University of Sheffield|
-- First Response (17 Nov 2014): Sheffield1.pdf and Sheffield1a.pdf
From: JJ Hermes|
Sent: 20 October 2014 12:21
Subject: FOI request
To whom it may concern,
I respectfully request the following information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act:
1. The names and titles of all senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014. These individuals are considered "higher-paid staff" by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE).
2. Please identify the number of individuals identified in the first request who are (a) tenured faculty, (b) clinical staff, or (c) serve in a non-classroom capacity, such as administrative staff.
3. The total emoluments for the past five (5) years for each of the senior staff identified in the first request.
There is wide precedent across publicly funded entities in the UK of regularly disclosing this type of information. The Accounts and Audit (Amendment no 2) Regulations of 2009 require local authorities to publish the actual salaries, allowances, bonuses, compensation and employer's pension contributions paid to each employee who earned over £50,000, and in addition to publish the names of those staff who earned over £150,000 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/3322/made). It is not necessary to disclose the exact salary of the employees earning more than £150,000, but rather to quote that amount in bands of £10,000, as directed by the HEFCE.
The request holds significant public interest, given that the university is a publicly funded institution of higher education that derives a significant portion of funding from public taxation. In addition, openness is, in itself, something in the public interest in promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public money. As suggested by the Information Commissioner's Office, "It is reasonable to expect that a
public authority would disclose more information relating to senior employees than more junior ones. Senior employees should expect their posts to carry a greater level of accountability." Employees earning more than £150,000 annually can be considered senior employees, since this compensation is more than twice the highest grade on the human resources salary scale.
I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this request. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any follow-up questions. I would prefer all correspondence be sent digitally through this e-mail address, including the response to this request. Thank you for your time in addressing this query.
On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 4:55 PM, Ben Dobson (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote (Response to FOI request):|
Dear Mr Hermes
Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request of 20 October 2014.
HR Adviser -- Reward & Recognition
The University of Sheffield
Tel: 0114 222 1487 (Internal: 21487)
-- Attachment: Sheffield1.pdf and Sheffield1a.pdf
On Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM, JJ Hermes wrote (Re: Freedom of Information Request: FOI/14/234):|
Thank you for your positive response to my FOI request of 20 Oct 2014.
I would like to challenge two redactions in your 17 Nov 2014 response, where you have responded with "CEO of [redacted]" and "Director of [redacted]." I do not believe these titles should be withheld, and request an internal review if necessary.
A First-Tier Tribunal has ruled in a very similar case that universities must disclose the names/titles and salaries of all members of the PSS (Professional Services staff; ie, the senior management team) making more than £100,000 in total emoluments. The Information Commissioner's Office found in case FS50513117 dated 17 Feb 2014 that King's College London must release the names/titles and salaries of *all* staff making more than £100,000 in total emoluments (http://ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/decisionnotices/2014/fs_50513117.pdf). However, the First-Tier Tribunal ruled on 2 Oct 2014 in Case No. EA/2014/0054, an appeal from King's College, that only the names and salaries of members of the PSS (Professional Services staff; ie, the senior management team) making more than £100,000 in total emoluments are subject to disclosure (http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DBFiles/Decision/i1390/Kings%20College%20London%20EA.2014.0054%20(30.09.14).pdf).
The directors and CEOs of campus entities are no doubt Professional Services staff and fall under the rubric of the First-Tier tribunal's requirement that their salaries are subject to disclosure.
I appreciate your response in full to this request under the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, and I look forward to hearing back from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any follow-up questions. I would prefer all correspondence be sent digitally through this e-mail address, including the response to this request. Thank you for your time in addressing this query.
On Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 10:05 AM, Matthew B Zawadzki (email@example.com) wrote (Internal review of FOI request):|
Dear Mr. Hermes,
You have asked for a review of the decision to redact two pieces of information from a response to a Freedom of Information request.
You have referenced the KCL Information Tribunal decision notice:-
From the KCL decision notice the Tribunal concluded the following:-
"96. ...if there was a case for saying that those PSS earning more than £100,000 should expect their salaries to be disclosed, that should apply only to those PSS who are on the PCT, as distinct from those who are not. We agree that if there is to be a dividing line (and we think there is), then that must be the line."
"102. ...in our view, the fairness of disclosure is largely dependent on the position occupied by the PSS concerned, and we are not satisfied that disclosure would be fair in respect of those who are not on the PCT."
"146. The Commissioner has accepted that the exemption in section 43(2) is engaged in relation to the College's academic staff. The College is not required, therefore, to disclose the requested information in relation to those employees."
"147. We find that the exemption in section 40(2) is engaged in relation to the PSS who are not on the PCT (although not for the two PSS referred to in paragraph 62). The College is not required, therefore, to disclose the requested information in relation to those employees"
"148. We find that the exemption in section 43(2) is not engaged in relation to the
remaining PSS. The College is required, therefore, to disclose the requested
information in relation to those employees."
In your email to Mr. Dobson on 11/12/2014 you stated:-
"The directors and CEOs of campus entities are no doubt Professional Services staff and fall under the rubric of the First-Tier tribunal's requirement that their salaries are subject to disclosure."
This statement makes an assumption that these are professional services staff (PSS). This cannot be inferred from the information supplied or withheld. Even if it were the case that they were PSS, one would also have to take into account two other conclusions from the Tribunal decision, namely whether they had any role on the University Executive Board (UEB) and whether they were academic staff.
On reviewing this case I have contacted the Department of Human Resources to discuss the decision making process for redacting the information. The Department of Human Resources noted the KCL decision during their deliberations, and based their decision to redact upon it. The decision making process therefore consisted of a consideration of four issues:-
whether members of staff were on UEB
whether members of staff were academics
whether members of staff were PSS
whether identification via role would enable identification of specific individuals.
The decision making process for supplying and / or redacting the information requested was based upon the conclusions set out by the Information Tribunal notice and was as follows:-
1) Were those to whom the requested information applied members of UEB? (regardless of whether they were academic members of staff or PSS) - If the answer to this was yes then a follow-up question was considered:-
2) Were they academic or PSS members of staff? If they were academic then non-identifiable information was released, i.e. Pro-Vice Chancellor. If they were PSS then the information was released identifying the specific role - Chief Financial Officer and Registrar and Secretary.
3) For members of staff who were not on UEB a similar decision making process was considered. Were they an academic member of staff, or PSS, and also would information released be of a nature that might allow identification given the small cohort? If the answer was academic staff then non-identifiable information was released, i.e. 'Clinical Professor'.
I can confirm that the remaining two roles therefore fell into the category of members of staff who did not have a role in UEB but given their specific roles could be identified if any further information were released. To release any further specific information would therefore have run contrary to the conclusions of the KCL decision notice noted above.
Based upon this decision making process, and assessing the redacted information in the context of the KCL Information Tribunal decision, I conclude that it was appropriate to redact the information in the response received.
If you still remain unsatisfied with the University's decision, you are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.