Revenue and Customs: Local Government

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th February 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the criteria is for HMRC to make available to local authority children missing education officers contact details of the families concerned.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Nothing is more important than keeping children safe and in suitable education. Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish, as far as possible, the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise.

When the whereabouts of a child is unclear or unknown, local authorities should consider the individual facts of each case, and use their judgment to decide what would constitute reasonable enquiries in order to try to locate the child.

The Department does not provide a prescriptive list of actions that should be completed when trying to locate a child. In some cases, it may be appropriate for local authorities to make enquiries via other agencies, including HMRC. There is no specific criteria they are required to meet in order to be provided this information. Any sharing of information must comply with the law relating to data protection, which should be in line with local arrangements for recording and sharing information. Further information can be found in our statutory guidance on Children Missing Education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-missing-education.

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