for a fee and
therefore we must partially refuse your request.

 

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

 

Response: Please see above response provided for question 4.

 

6          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.

 

Response: The Return Home Interview Service is commissioned through
Barnardos

 

7          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?

Response: N/A  The RHI service is Outsourced

 

If you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to
contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or email
[1][Middlesbrough Council request email]. Please remember to quote the reference number
shown above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled you may ask
for an internal review within 40 days of receipt of the response. You
should write to:-

Ann-Marie Johnstone

Governance & Information Manager

P.O. Box 500,

Civic Centre,

Middlesbrough.

TS1 9FT

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for an
independent review. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: -

 

Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

 

Steph Robson

Information Requests Coordinator

 

Finance, Governance and Support

Strategy, Information and Governance

Middlesbrough Council

P.O. Box 500
Civic Centre
Middlesbrough
TS1 9FT

Email:   [2][Middlesbrough Council request email]

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2. mailto:[Middlesbrough Council request email]