Information Services Directorate The Library University of East Anglia Norwich Research Park Norwich NR4 7TJ United Kingdom Email: [email protected] Tel: +44 (0) 1603 593 523 Fax: +44 (0) 1603 591 010
20 November 2014
Dear Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information request (Our ref: FOI_14-219) We have now considered your request of 21 October 2014 for information relating to the expenses of the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellors of this institution. Our response is provided on page 4 of this letter, together with a copy of your original request, and within the six (6) attached documents outlined on page 4 of this letter. We apologise for the number of attachments but due to the size of material requested, it was necessary to split the material in this way in order to allow digital transmission via email. We hope this response will meet your requirements. However, some of the requested information is exempt from disclosure. Therefore, in accordance with section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) this letter acts as a partial Refusal Notice. The exemptions are as stated below and we have indicated in the attached documents where these exemptions apply: Exemption
s.31(1)(a), Law enforcement
Some of the requested information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime
s.40(2), Personal information
Disclosure of some of the requested information would contravene one of the data protection principles
It is our belief that section 31(1) applies to the credit card number which appears on the requested credit card bills. The University has several cards which are given to senior staff to allow for ad hoc purchase of goods and services necessary to their role within the University Release of any information under the Act represents a disclosure to the world at large. As such we believe to disclose this specific information would expose the University to a significant risk of fraudulent use of the University’s credit cards, consequently prejudicing the prevention of criminal activity. Having determined that disclosure of this information would expose the University to a real and significant risk of crime, application of the s.31 exemption also requires us to consider the public interest in withholding or disclosing this information.
We acknowledge there is a public interest in increasing transparency in how the University manages its finances, and this may include general information about the expenditures of senior staff within the organisation. However there is a very strong public interest in preventing criminal activity that could damage the running of the University and the security of the financial assets held by the University. On balance we believe this interest outweighs any lawful public interest in sight of the credit card numbers. Additionally, we believe that provision of the level of detail regarding the expenditures as reflected on each credit card statement is sufficient to meet any public interest in knowing how the University spends such funds. In regards the application of section 40(2), we believe that there are data within the documents requested that meet the definition of ‘personal information’ as defined by section 1(1) of the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (hereafter ‘DPA’). Specifically, we believe that the employee number of the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellors, and the name of junior staff within the University qualify as personal information as defined by the DPA. When a request is made under FOIA for information that includes personal data we are required to consider whether disclosing those data would breach the data protection principles contained within the DPA. In considering a disclosure under FOIA, the University must also take into account that any information released under the Act will be placed in the public domain, through our own disclosure log or by other means. We believe that disclosure of some of the requested information would breach the first data protection principle under the DPA; namely that information must be fairly and lawfully processed, and that the processing also meets one of the conditions set out in Schedule 2 of that Act (and in the case of sensitive personal data, a condition in Schedule 3). We have followed the Information Commissioner’s guidance 1 in assessing whether it is fair to disclose this information under FOIA. This involves considering the nature of the information, the expectations of and potential harm (of disclosure) to the data subjects, and how any legitimate public interest in this information is balanced against the rights and freedoms of the data subjects. We note that none of the requested information is publicly available. The data subjects would not have had a reasonable expectation that this information would be made public, either now or at the time the document was created. We do not think there is a legitimate interest in disclosing this information to the public. We have therefore concluded that disclosure of this information would not be fair. The Information Commissioner’s guidance notes that if a public authority has determined disclosure would not be fair then it must not release the information under FOIA. In such circumstances there is no need to consider the conditions in Schedule 2 or 3 of DPA and we have not done so. You have the right of appeal against this decision. If you wish to appeal, please set out in writing your reasons for appealing and send to the above address. You must appeal our decision within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter. Any appeal received after that date will not be considered nor acknowledged. This policy has been reviewed and approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
organisations/guidance index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom of Information/ Detailed specialist guides/personal-information-section-40-and-regulation-13-foia-and-eir-guidance.pdf
You also have a subsequent right of appeal to the Information Commissioner whose contact details 2 can be found on their website. Please quote our reference given at the head of this letter in all correspondence. Yours sincerely David Palmer Information Policy and Compliance Manager University of East Anglia
Response to Freedom of Information request (FOI_14-219) I would like the following information for years: 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 Please provide: :: Copies of all expense claims submitted by the vice-chancellor and any pro-vice chancellors of the university The requested information is presented within the attached documents entitled Appendix A_VC Expense claims.pdf, Appendix B_PVC ACAD Expense claims.pdf, and Appendix C_PVC REE Expense claims pdf. [Information exempted pursuant to s.40(2), Freedom of Information Act] The employee number of the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellors, and the names of some junior UEA staff have been exempted from release for the reasons noted above in this letter. :: Copies of all university credit card bills submitted by the vice chancellor and any pro-vice chancellors of the university. The requested information is presented within the attached documents entitled Appendix D_VC Credit card bills.pdf, Appendix E_PVC ACAD Credit card bills.pdf, and Appendix F_PVC REE credit card bills Credit card bills.pdf. [Information exempted pursuant to s.31(1) & s.40(2), Freedom of Information Act] The exact number of each credit card used, and the names of some junior staff have been exempted from release for the reasons noted above in this letter. :: Details of any non-monetary remuneration received by the vice-chancellor and any pro-vice chancellors of the university, including property and vehicle privileges. The University owns and operates university pool cars and one driver, available for use by the Vice-Chancellor, other members of the Executive Team, 3 and for VIP visitors. The University does not hold the exact cost of the use of University pool cars and a driver that can be attributed to use by any particular post. The only other non-monetary remuneration received accruing to the Vice-Chancellor is £8000 per annum in 2011/12 and 2012/13 for the tax liability of personal improvements to the Vice-Chancellor’s residence, Wood Hall. Any purchases made by the University for Wood Hall are added to the inventory and must be left in the house for the use of future residents. As well as being the Vice-Chancellor’s residence, Wood Hall is also widely used for hosting meetings, functions and important visitors. This saves the university expense in hiring rooms for events and in hotel fees. It is very much a working part of the University and an extension of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.