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School software support

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Dear Middlesbrough Council,
Can you please provide for me the answers to the following questions:

1. Do you provide traded services to schools in your area, or do you contract this out to another party that is outside the local authority? If so, to which?

2. Which school MIS (management information systems) providers do you hold support contracts or accreditations with, and for each MIS provider:
a) What is the nature of the current arrangement (a paid contract, an unpaid accreditation)?
b) When did the current arrangement begin and when it will finish (including any extensions)?
c) If a paid contract, under what basis did you procure it (e.g. directly, through a framework, via OJEU procurement, other)?

3. How many schools do you provide MIS support services to, and:
a) How does this break down by Primary Academies, Primary Maintained, Secondary Academies, Secondary Maintained, Other (incl. PRUs, SENs)?
b) How does this break down by MIS provider?
c) How has this total changed between 2018/19, 2019/20 and this year (say as at June 1st 2018 vs. June 1st 2019 vs. June 1st 2020, or any similar convenient dates)?

4. As part of your support to schools for each of these MIS providers, which of the following activities do you carry out (I am interested in whether the activities differ between MIS providers):
a) 1st line support
b) 2nd line support
c) 3rd line support
d) Implementations
e) Data audits / cleansing
f) Regulatory / census submissions
g) Server management
h) Main data hosting
i) Data backup
j) User training
k) Provide templates / configuration
l) Analysis of data / insight services
m) Resale of the software to schools (on a commission basis)
n) Hosting or arranging local user group meetings / events

5. What was your total traded services income from schools (for all servies) in 2018/19 and 2019/20?

6. What was your total traded service income for providing schools with MIS support for 2018/19 and 2019/20?

7. What is the current amount of de-delegated funding that you levy on LA-maintained schools (either in total, on a per school level, or a per learner level - whichever is easiest)?

8. What software or digital tools (learning, safeguarding or admin) do you provide to schools under the de-delegated funding allocation?

Yours faithfully,

M Vamsi

foi, Middlesbrough Council

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Regards
Information Requests Team

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foi, Middlesbrough Council

 

Dear M Vamsi

 

REF NO: 015914  

 

I am writing to confirm that Middlesbrough Council has now completed its
search for the information you requested on 4^th September 2020. 

 

In your request you asked for the following information:

 

1. Do you provide traded services to schools in your area, or do you
contract this out to another party that is outside the local authority? If
so, to which?

 

Response: We provide Traded Services.  Schools procure their own MIS
support directly.

 

2. Which school MIS (management information systems) providers do you hold
support contracts or accreditations with, and for each MIS provider:

 

Response: Not applicable.  Middlesbrough Council do not hold contracts or
accreditations for any schools

 

a) What is the nature of the current arrangement (a paid contract, an
unpaid accreditation)?

b) When did the current arrangement begin and when it will finish
(including any extensions)?

c) If a paid contract, under what basis did you procure it (e.g. directly,
through a framework, via OJEU procurement, other)?

 

3. How many schools do you provide MIS support services to, and:

 

Response: 24

 

a) How does this break down by Primary Academies, Primary Maintained,
Secondary Academies, Secondary Maintained, Other (incl. PRUs, SENs)?

 

Response: Primary Academies – 14, Primary Maintained – 8, Special
Maintained – 2

 

b) How does this break down by MIS provider?

 

Response: SIMS but some have supplementary products as well e.g. Target
Tracker, Insight

 

c) How has this total changed between 2018/19, 2019/20 and this year (say
as at June 1st 2018 vs. June 1st 2019 vs. June 1st 2020, or any similar
convenient dates)?

 

Response: Number has reduced by two Primary Academies, in 2018-19 26
schools were supported

 

4. As part of your support to schools for each of these MIS providers,
which of the following activities do you carry out (I am interested in
whether the activities differ between MIS providers):

a) 1st line support

b) 2nd line support

c) 3rd line support

d) Implementations

e) Data audits / cleansing

f) Regulatory / census submissions

 

Response: YES

 

g) Server management

h) Main data hosting

i) Data backup

j) User training

k) Provide templates / configuration

 

Response: YES

 

l) Analysis of data / insight services

 

Response: YES

 

m) Resale of the software to schools (on a commission basis)

n) Hosting or arranging local user group meetings / events

 

5. What was your total traded services income from schools (for all
services) in 2018/19 and 2019/20?

 

Response: I can confirm that Middlesbrough Council does hold information
pertaining to your request.  However, this information is considered to be
exempt from disclosure under section 43 (2) of the FOIA.

 

Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act states that information is
exempt from disclosure if it would or would be likely to prejudice the
commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding
it).

 

Section 43 states:

 

(1) Information is exempt information if it constitutes a trade secret.

 

(2) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person (including the public authority holding it).

 

(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that,
compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice
the exemptions mentioned in subsection (2).

 

Section 43 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we had to consider
whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in
disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed
below.

 

The ICO defines ‘commercial interest’ as “a person’s ability to
participate competitively in a commercial activity i.e. the purchase and
sale of goods or services.” We consider that information submitted to the
Council in order to bid for a contract would naturally fall within the
definition of a commercial interest.

 

Middlesbrough Council has considered the following public interest factors
in disclosure:-

 

Public Interest in Disclosing the Information

 

Release of the information would promote transparency in terms of spending
decisions made by the council;

 

· Promoting public debate;

· Further the understanding of issues;

· Allowing individuals to understand decisions;

· Promoting accountability and transparency in terms of in contractual
decisions.

 

Public Interest in Maintaining the Exemption

 

Disclosure of the requested information would be likely to cause actual
prejudice to the commercial interests of the schools concerned and to the
Council’s own commercial interests.

 

The Information Commissioner (ICO) guidance states that if harm is
demonstrated in disclosure then there must also be public interest in
maintaining the exemption.

 

Decision

 

The Council have decided that it would not be appropriate to disclose the
information you have requested. We consider that the information is exempt
from disclosure citing Section 43 (2) (Commercial Interests) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 on the grounds that disclosure would, or
would be likely to be, prejudicial to the commercial interests of the
third parties, by releasing the requested information.  We note that
disclosure under the Freedom Of Information Act is to release to the world
at large; not to a specific requestor.

 

In considering this matter, the Council acknowledges that there is a
public interest in the scrutiny of how public money is spent. However, the
public interest in providing the information has been carefully weighed
against any prejudice to the public interest that might arise from
withholding the information. It is considered that the greater public
interest therefore lies in withholding the information and therefore the
request is refused under Section 43 of the Act.

 

6. What was your total traded service income for providing schools with
MIS support for 2018/19 and 2019/20?

 

Response: Please see above response provided for question 5.

 

7. What is the current amount of de-delegated funding that you levy on
LA-maintained schools (either in total, on a per school level, or a per
learner level - whichever is easiest)?

 

Response: Per learner level based on 20-21 financial year combined £12.14

 

8. What software or digital tools (learning, safeguarding or admin) do you
provide to schools under the de-delegated funding allocation?

 

Response: Capital One, Liquid Logic, Technology Forge, CLEAPSS.

If you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to
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 email [2][Middlesbrough Council request email] or 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:   [3][Middlesbrough Council request email]

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