fretna.org [home]       Found Poetry       UTIMCO       Open Records       Daily Texan Clips       Fresh  

University College London

Incomplete, Original Response Refusal
-- Original Response (30 Oct 2014): UCL1.pdf
-- Internal Review (17 Feb 2015): UCL2.pdf

From: JJ Hermes
Sent: 20 October 2014 12:21
To: foi@ucl.ac.uk
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.

Sincerely,
JJ Hermes
On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 5:27 PM, Tomkinson, Jon (j.tomkinson@ucl.ac.uk) wrote (RE: FOI request):

Dear Mr Hermes,

Please see the attached in respect of your request.

Sincerely,
Legal Services

-- Attachment: UCL1.pdf
On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 11:08 AM, JJ Hermes wrote (Re: FOI request):

Dear Legal Services,

I write to respectfully dispute a withholding of information requested under a Freedom of Information Act of 2000 request dated 20 Oct 2014, requesting information about senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014. I do not believe this response has at all addressed my original request, which included three parts:

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.

I understand from your 30 Oct 2014 response that UCL reserves the right to withhold public disclosure of individual staff and their salaries, which was part (1) of this request. However, UCL has completely ignored parts (2) and (3) of this request, which do not require identification of individual staff members. Thus, I request UCL respond to this original request in full:

Please identify all senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014. Instead of identifying these staff by name or title, please categorize them as one of the following, as per part (2) of this request: (a) academic staff, (b) clinical staff, or (c) administrative staff. Then, please provide the annual emoluments for the past five (5) years for each of the senior staff making more than £150,000 in total emoluments identified in the first part of this request.

I appreciate your response in full to this request under the Freedom of Information Act of 2000. 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.

Sincerely,
JJ Hermes
On Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM, JJ Hermes wrote (Re: FOI request):

Dear Legal Services,

I write to inquire about the status of a 20 Oct 2014 FOI request for information about senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014. As a reminder, that request comprised three parts:

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.

UCL responded on 30 Oct 2014 with a refusal to release any information regarding this request, and I have challenged that response on 4 Nov 2014. More than 25 business days have elapsed since my request for an internal review, and I have not heard from UCL.

Please let me know if I can help clarify anything. Basically, I am looking for the following information:

Please identify all senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014. Please categorize them as one of the following, as per part (2) of this request: (a) academic staff, (b) clinical staff, or (c) senior management. Then, please provide the annual emoluments for the past five (5) years for each of the senior staff making more than £150,000 in total emoluments identified in the first part of this request. Please identify by name and title all members of the University's senior administrative team and management (e.g., Professional Services staff), as directed by the First-Tier Tribunal on 2 Oct 2014 in Case No. EA/2014/0054.

I have submitted this identical request to each of the 24 members of the Russell Group of universities, and a response from the University of Exeter (attached) exemplifies what I consider a complete fulfillment of my request. Note that it protects the personal data of all senior staff with the exception of the senior management team, and provides salary information in bands of £10,000 annually for the past five years. This information is not accessible from the University by any other means than a FOI request.

Moreover, this University has been instructed by a First-Tier Tribunal that it 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).

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.

Sincerely,
JJ Hermes
On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 3:31 PM, JJ Hermes wrote (Re: FOI request):

Dear Legal Services,

I write to inquire about the status of a 20 Oct 2014 FOI request for information about senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014.

UCL responded on 30 Oct 2014 with a refusal to release any information regarding this request, and I have challenged that response on 4 Nov 2014. I inquired about the status of this request on 11 Dec 2014, and have still not heard from you. More than 30 business days have elapsed since I asked for an internal review.

Please let me know when I can expect to hear from the University. If I do not hear from the University by the end of business this Fri Dec 19, I will submit a formal complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Sincerely,
JJ Hermes
On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM, JJ Hermes wrote (Re: FOI request):

To whom it may concern,

On 20 Oct 2014, I submitted to your institution a FOI request for information regarding senior staff members making more than £150,000 in total emoluments for the year ended 31 July 2014. In less than 10 days your University responded with a blanket refusal, with information that is entirely available by public means.

I have sent no less than three responses to UCL requesting a review of your handling of this FOI request -- on 4 Nov 2014, 11 Dec 2014, and 17 Dec 2014 -- and have been summarily ignored by your staff.

I am deeply resentful for your complete abdication of your responsibility to provide information to the public via the FOI act, and am especially disgusted by your unwillingness to even acknowledge or respond to repeated requests for a review of your original non-response. A simple "We have reviewed your request and continue to find our original refusal has been upheld" would have been mildly respectable.

I have made this identical request to all 24 members of the Russell Group, and not one has ignored my requests as flippantly as your institution. This will be especially noted when I begin publication of these responses.

Please let me know if I can expect any more correspondence from UCL regarding this request before you hear from the Information Commissioner's Office.

Sincerely,
JJ Hermes
On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM, Finance.FOI Requests (foirequests@ucl.ac.uk) wrote (Automatic reply: FOI request):

We are currently experiencing some temporary resourcing constraints within the Data Protection and Freedom of Information function, together with high levels of demand for support. As a result, on an interim basis we are having to prioritise activity that requires urgent action, as well as ensuring that UCL continues to comply with its statutory responsibilities in relation to the relevant legislation. As a result, we may not be able to deal with your query within the timeframe that we would typically expect to.‚Äč

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should expect a response from us within 20 working days.
On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM, Tomkinson, Jon (j.tomkinson@ucl.ac.uk) wrote (Automatic reply: FOI request):

This email account is no longer being monitored.

For Data Protection and FOI related matters please contact Alex Daybank

a.daybank@ucl.ac.uk
On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 2:06 PM, Finance.FOI Requests (foirequests@ucl.ac.uk) wrote (RE: FOI request):

Dear Mr. Hermes,

I was concerned to read about your recent issue related to you8r request for an internal review into your FOI request.

Earlier this month I joined UCL as the new Data Protection and FOI Officer. I have attempted to locate the emails you refer to requesting an internal review but have been unable to find them. UCL has recently experienced some difficulties with resources in this area and I can only apologise for the fact that your request has gone unanswered. I assure you that we will now conduct an internal review and respond to you within the next 20 days.

You are of course free to contact the Information Commissioner's Office as well.

Regards,
Alex

Alex Daybank
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Legal Services, Finance & Business Affairs
University College London
1-19 Torrington Place
London WC1E 7HB
On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 2:12 PM, JJ Hermes wrote (Re: FOI request):

Hi Alex,

Thank you for the prompt response. Many apologies for the tone in my previous e-mail -- I completely understand the lack of response in the context of not receiving my previous requests for review.

I look forward to hearing back from you with regards to an internal review, and I wish you well sorting out the backlog of requests!

Sincerely,
JJ Hermes
On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 3:40 PM, Finance.FOI Requests (foirequests@ucl.ac.uk) wrote (RE: FOI request):

Hi James,

No problem, I realise that it must have been frustrating to not hear back.

I will be in touch.

Alex
On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 5:50 PM, Gill Gregory (g.gregory@ucl.ac.uk) wrote (FOI Act 2000 - Request 014-257 - Internal Review):

Dear Mr Hermes

Please find attached a response to your request for an internal review into your Freedom of Information request.

Yours sincerely

Gill Gregory
Executive Assistant to Rex Knight
Vice-Provost (Operations)
University College London
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

-- Attachment: UCL2.pdf