Dear Southwark Borough Council,

Please provide the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I am seeking information about the support provided by the council to people who have ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) status, assigned to those subject to immigration control (e.g. those on temporary visas, those with a pending visa application, those who do not have any immigration status), which excludes them from mainstream welfare benefits and housing support. People with NRPF are entitled to support from Local Authorities in certain circumstances to avoid destitution, where there is a child in need, and / or because of complex health needs (under Children Act 1989, Care Act 2014 and / or Human Rights Act).

I am requesting data from two-time periods (January-June 2017 and January-June 2018). I am aware that in cases where gathering data to fully respond to a Freedom of Information request would exceed the allowable time limit or cost, authorities are not required to work up to these limits (that is, they are not required to partially respond and provide as much data as the limit allows). However, I ask that if providing data for both time periods will exceed the limit, that you please just provide data for the single time period January-June 2018, in accordance with Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 that states authorities have a duty to provide assistance to those making a request.

I suggest this FOI request is forwarded to the council’s dedicated NRPF Team, or if your council does not have a dedicated NRPF Team, to Children’s Services. Many thanks in advance for your assistance with this matter.

Please provide data for the following questions:

1. How many requests for support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 did the council receive from families where the parent(s) had ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) status in the following six-month periods:

a. January – June 2018
b. January – June 2017

2. How many Child in Need Assessments were conducted by the council in response to requests for support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 from families where the parent(s) had ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) status in the following six-month periods:

a. January – June 2018
b. January – June 2017

3. How many requests for support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 from families where the parent(s) had ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) status were granted (that is, the family went on to receive social services support) in the following six-month periods:

a. January – June 2018
b. January – June 2017

4. How many requests for support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 from families where the parent had ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) status were refused for the following reasons, during the period January-June 2018:

a. The parents’ immigration status
b. The family was not ordinarily resident in the borough
c. The family was deemed not destitute / the child(ren) was not ‘in need’ under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Yours faithfully,

Anna Mulcahy

Southwark Borough Council

Southwark Council - Information request

Our reference: 996986

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Elizabeth Murray, Southwark Borough Council

1 Attachment

Southwark Council - Information request

Our reference: 996986

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Dear Southwark Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Southwark Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Support provided to people with No Recourse to Public Funds' (ref no. 996986).

I submitted an FOI request on 6th November 2018 requesting data on referrals from families with NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds) status from the time periods Jan-June 2017 and Jan-June 2018, specifically:
(1) Number of referrals received by Southwark council from families with NRPF
(2) Number of Child in Need assessments conducted by Southwark council for families with NRPF
(3) Number of requests for destitution support from families with NRPF that were granted by Southwark council
(4) Number of families with NRPF refused support because: (i) parent's immigration status (ii) the family doesn't live in the borough (iii) the family was deemed not to be destitute.

In response to my FOI request, Southwark council refused to provide this data under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on the basis that 'the information is not held as statistical data and in order to collate the data the council would need to manually interrogate over 500 NRPF client files at a minimum of ten minutes per file.'

I am requesting an internal review into the handling of this request for the following reason. In May 2018, I submitted a similar FOI request to Southwark council (ref no. 930202) requesting data on the council's NRPF caseload, although this request referred to the time period Dec 2017-May 2018 (differing slightly from the time period covered by my November FOI request). In response to the May request, Southwark council provided data on the number of families with NRPF that had been granted support, and the number of families with NRPF granted support where Schedule 3 of the Nationality Asylum and Immigration Act applied due to their immigration status.

The fact that Southwark council was able to provide this data in May reveals that they do hold at least some of the data I requested in my November FOI in an accessible format. Despite this, the council refused to provide the data in response to my November FOI. I would therefore like to request a review into the council's claim in the response to the November FOI that they do not hold any of the data in an accessible format when at least some of it was available just five months ago.

