Support provided to people with No Recourse to Public Funds

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Sutton Borough Council should normally have responded promptly and by (details)

Dear Sutton 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

LBS FOI, Sutton Borough Council

Dear Anna Mulcahy, 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST - REF NO
- F13153 (please quote in correspondence)
I acknowledge your request for information received on 07/11/2018 relating
to Support provided to people with No Recourse to Public Funds.
Your request is being considered and, if it is held, you will receive the
information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as
defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information
not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size.  If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large
print, etc. then please let us know.
For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested.  There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released.  You will be informed if this is the
case, including your rights of appeal.
If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
release the information to you.  You will be informed if this is the case.
A fee may be payable for this information.  This will be considered and
you will be informed if a fee is payable.  In this event the fee must be
paid before the information is processed and released.  The 20 working day
time limit is suspended until receipt of the payment.
Please be advised that in line with London Borough of Sutton's commitment
to transparency, in due course an anonymous copy of your request and our
response may be published on our website.
Yours sincerely,
FOI Admin Officer
London Borough of Sutton

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Louise Yardley, Sutton Borough Council

SENT ON BEHALF OF JACKIE MCCARTHY

Dear Anna Mulcahy

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST - REF NO - F13153 

I refer to your request for information received on 08/11/18 concerning
Support provided to people with No Recourse to Public Funds.

Please see our response below in blue text.

Your request:

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: Less than five

b.      January – June 2017: Less than five

When there are fewer than five individuals, the exact number of
individuals is considered exempt under Section 40(2) of the Act, which
applies to personal data. This exemption applies to the exact figure as
this consists of personal data because there is a risk of identification
or recognition from this information alone or when it is combined with
other information which is within the public domain or could be requested.

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

We do not hold this information in a reportable way. Furthermore, when
there are fewer than five individuals, the exact number of individuals is
considered exempt under Section 40(2) of the Act, which applies to
personal data. This exemption applies to the exact figure as this consists
of personal data because there is a risk of identification or recognition
from this information alone or when it is combined with other information
which is within the public domain or could be requested.

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

We do not hold this information in a reportable way. Furthermore, when
there are fewer than five individuals, the exact number of individuals is
considered exempt under Section 40(2) of the Act, which applies to
personal data. This exemption applies to the exact figure as this consists
of personal data because there is a risk of identification or recognition
from this information alone or when it is combined with other information
which is within the public domain or could be requested.

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.

We do not hold this information in a reportable way. Furthermore, when
there are fewer than five individuals, the exact number of individuals is
considered exempt under Section 40(2) of the Act, which applies to
personal data. This exemption applies to the exact figure as this consists
of personal data because there is a risk of identification or recognition
from this information alone or when it is combined with other information
which is within the public domain or could be requested.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled you
have the right to ask for an internal review.  Please notify us in writing
as soon as possible with the grounds upon which you feel the appeal is
justified to : [1][Sutton Borough Council request email]  or by post to Customer Care and
Improvement Team, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 1EA.

We aim to respond to you within 20 working days of receiving your request.
If it is going to take longer we will let you know.

Should you still be dissatisfied with the outcome you have the right to
refer to the Information Commissioner: Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF [2]www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely

Jackie McCarthy
Head of Integrated Services For Young Children,

People Directorate, London Borough of Sutton

Civic Offices,

St Nicholas Way,

Sutton,

SM1 1EA

Tel: 0208 770 4600
Email: [3][email address]

Disclaimers apply, for full details see : 
(https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200436/cu...)

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Sutton Borough Council request email]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]

Dear Louise Yardley,

Many thanks for the response provided by Sutton Council in to my FOI submitted on 6th November (ref no. F13153). I submitted an FOI to Sutton council in May 2018 (ref no. F12379) that requested very similar data on the NRPF caseload of Sutton council, although the May FOI referred to the time period Dec 2017-May 2018, the November FOI referred to the time periods, Jan-Jun 2018 and Jan-Jun 2017.

Unfortunately there were discrepancies between the responses provided by Sutton council to the FOI in November and the FOI in May that have caused me to become concerned with the accuracy of the information I have been provided with.

In response to the May FOI, Sutton council confirmed they had conducted 13 Child in Need assessments for NRPF families, and granted support to 7 families with NRPF status. However, in response to the November FOI, the council said that it 'does not hold data in a reportable way' on the number of Child in Need assessments conducted for families with NRPF, and the number families with NRPF granted support.

Similarly, in response to the November FOI, Sutton council responded that they had received less than five referrals for support from families with NRPF in the relevant time periods, suggesting that the council collects the data but could not share exact numbers because of Section 40 of the Act. However, in response to my FOI submitted in May, the council said that they do not record the details of referrals that were unsuccessful so couldn't provide data on number of referrals received.

The explicit discrepancies between the two responses has undermined by confidence in the legitimacy of the responses provided by Sutton council. The fact that data is being provided in one instance, but then in another instance the council is claiming the same data is not available because they do not record it, causes me to suspect that the responses provided to the FOIs are not accurate.

I would like to request that the response that has been provided is reviewed and either the data that I suspect the council does hold is provided to me, or a legitimate reason for the discrepancy described above is provided.

Please respond within four working days to confirm that the response is being reviewed otherwise I will request an internal review.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Mulcahy

Louise Yardley, Sutton Borough Council

Dear Anna Mulcahy,
Thank you for your email. I will look into this for you and get back to
you as soon as possible. 
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience or confusion caused.
Kind regards,
Louise Yardley

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