Your 1st place for FoI News
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Angry home schoolers cause problems for FoI officers

    Posted on October 19th, 2009 admin 2 comments

    An interesting letter has emerged through the WhatDoTheyKnow website relating to the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

    It relates to a concerted campaign of action on behalf of advocates of home education who feel they have been attacked by a report into the subject.

    The report – called the Badman Report – after its author Graham Badman looks into suggestions that home educated children may be more vulnerable to abuse than children who are at school.

    Those of you who look at WhatDoTheyKnow will be aware of a lot of requests sent into local councils asking for sight of the raw material that was supplied to Mr Badman, which was the basis of his report.

    Now a letter from the DCSF to the Information Commissioner’s Office has come to light through a Freedom of Information requests which warns the ICO that the campaign by home education advocates could have a serious effect on the way the department can answer future questions.

    It says it has already received around 80 FoI requests on the topic and feels that in the light of threatening posts on the internet it may have to block information citing S.38 (health and safety).

    Here is the letter.

    Letter to the ICO

    What this does show once again is the power of the internet in enabling pressure groups to exert their power to maximum effect.

    Because in this case a relatively small, and one would have thought reasonably non-militant pressure group, are threatening to derail a Government department’s FoI responses.

    This YouTube video [link] is used as evidence by the DCSF why it may have to impose a S.38 exemption on information.


    2 responses to “Angry home schoolers cause problems for FoI officers”

    1. If the DCSF had some sense, they’d aggregate the costs of dealing with all similar requests received within 60 days from the people acting in concert as part of a campaign. If the aggregated costs amount to more than the appropriate limit, they can refuse to deal with all of them.

    2. Of course they COULD have provided all the raw data as an annex to the report in the first place OR published it later as requested instead of looking for lame excuses to hide it and then complaining because members of the public perfectly reasonably wouldn’t take no for an answer. This wasn’t meant to be NEW data remember, it was the raw data used as the basis for a government commissioned report. It should have been right there at hand and SO easy to provide.

    Leave a reply