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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Cost of education governance review: FOI review

Published: 23 Aug 2017

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01337
Date received: 24 July 2017
Date responded: 17 August 2017

Information requested

  1. What has been the total cost of the governance review from its commencement to the publication of materials on the 15th of June? (NB This figure should include all costs - preferably with breakdowns - such as the production of the consultation, events which took place during the consultation, analysis of the responses and production of documents made available on 15th June 2017).

  2. What meetings took place to discuss the design of the consultation, the responses received, and the final decisions around future changes to educational governance and structures? Were these meetings minuted?

  3. What are the projected costs of implementing the proposed changes announced on the 15th of June 2017 (i.e. how much does the government estimate it will cost, in total, to establish the new system being proposed)?

  4. How much does the government expect Regional Improvement Collaboratives to cost annually? Can the government provide a breakdown of this estimate including staffing costs?

  5. Will the government make any additional funding, over and above that announced prior to the 15th of June 2017, available to facilitate the wide-ranging changes outlined?

  6. How will teachers be affected by plans to have councils remain their employers while Headteachers are made responsible for staffing? For example, will the changes proposed make it easier for HTs to remove staff? If a Headteacher decides that they want to get rid of a weak member of staff, would that individual still have a contract with the local authority?

  7. The documents make reference to Headteachers being able to "reward" good teachers. What form will this take? Will the government rule out financial rewards for teachers deemed to have performed well by Headteachers?

  8. The documents state that Headteachers will decide "curriculum content and offer." Does this mean that HTs will be able to decide which subjects are available in their school or how many subjects a student can study (for example, the number of subjects available to students in S4)? If so, is the government comfortable with the inevitable local, regional and national disparities that this will create?

  9. The Next Steps document suggests this will be transferred from Local Authorities to schools, which will be "working with partners to meet learners' additional support needs at school level." The only mention of ASN I can see for councils is that they will be responsible for placing students with ASN in an appropriate school. Does this mean that responsibility for ASN provision will be transferred to schools?

Response

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.

In your review request, you asked specifically about the lack of details of meetings, and material relating to the potential costs of implementing the proposals outlined in the Education Governance: Next Steps document.

Work to determine costs is ongoing, and no figures are yet available for the actual direct costs of implementing the reforms. At various points in the process certain costs will be identified, for example potentially in a financial memorandum to the forthcoming Education Bill. We would be happy to contact you when those costs are available.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

After an initial review of selected calendars of senior management and team members involved in the governance review, I was able to establish that there will be a record of the dates of meetings between March 2016 and the publication of the Next Steps document in June 2017.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because we have calculated that there are upwards of 300 meetings and we would need to cross refer against a number of different calendars over more than a year. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600, for example by specifying the months you are interested in. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on her website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx.

There were also numerous meetings with stakeholders during the consultation process, as well as 16 public engagement events which took place across the country. As those meetings and events were part of the consultation process, they were not considered to fall under the scope of the original request for information. However, I believe that it would be helpful to provide this additional information, and a list is attached.

The feedback given during the meetings and public engagement events was considered as part of the consultation analysis which was undertaken after the close of the consultation process and which was published here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/06/6880

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie name, address, date of birth, qualifications, CV, etc and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
23 Aug 2017
Cost of education governance review: FOI review