Information Governance Annual Report
· There is no consistent discernible trend for the number of information requests received per quarter. The closest commonality is that for three out of the past five years, quarter 4 has been the busiest period.
· The Council receives more FOI requests than EIR, but there has been a shift towards a greater number of EIR requests since Q2 2020-2021. The primary reason for this is a significant increase is the number of requests received by Land Charges for information concerning properties being purchased in the Borough.
· A target of 100% of responses sent on time is set to reflect the requirements by law, however it is highly ambitious and has only been achieved on two occasions: Q3 and Q4 2019-2020. The ICO accept that councils won’t always achieve this and concentrates its investigations and penalties on those organisations with ongoing backlogs. This target, less 10% tolerance, has not been met on one occasion, with 10.40% in Q4 2021-2022.
· There is a distinction between types of requests, with FOIs typically more likely to not meet the deadline than EIRs.
· The average number of requests not completed on time each quarter is 14, this equates to an average of 50 per year. In Q4 2021-2022, the total of number of requests not sent on time was 35, out of a total of 250.
· The average number of requests received each year is 912. This dropped to 885 in 2019-2020 but returned to normal levels in the subsequent years.
· The following departments received the largest volume of requests across all years: 1. Land Charges, 2. KCC, 3. Housing & Inclusion & Health, 4. Council Tax (Shared Service), 5, Business Rates (Shared Service).
· Whilst the five departments receiving the most requests remain consistent between 2017 and 2020, Development Management and Finance are within the top five in 2020-2021, replacing Business Rates.
· There was a shift again in 2021-2022, with Strategic Planning and Community Protection replacing KCC and Business Rates.
· The average number of complaints received per year is 656. The numbers of complaints received dropped in 2020-2021 and has not yet risen above the number recorded for 2019-2020.
· There is no consistent discernible trend for the number of complaints received per quarter. The closest commonality is that for three out of the past five years, quarter 2 has been the busiest period for complaints.
· The target of 100% of responses sent on time was in Q3 2017-2018. This target, less 10% tolerance, has not been met on one occasion, Q4 2021-2022 with 14.95%.
· The following departments received the largest volume of requests across all years: 1. Waste – Household, 2. Parking, 3. Development Management, 4. Council Tax (Shared Service) and 5. Street Scene Operations.
· Whilst the four departments with the most complaints have consistently remained the same, fifth place has differed for the past three years as follows: Street Scene was replaced by: Leisure in 2019-2020, Planning Enforcement in 2020-2021, and by HomeChoice in 2021-2022.
· Waste - Household received the most complaints per quarter than any other department. Q1 2022-2023 alone Waste have received 5 times as many complaints than the second largest department. This has been significantly more noticeable since 2019-2020. The majority of these concern general waste but this is based on our recollection of the data, opposed to the data collected. To allow us to assess this going forwards, the type of waste the complaints relate to is also being recorded.
Stage 2 Assessments
· The data for stage assessment has not been collected in the current form prior to mid-year 2019. Therefore, the historical data for trends is limited.
· The number of stage 2 assessments has increased over the past three years. However, if Household Waste is removed from these statistics, the number of stage 2 assessments over the past two years has remained the same (55 and 56 respectively).
· The target of 100% of assessments to be completed on time stands as 93.18% for 2020-2021 and 96% for 2021-2022.
· At the stage 2 assessment, in all quarters, over 50% of complaints are upheld or partially upheld. The three departments with most stage 2 assessments are Household Waste, Development Management and Parking, respectively. Requests to escalate complaints for Development Management are upheld/partially held in 50% of cases. Meanwhile, requests to escalate complaints for Household Waste were upheld/partially held in 82% of cases. Parking complaints were upheld in 42% of cases.
· The number of stage 2 complaints has increased over the past year, from 59 to 95. The average number of complaints per year since 2017 is 99.
· The target of 100% of assessments to be completed on time stands as 95% across all years. The target was achieved on the following occasions: Q2 and Q3 2017-2018, Q1 2019-2020, Q3 2020-2021, Q3 and Q4 2021-2022. This target, less 10% tolerance, has not been met on four occasions.
· The number of complaints upheld/partially upheld has increased in the past year, going from 59 to 95.
· The department with the highest number of upheld complaints is Household Waste. The number of complaints for Household Waste exceeds all others and when removed from the statistics the data shifts towards majority of stage 2 complaints not being upheld.
· A personal data breach is a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data.
· Breaches are reported to the Information Management Group quarterly.
· The number of data breaches has largely decreased year on year since 2018. Quarter 3 is the most common period for breaches occurring, with November being the busiest month. However, there are no discernible causes that attribute the number of breaches to a particular time of year.
· The most common cause for breaches is a loss of confidentiality. This is typically caused by post or e-mails being sent to the wrong person.
· Breaches are assessed on a risk matrix, based on severity against likelihood of harm. The majority of Council breaches are low risk.
· For the past year, the breaches have followed the current trend of low risk, falling under Some Impact, Remote Harm. On three occasions employees reported incidents that were not considered to be data breaches after the investigation has been completed.
· There are 7 types of rights requests including: subject access requests and erasure requests.
· The number of requests for these have steadily been increasing since the implementation of GDPR in May 2018.
· July typically sees an increase in requests compared to other months but no underlying cause for this has been identified.
Information Sharing Requests
· The format for data collection on information sharing requests was changed in 2020 so the current data only goes back two years.
· Over the past two years there has been an increase from 234 to 317 in the number of requests received. The majority of requests are received from the police, followed by requests from insurance companies, predominantly for CCTV.
· The total number of information sharing request received since May 2020 is 652 requests. In total the Council has received 366 requests from Kent Police and 13 from other law enforcement agencies. Of the 366 requests from Kent Police, 356 have been for CCTV footage. This equates to 55% of all information sharing request received and 97% of the requests from Kent Police. Of the 13 from other law enforcement agencies, 4 have been for CCTV footage. This equates to 2% of all information sharing request received and 31% of the requests from other law enforcement agencies.