Council wins injunction against duo to prevent disclosure of school information

The London Borough of Croydon has secured an injunction to prevent a former headteacher and an educational advocate from disclosing information about a school that it considers confidential.

Mr Justice Lavender said in London Borough of Croydon v Dodsworth & Ors [2017] EWHC 2257 (QB) that former headteacher Mia Dodsworth and Devika Lambert, who runs the Changing Lives Now consultancy, must not publish the information as it included photographs of children, and was given to Croydon “in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence”.

The case arose when Ms Dodsworth, who had recently resigned as headteacher of Croydon’s Red Gates School, accessed her work email account while on leave and sent firstly to her private address and then to Ms Lambert confidential information about children and staff at the school.

This followed both women raising concerns about safeguarding issues, the details of which the judge said were not relevant to the hearing.

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Croydon said advice and additional support were provided to the school, and external safeguarding audits were conducted which did not make negative findings.

Ms Lambert though spoke to local newspaper, the Croydon Guardian, about the matter and when asked by Croydon did not provide an undertaking not to disclose confidential information.

Croydon secured an injunction without notice against disclosure and Lavender J then agreed at a private hearing, for which he has now published his reasons, to continue this.

He rejected an argument advanced by Croydon Guardian that the information should be disclosed as a matter of public interest under section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Mark Smulian

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