I've just had the following email passed to me:
It was sent to our admin@... account and to me smells of phishing, or marketing at least... are we obliged to respond?From: Tom Eliott [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 14 June 2010 11:12
Subject: Freedom of Information Request
I am conducting a survey into what ICT schools are using. Under the Freedom of Information act, please, can you provide answers to the following questions? Many thanks! (If you’ve already published this information online somewhere please just put the URL if it will save you time.)
How many ICT users are there within your school?
Do you have dedicated (operational) ICT staff/department?(ie excluding any teaching departments)
How many of the following items does the school have?
c. laptop trolleys
4. Do you run a wireless network?
5. How much storage space do you use for your ICT data?
6. What email platform are you currently using?
7. What operating system do you use?
8. Do you use any open source software?
9. Are you planning to migrate to Windows7?
10. Do you use any bespoke curriculum applications?
11. How often do you refresh your ICT hardware?
12. What is your budget for ICT?
13. How many ICT partners do you have?
14. Do you have a written ICT strategy? Please provide a copy, if available.
and, has anyone else had the same request?
BatchFile (16th June 2010)
Short answer, after that long discussion - yes you are obliged to answer, but it is advisable to attach a 'no reproduction' copyright notice to your response.
And advise the person making the request that there will be an administrative charge for gathering the information.
Have these kind of data gathering ploys by companies hiding behind FOI been going on long does anyone know?
"An authority can take into account the costs attributable to the time that persons (both the authority’s staff and external contractors) are expected to spend on these activities. Such costs are calculated at £25 per hour per person for all authorities regardless of the actual cost or rate of pay,"You can only charge for genuine costs - photocopying etc... and not for your time.
This comes from advice issued by the ICO in June 2009 and is used in respect of charging and determining whther the cost would exceed £450 in which case the request maybe refused.
What about man hours. Your employer is paying you to do a job and not collect information for someone else. The money should be given to the employer.
Direct from the ICO site:
Also take into account that your LEA may already have a policy in place regarding the charges which you can charge, so it may be worth asking them. Also, your school should already have an appointed/trained person who deals with these queries...2.3.2 The Regulations set out what may be taken into account when public authorities are estimating whether the appropriate limit has been exceeded. The costs are limited to those that an authority reasonably expects to incur in:
determining whether it holds the information requested,
locating the information or documents containing the information,
retrieving such information or documents, and
extracting the information from the document containing it (including editing or redacting information [Endnote 4]).
From what I've learned recently Academies are exempted from FOI requests as they are classified as independent schools.
Independent (private) schools are exempt like businesses. It is only LA schools, government and local government departments that have to respond.
Given that the new academies are funded using public money, I think we have a right to know what they're doing with that money. That might be trivial stuff like how many whiteboards they have but it could be more serious stuff (what admissions policies do they have, for example)
The same guy requesting info at opposite ends of the country?
You are within your rights to ask for a contact Postal address before replying.
Last edited by alan-d; 16th June 2010 at 03:46 PM.
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