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Date requested: September 2, 2009
In the annex to the Badman Report labelled "5. Known to socialcare" it states that "25 of the 90 LAs asked responded". Could the DCSF please tell me: A. Which were the 90 LAs that were asked to respond. B. Which were the 25 LAs that did respond.
Before replying I should like to apologise for the considerable delay you have experienced. I am also aware of your request, forwarded 10 September, for an internal review of this case because of the delay incurred. However, the Department normally considers requests for an internal review once the decision has been received and if you remain unhappy with this reply you have the right to request an internal review, details are at the end of this email.
I can assure you that the Department does take the matter of delays seriously. At an internal review panel held in May on a home education case, the panel acknowledged that a breach of the Act had taken place in that a response had not been made within 20 days. It considered what action had been taken at the time to deal with the particular request within the deadline, namely that action had been considered by the Deputy Director responsible for home education to designate resources from elsewhere in the Division. However, due to high volumes of work and unexpected long term illness, additional staffing was unavailable at the time. It was agreed that a weekly meeting, chaired by the Deputy Director would taken place to enable discussion of all current cases in order that new cases are dealt with in a timely manner and the backlog of old cases was addressed. This has improved the situation, though regrettably, even with additional staffing now being made available, it is still extremely difficult to respond to all the requests within the legal timeframe. As I am sure you will appreciate, the Department has a finite amount of resources, all of which is publicly funded, and therefore we have to ensure resources are allocated in a way that is even-handed across all areas of business.
I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
A copy of the list of 90 and 25 local authorities is enclosed.
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If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request.
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