I have had a final response from the Information Commissioner on my attempts to find out what brought about the decision to procede with the fish oil trial initiative.
I am informed that:-
“The Council has again confirmed that it does not hold any information which is relevent to your request. It has stated that no documents were prepared for senior officials or members and that the initiative came about as a result of verbal discussions at the Council. Forms and leaflets were then sent out to schools to enable them to decide whether they wished to take up the opportunity to introduce the supplements.
“I understand your concern that the Council has made a recommendation to schools to introduce the fish oil supplement without having a written record of this; however there is no evidence that the Council holds but is refusing to supply the information you have requested. For this reason I am unable to investigate this matter further and your case file remains closed.”
In one sense I could call this a marginal victory as I started out with the aim of finding out how the decision to go ahead with the “initiative” was made. The answer is clearly on an ad hoc unattributable basis. You can read the previous instalments here, here, here and here.
Clearly, however, there is a lot which is never going to be revealed because these decisions were arrived at verbally. I take some consolation from the fact that the adverse publicity Durham attracted will have put other Education Authorities off trying anything similar. That and the fact that the pills almost certainly did not have the desired effect. Almost eleven months on from the 2007 GCSE results being published, Durham is still holding the results of the initiative close to its chest.