S47 of the Childrens Act - 1188/21

Date Responded 13 September 2021

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

For the year 2019 how many investigations under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 were referred to you for further action which involved these terms in the referral:

Fabricated or Induced Illness or FII

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy or MSbP


How many of these investigations led to no further action being taken by the police?

In Response:

Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:

A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.

I can neither confirm nor deny that the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12(2) of the Freedom of Information Act would apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00.


You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request.


I have set out the reasons for this below.


The information requested is not already held statistically nor is it held in format that would allow its extraction from systems within the permitted 18 hour threshold. Our response to your previous submission, which was refused due to cost/time constraints, was based purely on crimes of neglect.  To provide an accurate response to this submission for 2019 would require in excess of 4500 crimes relating to various other offences, as well as neglect, where the victim was under 18 being manually reviewed to establish if any related to Fabricated or Induced Illness or FII

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy or MSbP.

This has been estimated as exceeding 225 hours and therefore Section 12 is applicable.


When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.


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