The claim that all of the data is not available when clearly at least some of the data is available has undermined my confidence in the legitimacy of the council's response to the FOI and the claim that the other data that the council refused to provide in both May and November is genuinely not available (that is, how many referrals received and assessments conducted for NRPF families). I struggle to see how data that was available in May could no longer be accessible now. Furthermore, given the similarity between data on the number of NRPF cases that were granted support, and the number of assessments conducted and referrals received from NRPF families, I find it difficult to imagine why the first type of data would be accessible (as was demonstrated in the May FOI response), but the second type of data would not be?

I would like the response to the FOI to be reviewed and an explanation provided for the discrepancy between the May FOI response and the November FOI response regarding why data that was previously available is no longer available. I would also like a review into why some data on NRPF cases is accessible but other similar data is not?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

Anna Mulcahy

Barfield, Catherine, Southwark Borough Council

Dear Ms Mulcahy

I write in response to your email dated the 3 December 2018 in relation to
freedom of information request Ref 996986.

 

In your email you state as follows:

 

In response to my FOI request, Southwark council refused to provide this
data under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on the basis
that 'the information is not held as statistical data and in order to
collate the data the council would need to manually interrogate over 500
NRPF client files at a minimum of ten minutes per file.'

 

I am requesting an internal review into the handling of this request for
the following reason. In May 2018, I submitted a similar FOI request to
Southwark council (ref no. 930202) requesting data on the council's NRPF
caseload, although this request referred to the time period Dec 2017-May
2018 (differing slightly from the time period covered by my November FOI
request). In response to the May request, Southwark council provided data
on the number of families with NRPF that had been granted support, and the
number of families with NRPF granted support where Schedule 3 of the
Nationality Asylum and Immigration Act applied due to their immigration
status.

 

The fact that Southwark council was able to provide this data in May
reveals that they do hold at least some of the data I requested in my
November FOI in an accessible format. Despite this, the council refused to
provide the data in response to my November FOI. I would therefore like to
request a review into the council's claim in the response to the November
FOI that they do not hold any of the data in an accessible format when at
least some of it was available just five months ago.

 

Thank you for your email. Our official stance on the use of Section 12 is
as follows:

 

• If we cannot answer the FOI within 18 hours, we apply Section 12.

 

• If we can provide some information, but not all because it would exceed
18 hours, we apply Section 12 to the entire request. Under our duty to
advise and assist (Section 16) we then state that if the requestor would
like the information we can provide, they can resubmit a new FOI for this
information.   This brings us into line with the guidance as set out by
the ICO and central government. I have noted that in the original response
Ms Murray did advise and assist you by suggesting that you narrow the
scope of the request.

 

For your reference I have outlined below S32 of the ICO guidance in
relation to the use of Section 12.

 

32. As a matter of good practice, public authorities should avoid
providing the information found as a result of its searching and claiming
section 12 for the remainder of the information. It is accepted that this
is often done with the intention of being helpful but it ultimately denies
the requestor the right to express a preference as to which part or parts
of the request they may wish to receive which can be provided under the
appropriate limit.

 

If you require any further information the link to the appropriate section
is copied below:

 

[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

 

I would recommend that you submit a new request / requests for the
information, which you can do by return email.

 

I hope this response is satisfactory, however if you are not content with
the outcome of your appeal you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner for a decision. You should contact him within 2 months of the
outcome of your internal appeal.

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act and the
Environmental Information Regulations is available through the Information
Commissioner at the: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Telephone: 01625 545 700,
Internet: [2]https://ico.org.uk/

Regards

 

Catherine Barfield

Specialist Services Manager (Customer Resolution)

London Borough of Southwark

PO BOX 64529

London

SE1P 5LX 

Telephone: 0207 5250041

[3][email address]

Please note: I do not work on a Friday

 

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If you have received this in error please notify us immediately.

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References

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Dear Catherine,

Thank you for your response to my request asking for the original response I received to be reviewed.

Unfortunately, nowhere in your response did you address the main issue regarding why I was requesting a review. That is, in May 2018 Southwark council provided me with data on the number of NRPF households they supported over the six month period Dec 17-May 18. However, in response to this FOI requesting the same data (although referring to the time period Jan-Jun 18 and Jan-Jun 17) Southwark claimed the data was not available.

