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here we go..FOI issue

(14 Posts)
hoxtonbabe Tue 10-Sep-13 19:23:52

Im hoping IE will pop along, but know shes bogged down at the mo.

I have asked the FOI officer to find out info re SLT. The question was what training did the service give to xxx school. I didnt want specific names but just the course and dates, now bear in mind DS school claim that all the TAs are SLT trained, and was done so by the local service, you'd have thought they would know when they trained the TAs.

The response was: *" xxx provide training to enable schools to support children with speech, language and communication needs. Schools in the tri-borough area may send staff to attend the sessions that we run,
What we don’t have is attendance lists of school staff who have attended, and as such that question would need to be directed to the school in question"*

Yeah right...so your telling me, folk can just turn up with no clue whatsoever about who there they are at least from...I know LAs can be rubbish, but they are not so rubbish to now know whom will be attending their courses and if they are professionals or some random parent or weirdo just wanting to turn up for a bit of warmth out of the cold and a cuppa, so how exactly does one account for this course for auditing purposes if you have no names or any information of any sort for using taxpayers money to run such a course.

claw2 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:58:13

No real advice really. However had a similar difficulty, school saying SALT attended termly planning meetings and provided programmes etc. No record of this in FOI to PCT or on school file.

When asked directly for copies of the programmes and dates of the visits, I was ignored.

I took this as proof they didn't exist.

uggerthebugger Tue 10-Sep-13 21:32:22

Did you put the FOI request to the NHS, or to your LA? If it's the latter, and if the school in question is maintained, then it's a fob-off. They simply can't be arsed to retrieve information that is held by another part of the LA, and aren't fulfilling their obligation to see that your request is met by this other part of the bureaucracy.

I'm in a similar position, having been told by an LA that it has no idea whether staff are being cut at one of the specialist units it funds (ground truth - it knows full fucking well that they are, and it's happening at their behest according to local professional sources). They've told me to ask the (LA maintained and funded) school for data on unit funding and staffing.

I've asked for an internal review, on the grounds that the school concerned is an LA funded organisation, and that because the unit only takes statemented pupils, the LA has a legal obligation to ensure that the unit pupil's SEN are being met - and they can't fulfil this obligation unless they know staff numbers.

What timescale are you working to? There are 2 options here:

1 - Play them at their arsehole game. Put an FoI request directly to the school(s). It is unlikely that the school doesn't have this information - and if it doesn't, then it's evidence one way or another of the school's failure, either procedural or CPD. This will take 4 weeks.

2 - Face them down by requesting an internal review. This will take 40 days, be carried out by another part of the LA (the fecking Marketing department at my council), and most likely end with the original LA response upheld. If you're in a hurry, or have no appetite to escalate further to the ICO, this route probably isn't a goer.

Best of luck! wine

notSENsible Tue 10-Sep-13 21:41:34

It's all a game isn't it? I take it you have the school records already? If not I would request the details from them. The problem is,how do you know whether it's true or not if you just have their word for it?
I have asked for details of staff training but was simply told that 'all relevant staff had training on x disability'. What does training 'on' x mean exactly? angry
How's the trib stuff going btw Hoxton ?wink

hoxtonbabe Tue 10-Sep-13 21:42:37

ooh Ugger, I didn't know about the internal review. I asked the NHS as they are the ones providing the "course"

I have not immediate timescales, but this is the first time i have been fobbed off in such a blatant way, I think because they have wised up to me and my requests now as it never ends well for them, lol

TOWIELA Tue 10-Sep-13 21:57:46

Hoxton - If they're of use to you, I can email you the FOI I sent to named school and LA - along with their answers? Although primary school, it might have some questions which you could tailor for your use.

hoxtonbabe Wed 11-Sep-13 11:37:13

That will be great Towie.Do you have my email or should I pm it over to you?

Hows is all going at DS new school :-)

moondog Wed 11-Sep-13 12:58:53

Believe me, everything is recorded.
If it is generic training but aimed at a particular child, that info will be on their file. Just ask to see the file. If it happened and was relevant to the child, it should be there. If it happened but they omitted to note it against the child, they have shot themselves in the foot.

2boysnamedR Wed 11-Sep-13 13:07:26

Unless a foi act will cost too much or breaches national security / privacy / data protection acts then it has to be responded too. Send the exact same request back aimed at the specific school as it fully grant able. To not do so is breaking the law. If you get no reply the answer is there was no training. Ask always what grounds you are being refused on

TOWIELA Wed 11-Sep-13 17:24:13

PM your email. Our FOI revealed an awful lot of very specific information which we used a great deal in the tribunal. Our main point being that the LA school could not meet need - the FOI proved this. Although both the LA and the school tried to give evidence that totally contradicted the FOI.

DS loves his new school. I am slowly getting little boy back - he is so happy there.

hoxtonbabe Thu 12-Sep-13 19:50:08

good to hear Towie! Snet PM now :-)

Moondog: EXACTLY I know it is, and I went back to the FOI officer telling him it is highly suspect that this team have no idea as to who turned up on their course, etc.. so I have asked a question in another way, I also made a point of telling him that if the department didn't even have the answer to that then as an LA you have a serious problem.

NotSENsible: Sorry, i wasn't ignoring, I didn't see your reply?!? Tribunal (which one we talking about as I have 2) are coming along ok so far, they are both in the early stages so the nasty tactics have not quite started yet but it will, lol.

The judge that looked at the DDA papers, appeared to be very clued up and even encouraged me to bring another part of the claim under a separate heading, he also chucked out a lot of what the school were using as a defence, he allowed for me to order certain documents from the school, and allowed me more time, The best part was when he said that regardless of what the LA are supposed to provide, he wants to know exactly what provision my DS has not had (which is absolutely zippo, nada, squat, nowt, on every single statement since 2009!!!) its just a shame he will not be the one looking at it throughout as I feel he would have given them a serious telling off.

Although my sis had the same judge looking at the papers throughout, she just wasn't at the actual hearing

moondog Thu 12-Sep-13 19:51:29

Get your kid's file requested.
Each discipline has one for each child.

hoxtonbabe Thu 12-Sep-13 19:57:13

Moon: Ive done that (do it all the time..LOL)

The school have said 3 staff members are SLT trained, they have been saying this from day one, but they are not saying whom exactly is trained and if it is the ones working with my DS, now considering the TA for DS and his class changes every year, I will be expecting dates, name of courses, etc...to account for every year, although this years statement is a definite no, and there is no way out of it at all as the SLT linked with my DS was supposed to train the TA as per the statement, the problem is the LA did not commission the SLT = no training to the TA

moondog Thu 12-Sep-13 21:21:31

That's why I suggest the file.
If training not in it against his name, according to their rules, it didn't happen.

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