A leaked email from the Bristol City Council education managers at the heart of the SEND spying scandal reveals them plotting over what information they would provide to Bristol Parent Carer Forum.
The email clearly indicates that Education Director Alison Hurley was personally overseeing what sensitive personal data from parents should be unlawfully released to third parties
At the time, Vikki Jervis was Principle Education Psychologist at Bristol City Council. What parents were saying on social media had to do with education psychology is something of a mystery. Although she appears to be the council’s expert on RIPA and GDPR and releasing personal information obtained through surveillance to third parties.
Virginia Roberts is a consultant brought in as SEND lead for Bristol’s Written Statement of Action for OFSTED. It’s her job to oversee an improvement in SEND in Bristol after its terrible OFSTED inspection. How does monitoring and sharing parents’ social media posts relate to improving Bristol’s SEND service? Has Roberts shifted her focus to silencing parents rather than improving her service?
Maybe SEND management are more concerned with monitoring parents’ social media and supplying gossip to third parties than doing the jobs they are handsomely paid to do?
A new message just in regarding Bristol City Council spying on SEND parents’ social media:
“I know of one case where the comms team reported a Bristol parents tweets to the SEND team. Screen shots were taken and then a SEND manager sent the tweets to the parents school. I’ve seen the evidence.
“This family’s vulnerable and already facing accusations of fabricated or induced illness (ffi), so they dare not do anything.”
Yet again, sensitive personal data of parents, unlawfully processed by Bristol City Council External Communications Team, is casually handed over to a third party to further process unlawfully. In this case a school is involved.
We will be endeavouring to find out which school this was. Then we can arrange a visit from the Information Commissioner (ICO) for the school to explain why they think that holding parents’ sensitive personal data, obtained and shared via unlawful surveillance without permission, is OK.
What a mendacious shambles our city’s education sector is.
A statement on the SEND spy scandal has emerged from the Green group at Bristol City Council. They’re the first party to go on the record. We anticipate seeing more statements on the matter in the coming week:
“The recent reports in the local media about leaked information showing that parents/carers of children and young people with SEND have had their on-line social media communications monitored by senior council officers and then shared with an external agency, have raised serious concerns for councillors across the council.
“The administration have confirmed that this happened but claimed it was at the request of the parent carers forum, a claim that organisation denied in a statement released on Thursday.
“This area of work falls within the People Scrutiny remit, the vice-chair of which is Green Party Councillor for Southville Christine Townsend. She is working with other elected representatives in trying to get to the bottom of exactly what has happened as the media reports are confusing and contradictory.
“Greens, and councillors from other parties, believe that these accusations are so serious that an external investigation is required in order to ensure full transparency. Only this will help to restore the trust of our residents in this area of the statutory education service.”
We broadly agree that an independent inquiry would be helpful. However, chances of the Reverend launching such an inquiry into his own administration are near zero. We also believe that any inquiry needs to be run by an independent QC, not by some ex-local authority time-server in a pin-stripe suit on a fat consultancy fee. We need someone who knows how to nail the guilty, not cover-up for bent council bosses.