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Wise men, angels and shepherds

December 8th, 2010 by Rachel Kamm

The Information Commissioner has produced a Good Practice Note on the taking of photographs in schools. The ICO press notice gives a seasonal example: “Having a child perform at a school play or a festive concert is a very proud moment for parents and is understandably a memory that many want to capture on camera. It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools. A common sense approach is needed – clearly, photographs simply taken for a family album are exempt from data protection laws. Armed with our guidance, parents should feel free to snap away this Christmas and stand ready to challenge any schools or councils that say ‘Bah, Humbug’ to a bit of festive fun.” The guidance states that the Data Protection Act 1998 is unlikely to apply in most situations where photographs are taken by parents in schools, although it does apply when photographs of children are taken for official use by a school or college (such as for issuing identification passes). The ICO advises that in the other small number of instances where the Data Protection Act 1998 does apply, it will usually be sufficient for the photographer to obtain permission from the parent or individual to take a photograph. The guidance is available here: http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/practical_application/taking_photos.pdf.

 This post is also available on 11KBW’s information law blog: http://www.panopticonblog.com/.

The Freedom of Information (Time for Compliance with Request) Regulations 2010

November 24th, 2010 by Rachel Kamm

These Regulations are made under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 and extend the time limit for Academies to respond to requests for information. The normal time limit for responding is twenty working days of date of receipt of the request. However, where the information is requested from an Academy, then any working day which is not a school day for that Academy is disregarded (subject to a long stop of sixty working days). These are the same timeframes as apply to schools covered by The Freedom of Information (Time for Compliance with Request) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 2004/3364) and The Freedom of Information (Time for Compliance with Request) Regulations 2009 (S.I. 2009/1369).

This post is also on 11KBW’s information law blog: http://www.panopticonblog.com/.

Admissions and policing the honesty of applications

August 3rd, 2010 by Peter Oldham QC

The Admissions Code deals with applications for admission where the applicant has not told the truth. It is one of the very few situations in which a place may, in certain circumstances, be withdrawn.

Our sister 11KBW blog on information law, http://www.panopticonblog.com/, has an entry for 2nd August written by our colleague Robin Hopkins, dealing with the decision of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal that Poole DC had misued surveillance powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 when it sought to police admission applications.

As Robin reports, the Council  suspected that an applicant may have lied about living in the catchment area of a sought-after primary school in Dorset. For about 3 weeks, therefore,  it covertly monitored the family.

The IPT found that:

(1) investigating a potentially fraudulent school application was not a proper purpose in the sense required by RIPA;
(2) the Council’s actions were in any event disproportionate, in that they were not necessary to achieve that aim; and
(3) the Council’s actions had breached the family’s rights under Article 8 of the ECHR.

Peter Oldham QC