Publication - FOI/EIR release

Sexual harassment and sexist bullying in 'Respect For All' anti-bullying approach: FOI review

Published: 21 Dec 2018

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

Published:
21 Dec 2018
Sexual harassment and sexist bullying in 'Respect For All' anti-bullying approach: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/18/02833
Date received: 6 September 2018
Date responded: 9 October 2018
 
Information requested
1. Please provide any data outlining why 1/ harassment, specifically sexual harassment and 2/ examples of sexist bullying were not explicitly included within the Scottish Governments 'Respect For All' anti-bullying approach.  
 
2. Please provide any data of any meetings or communications around the decision to omit harassment from the document. 
 
3. Please provide any data outlining why the definition of 'Sexism and Gender' within Appendix 2 Prejudice Based Bullying is not a gendered analysis of the inequalities experienced by girls.  
 
4. Please provide details of who the members of the working group were that were responsible for drafting the refreshed version of the Respect For All document.
 
5. Please provide any data in relation to this working group, including actions, minutes of meetings and any other documents made available to or produced by them.
 
6. Please provide details of who the members of the working group were that were responsible for compiling the supplementary recording and monitoring guidance for Respect For All.
 
7. Please provide any data in relation to this working group, including actions, minutes of meetings and any other documents made available to or produced by them.
 
8. Please provide details of the questions and categories that are included within the new SEEMIS bullying recording and monitoring system.
 
Response
You requested a review of the responses provided to several of the questions in your original request. Having finished my review, I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modifications.
 
Upon reviewing the response to your request, I have found that the original request for information was considered too narrowly for some of the questions you asked and further searches should have been conducted. However, whilst our aim is to provide information wherever possible, I have concluded that in this instance some of the information you have requested is not held by us and this should also have been made clear in the original response.
 
Additional information that has been identified as part of the additional searches has been included in the attached Annex A. I have also provided a response to the specific points you raised within your review request below. 
 
1. Original request 
 
  • Please provide any data outlining why 1/ harassment, specifically sexual harassment and 2/ examples of sexist bullying were not explicitly included within the Scottish Governments 'Respect For All' anti-bullying approach.
 
Review request 
 
  • Could you please review your response to this point and also not limit the data to just that of the minutes of the Working Group, my request was to the Scottish Government.  To assist your search for data could you please consider the communications and decisions between the Equalities and Human Rights Committee’s Inquiry into School Bullying and Harassment, and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP.
 
Having reviewed the original response to your request, I have concluded that the original response tried to address the question asked and the references to Working Group provided some contextual information on the approach the Scottish Government took in developing ‘Respect for All’. However, the responsedid not clarify any specific data on the why harassment and sexist bullying were not explicitly included in the document.
 
During my review, I have not seen evidence of any specific discussions, communication or decisions on why harassment, specifically sexual harassment and examples of sexist bullying were not explicitly included in the ‘Respect for All’ anti-bullying approach. Therefore I have concluded that the original response should have explicitly noted that this information was not held. 
 
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
 
In relation to your further point, information on the communications between the Equalities and Human Rights Committee’s Inquiry into School Bullying and Harassment, and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP is published on the Scottish Parliament website. This information can be found at:

This published information includes details of correspondence as well as the Scottish Government’s response to the Committee’s recommendations, which can be found at 
 
http://www.parliament.scot/S5_Equal_Opps/Inquiries/SG_Response_to_EHRiC_Report_-_Its_not_cool_to_be_cruel_20170901.pdf

You will note that recommendations 6, 14 and 15 make reference to harassment and detail the Scottish Government’s response to these recommendations. 
 
2. Original request 
  • Please provide any data of any meetings or communications around the decision to omit harassment from the document. 

Review request 
  • As per my previous point that the data you provided in Annex A contains no mention of harassment,  could you then please confirm then that the Working Group did not have any discussions at all regarding the harassment of school children whilst reviewing ‘Respect For All’.  Can you please provide copies of communications or other data from any other source within the Scottish Government on this point (and not just the Working Group you reference here)?
 
The original response noted that ‘there were no specific discussions, communications or a decision to omit harassment’ in relation to the Working Group. During my review, I have not seen evidence that the Working Group discussed harassment, or that there is data of any meetings or communications around the decision to omit harassment from the document, either from the Working Group or the Scottish Government. Therefore I have concluded that the original response should have explicitly noted that this information was not held.  
 
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
 
I would note that the Terms of Reference document provided to the Working Group at the start of the group, and now included in File 1 of Annex A, details the scope and focus of the work when initiated.
 
3. Original request 
  • Please provide any data outlining why the definition of 'Sexism and Gender' within Appendix 2 Prejudice Based Bullying is not a gendered analysis of the inequalities experienced by girls.  
 
Review request 
  • Could you please review your response to this point and also not limit the data to just that of the minutes of the Working Group, my request was to the Scottish Government.
 
Upon review, the original response to this question does not appropriately address the question being asked, which is regarding a definition of ‘Sexism and Gender’ used in Appendix 2 of the document. The definitions included in the published document were agreed by the Working Group. During my review, I have not seen evidence, from the Working Group or the Scottish Government, of why the definition of ‘Sexism and Gender’ is not a gendered analysis of the inequalities experienced by girls. Therefore I have concluded that the original response should have explicitly noted that this information was not held. 
 
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
 
4. Original request 
  • Please provide details of who the members of the working group were that were responsible for drafting the refreshed version of the Respect For All document.
 
Review request 
 
  • Please provide the names of the members and the unredacted copies of those minutes, if not then please explain the reason why some names have been redacted but not others.   
The names redacted in the minutes related to the members of the working group responsible for updating the refreshed version of the Respect for All document. Consent to share names of group members had not been sought and, as this constitutes personal data, an exemption applied under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) and so these names were redacted in the response provided to you. Upon review, I have concluded that this exemption was correctly applied.
 
The names for the Recording and monitoring group were not redacted as consent to publish names had been sought when the group formed. Information from this group has been proactively published and is available on the Scottish Government website at 

5. Original request 
  • Please provide any data in relation to this working group, including actions, minutes of meetings and any other documents made available to or produced by them.
 
Review request 
  • Could you please review your response to my request by providing all data in relation to this group and not just minutes, this would include documents made available to or produced by them, for example email communications, letters, remit of group, actions etc.  
 
  • The minutes in Annex A do not continue beyond  December 2015 yet the Respect For All document was not published until November 2017, can you please review whether other meetings were held in between these times and if minutes exist for them. If not, can you please confirm whether or not a new Working Group was established during this time.
 
Upon reviewing the response to this question, I found that the response in providing only the minutes of Working Group meetings to be too narrow and a wider scope should have been used when searching for documentation in relation to this question. Additional information in relation to the working group has been identified and is included within Annex A. This covers all meetings of the Working Group that took place and includes further papers, terms of reference for the group, as well as correspondence to the group members. I have tried to provide these in as helpful a format as possible.
 
In relation to your further point, the Working Group met only once more after December 2015, on the 23rd October 2017. This final meeting was held prior to publication but was not minuted. The meeting consisted of a discussion of the near final document. Information relating to this meeting has been included within File 8 of Annex A. I can confirm a new working group was not established in the time between December 2015 and October 2017. 
 
Page four of the Equality Impact Assessment notes the detail the reasons for delay in the publication of the document. The Equality Impact Assessment can be found at:  
https://www.gov.scot/publications/equality-impact-assessment-record-national-approach-anti-bullying-scotlands-children-young-people/
Included in File 9 of Annex A are emails to the Working Group members during this time noting the reasons for delays in the publication of the refreshed Respect for All document.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you paper copies.
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