An open letter to BPCollege Principal and Freedom of Information Officer, in the light of yesterday’s FoIA response

(Post made at 2352 UK time on 07 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member – and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the CWYM and College. Please see for important background and disclosure of interests).

This is a copy of an open (i.e. public) letter emailed to the Bournemouth and Poole College earlier today, after analysis of the response received yesterday to my Freedom of Information Act request of 20 April. See here for the full details of the correspondence under that request; the letter also reflects my concerns about the reliability of information supplied by the College, in particular the “WYO Key Facts” document recently sent to schools (see here).
From: Patrick Lee
Sent: 07 June 2017 18:26
To: ‘Freedom of Information’
Cc: ‘Diane Grannell’ 
Subject: Open Letter to the College Principal + Mr Roberts (RE: Freedom of Information Request Ref No. F0086)

An Open Letter to Bournemouth and Poole College’s Principal and Freedom of Information Officer

Dear Mr Roberts (cc Diane Grannell, Bournemouth and Poole College Principal)
Thank you for having now supplied the schedule that the College confirmed on 30 May did not exist.  I think that was the right decision and I commend you and your department for correcting the previous false information. I am also pleased to see that, for the first time in a Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal schedule, an instruction has been added that in the event of a clash a school event should take priority.
I note that, as also happened in the two previous terms, although the WYO Key Facts document (sent to schools) states “there will only ever be one red rehearsal per concert programme”, the Summer 2017 schedule included three red (compulsory) rehearsals (24 June and 2 rehearsals on 1 July).  (You have stated that 24 June has subsequently been changed from red, but that does not alter the fact that the WYO Director/College’s statement to schools in the WYO Key Facts document was false with regard to this term, and materially misleading with regard to the past.) 
Perhaps that is why I was originally told that there was no schedule for this term. 
This is just the latest of several instances of clear unethical actions by the WYO Director.   The College has only admitted to some of these with the greatest reluctance (after repeated delays beyond the 20 working days allowed under the Act, false claims that copyright was a bar to publication, a claim that a response to a request for factual information would be “inappropriate”, and the clearly false response of 30 May), thanks to my persistence and the Freedom of Information Act. As documented in my formal complaint, other highly questionable actions were known to the College, but were concealed from me (despite enquiry to Jacqui Kitcher and Susanna Riddell)  and I only found out about them because of parents who were brave enough to speak out despite their strong concerns about a climate of fear within the WYO/College.
To the College Principal:  you have seen clear evidence of false information provided both to me (that no schedule for Summer 2017 existed), to Mr Roberts (I’m assuming that this is why his reply to me of 30 May was incorrect), and to schools, via the Key Facts document which significantly misrepresented both the past (Autumn and Spring) and current (Summer) positions with regard to the demands placed on WYO children. What is your response please, both with regard to the provision of false information, and to the College’s history to date in covering this and other poor behaviour up?  How can I or any other member of the public have confidence a) that other significant problems are not being covered up, and b) that the College has the right senior management team in place? Is it not time for an independent organisation (e.g. Ofsted) to investigate?  
Yours sincerely
Patrick Lee

2 thoughts on “An open letter to BPCollege Principal and Freedom of Information Officer, in the light of yesterday’s FoIA response

  1. (Added at 1359 UK time on 8 Jun 2017). I received a holding reply from Bournemouth and Poole College Principal early this morning:

    From: Diane Grannell
    Sent: 08 June 2017 07:41
    To: Patrick Lee
    Subject: RE: Open Letter to the College Principal + Mr Roberts (RE: Freedom of Information Request Ref No. F0086)

    Dear Mr Lee, these matters will be included in the investigation into your complaint. I understand someone will be contacting you in connection with this by the end of this week.

    Yours sincerely,
    Diane Grannell
    Principal & Chief Executive
    Bournemouth & Poole College


  2. (Added at 1447 UK time on 9 Jun 2017). I replied to the College Principal as follows.

    From: Patrick Lee
    Sent: 09 June 2017 14:45
    To: 'Diane Grannell'
    Subject: RE: Open Letter to the College Principal + Mr Roberts (RE: Freedom of Information Request Ref No. F0086)

    Public and non confidential

    Dear Ms Grannell

    Thank you. I am in touch with the complaint investigator with regard to a suggested meeting next week. In the meantime it is only fair to inform you that my confidence in the College’s culture and ethical standards remains very low.

    Yours sincerely

    Patrick Lee


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