I do not want to use up more resources by making a complaint to the Information Commissioner for an issue that I feel you could resolve relatively easily by revisiting the request with the NRPF and providing either the data or a legitimate reason why data that was available five months ago is no longer available?

Yours sincerely,

Anna Mulcahy

Dear Catherine,

I have not received a reply from the email I sent on the 20th December (pasted below for your reference) in re. to the unsatisfactory response I received from Southwark council to my FOI reference no. 996986

Previous email:

Dear Catherine,

Thank you for your response to my request asking for the original response I received to be reviewed.

Unfortunately, nowhere in your response did you address the main issue regarding why I was requesting a review. That is, in May 2018 Southwark council provided me with data on the number of NRPF households they supported over the six month period Dec 17-May 18. However, in response to this FOI requesting the same data (although referring to the time period Jan-Jun 18 and Jan-Jun 17) Southwark claimed the data was not available.

I do not want to use up more resources by making a complaint to the Information Commissioner for an issue that I feel you could resolve relatively easily by revisiting the request with the NRPF and providing either the data or a legitimate reason why data that was available five months ago is no longer available?

Yours sincerely,

Anna Mulcahy

Barfield, Catherine, Southwark Borough Council

Dear Ms Mulcahy
I am not in the office today but will check my records when I next log onto the system.
I seem to remember providing a response over the Xmas period, but please accept my apologies if that is not the case.
I will get back to you by Monday.
Regards

Catherine Barfield
Specialist Services Manager

Sent from my iPhone

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The email you received and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be covered by legal and/or professional privilege and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this in error please notify us immediately.

If you are not the intended recipient of the email or the person responsible for delivering it to them you may not copy it, forward it or otherwise use it for any purpose or disclose its contents to any other person. To do so may be unlawful.

Where opinions are expressed in the email they are not necessarily those of Southwark Council and Southwark Council is not responsible for any changes made to the message after it has been sent.

Dear Catherine,

I am still waiting on a response to my follow up question regarding my FOI. Please provide a response at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Mulcahy

Barfield, Catherine, Southwark Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Mucahy
I responded to your follow up questions on the 31 December and again on the 14 January - see attached.

If you remain dissatisfied I would recommend that you contact the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Telephone: 01625 545 700, Internet: https://ico.org.uk

Regards

Catherine Barfield
Specialist Services Manager (Customer Resolution)
London Borough of Southwark
PO BOX 64529
London
SE1P 5LX
Telephone: 0207 5250041
[email address]
Please note: I do not work on a Friday

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Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #530577 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
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For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the latest advice from the ICO:
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The email you received and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be covered by legal and/or professional privilege and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this in error please notify us immediately.

If you are not the intended recipient of the email or the person responsible for delivering it to them you may not copy it, forward it or otherwise use it for any purpose or disclose its contents to any other person. To do so may be unlawful.

Where opinions are expressed in the email they are not necessarily those of Southwark Council and Southwark Council is not responsible for any changes made to the message after it has been sent.

Dear Catherine,

Thank you for your response. Apologies but I had not received either of your emails from the 31st December of the 14th January. You can see for yourself on the Whatdotheyknow.com FOI history that those responses are not there:

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

Thank you for your explanation of how you are now applying Section 12 to the whole request even if you are able to access some of the data. This came as a surprise as I have not received this explanation from the other 31 London boroughs, most of whom have provided at least partial data in recent weeks in an effort to be assistive and met their duty under Section 16 of the FOIA.

I would really appreciate it if you could please send me a link where this new ICO guidance is published re. new advice to reject an entire request if only some of the data is published? It would really help me to understand your response better and possibly save the resources that would be spent if I forwarded my complaint to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Mulcahy

Barfield, Catherine, Southwark Borough Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Section 12 information.html

    3K Download

Dear Ms Mulcahy
Please find attached a link to the ICO guidance on Section 12.
Regards

Catherine Barfield
Specialist Services Manager (Customer Resolution)
London Borough of Southwark
PO BOX 64529
London
SE1P 5LX
Telephone: 0207 5250041
[email address]
Please note: I do not work on a Friday

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