General Chat Thread, School ICT - Freedom of Information Request in General; ...
17th April 2013, 03:34 PM #1
School ICT - Freedom of Information Request
Our head teacher has just had an email from this company asking if we could provide them with the following information about our school
1) How much your school spent on ICT in 2011/12
2) How much your school spent on ICT 2012/13 (or budget for this year, if not available)
3) What your school’s budget for ICT is for 2013/14
4) How much of your school spent on each of the following in 2011/12 (or latest year available)
We were wondering if anyone has herd of them before, we have looked at there website and it is very basic: How Kable Market Intelligence helps customers do public sector business
What do you guys think??
17th April 2013, 03:57 PM #2
We've had one of those this week, as an email direct to the headteacher inbox. Our office manager says that the ICO rules mean she will have to reply. But I have suggested she sees if she can flag up the request with the ICO as this sort of info takes ages to compile and it seems to be from some sort of marketing organisation.
17th April 2013, 04:10 PM #3
- Rep Power
One of my schools had this yesterday,
the head has replied that as it will take at least 3 hours to compile there would be a charge of £100, she's not heard back from them yet.
17th April 2013, 04:16 PM #4
It's worth noting that if you're an academy, you're already publishing your accounts and providing a copy to anyone who requests them.
So we (for example) would simply say "Go look over there".
In short, unless you have a good reason to apply an exemption, provide what they ask. If (for example) Kable emailed multiple requests asking for information that could be easily gleaned from your publicly available accounts (and you told them this in responding to the first request), then request 1+N might be considered "repeated and/or vexatious."
If, on the other hand, your cost centres or entries are insufficiently descriptive, they may have a point.
17th April 2013, 04:19 PM #5
If you are a state school or academy, you are bound to respond to genuine ICO requests. You only have to answer the question asked, or point the questioner to where the answer can be found on the internet. You do not need to go into detail that is not asked for. You do not have to give away commercially sensitive information, or information covered by the DPA (such as specific staff salaries)
Independent schools DO NOT have to respond as they are not bound by the FoI act.
Receiving a Request - Guide to Freedom of Information - ICO
17th April 2013, 04:23 PM #6
The Ins and Outs of FoI were hotly debated here: School ICT - Freedom of Information Request
Ministry of Justice - Summary of FoI exemptions (i.e. when you don't have to respond): Exemption guidance for freedom of information (FOI)
Last edited by elsiegee40; 17th April 2013 at 04:27 PM.
Thanks to elsiegee40 from:
18th April 2013, 02:26 PM #7
Thanks for posting the link. That thread was a very interesting read!
Originally Posted by elsiegee40
18th April 2013, 02:52 PM #8
If you still have their support, you might need to send it on to your LA FoI team before processing it or even replying. Check with them.
18th April 2013, 08:20 PM #9
So, what stops every IT company using FoI to ask them for details of all their hardware, software, infrastructure spend and all that? I'll admit I am not up on FoI, but it sounds like a stepping stone to spam every school in the country for your detailed market research. And as it is FoI you have to reply, you'll end up hiring someone just to do this for the mountains of emails you'll receive...
18th April 2013, 08:35 PM #10
I think supplying certain details of hardware could potentially be refused on the grounds of confidentiality for reasons of security or competitiveness (but you would have to be prepared to be challenged). I also vaguely recall that there are limits on the use of the information, so a company couldn't do market research using FOI and then sell the aggregated results. That is a vague recollection though - no doubt someone will correct me.
Originally Posted by GREED
18th April 2013, 08:48 PM #11
Could you refuse on the basis you don't believe they will refrain from selling the marketing data on?
18th April 2013, 08:56 PM #12
I received on free from kable today too, I'll be replying with an Admin charge quote and a request as to whether they would like us to proceed with the request.
18th April 2013, 10:56 PM #13
It is not our job to decide whether to respond. Schools should have a procedure to deal with FoI requests. You may be asked to answer the questions, but the decision on admin charges and whether or not to reply is not yours to make unless you are the person in charge of your school.
Basically state schools have to answer no matter how much they suspect the motives of the person asking.
19th April 2013, 01:48 AM #14
Right so this is my point. If I wanted to find out the intricate details of what MIS every state school is using (don't worry, I have far too much to do to bother with that!!! Besides, I know the anwser already!), then I can send this to the school under FOI and they have to respond. My point being, with 1000s of hardware vendors out there, what is to stop every one of them spamming every school for this information so they build their internal market research so they know how to pressure schools when their budgets come in, or their renewals come around... If they all did it, a school would crash under their legal obligation to reply to each and every one...
19th April 2013, 08:49 AM #15
I don't see anything to stop that. I think it would quickly get to the stage where the information was simply published, so the query would be directed to a website or similar or switched on schools would share the cost among requesters making a nominal charge to pop a pre-printed list into an envelope (which might even become profitable!).
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