A random and incomplete selection of documents obtained under FoI shed light on what might be the point of the SEND spying affair.
Many of the documents released reveal that Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley and her SEND managers were taking a lot of interest in FoI requests made by parents and in posts on social media between parents regarding legal action or judicial review.
For starters, council officers should not be interfering in the public’s use of FoI. This is laid out in FoI legislation as unlawful. Hurley and her spy team have therefore broken the law by obtaining evidence of FoI requests by parents and using them to discourage parents who were members of the Bristol Parent Carer Forum from making further requests.
On the question of legal action and judicial review, are People Director, Hugh “Cares” Evans and his Education Director Hurley running an informal demand management policy in SEND?
This is a money-saving policy used by public service managers to prevent take-up of services, often through obstruction. Council tactics may include slow and confusing processes, ignoring correspondence and communications, forcing people into long complaints processes and simply refusing people services they are entitled to.
The last thing Evans and Hurley need is parents taking legal action to obtain the services they are entitled to as this creates a double cost to the council. The cost of providing the service they’ve tried to avoid delivering and also the cost of any legal action.
Who agreed to pay our council bosses large sums to block people from asserting their legal rights to services?