City of Edinburgh/Lothian Pension Fund investments

Edward Jones made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to City of Edinburgh Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear City of Edinburgh Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what the Lothian Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different categories, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the Pension Fund holds.

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protext cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (i), which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format in which it is embodied." (ii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest. The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following:

* When these confidentially agreements were agreed
* All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
* The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the Information Commissioner's guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: 'Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.'(ii)

Finally, within the law of confidence these is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees, and understand that under the act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Jones

(i) Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...
(ii) Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request https://panopticonblog.com/2014/08/01/se...
(ii) 'Freedom of Information Awareness Guidance 5: Commercial Interests' Office of the Information Commissioner, Page 10, https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

City of Edinburgh Council

Mr Edward Jones

Date: 22/05/2017

Our ref: 15125

Dear Mr Jones

Acknowledgement of Request

Subject: Lothian Pension Fund investments

Thank you for your request for information of 19/05/2017 which was received on 19/05/2017. In your request you asked for the following;

1) The full details of what the Lothian Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different categories, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the Pension Fund holds.

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protext cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (i), which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format in which it is embodied." (ii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest. The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following:

* When these confidentially agreements were agreed
* All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
* The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I can confirm that your request will be processed under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, Environmental Information Regulations (Scotland) 2004, or the INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

You will receive the information requested within 20 working days unless the Council does not hold the information, or there is a reason for it to be withheld. We will write to you in any event.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case we will let you know.

If you have any requirements regarding the format any information should be supplied in, e.g. the language to be used, audio, large print and so on, then please let me know.

If you have any queries or concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

To promote transparency and accountability, please note it is the Council’s policy to publish all request details and responses made under the freedom of information legislation. This information will be made available through the Council’s website and will not include your personal details. The disclosure log is available at the following link: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/homepage/175....

Further information about your rights and accessing information is available on our website at: www.edinburgh.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance Unit
Level 2:1, Waverley Court, Edinburgh EH8 8BG Tel 0131 200 2340
[Edinburgh City Council request email] www.edinburgh.gov.uk

City of Edinburgh Council

Mr Edward Jones

[FOI #407443 email]

Date: 31/05/2017

Our ref: 15125

Dear Mr Jones

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - Partial Release of Information

Subject: Lothian Pension Fund investments

Thank you for your request for information of 19/05/2017, which has been processed under the terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Unfortunately, the Council is only able to meet part of your request; this information is released to you now in the format requested.

Q1. The full details of what the Lothian Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

A1. The information requested is available on our website at www.lpf.org.uk/investmentlist. The data has been updated to 31 March 2017.

Under the terms of the Act, a request for information can be refused where one or more of the exemptions listed in the Act apply. In this instance, the Council is claiming an exemption under section 25 of the Act because the information is ‘otherwise accessible’.

Q2. A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

A2. See answer 1

Q3. Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the Pension Fund holds.

A3. Lothian Pension Fund, Lothian Buses Pension Fund and Scottish Homes Pension Fund have a total value at 31 March 2017 of £7,221,935,421.53

I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protect cells (.xls).

As this is a public document, the information is provided on our website in pdf format.

If you do have difficulty in accessing the information or if you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

To promote transparency and accountability, please note it is the Council’s policy to publish all request details and responses made under the freedom of information legislation. This information will be made available through the Council’s website and will not include your personal details. The disclosure log is available at the following link: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/homepage/175....

Your right to seek a review

I appreciate that our decision may disappoint you and I am sorry that we have not been able to release all the information you requested on this occasion. If you are unhappy with the way we have dealt with your request, you can ask us to review our actions and decisions by writing to:

Head of Strategy & Insight
The City of Edinburgh Council
Waverley Court Business Centre 2:1
4, East Market Street
Edinburgh
EH8 8BG or,
Email: [email address]

Please note that your request must be in a recordable format (email, letter, audio tape etc.), and that you have 40 working days upon receipt of this letter to ask for a review. You will receive a full response to your review request within 20 working days of its receipt. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the review, you can ask the Scottish Information Commissioner to review our decision. You must submit your complaint to the Commissioner within 6 months of receiving our review response. The Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS
Telephone: 01334 464610
Fax: 01334 464611
Website: www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal
Email: [email address]

Yours sincerely

Sue Brown
Information Rights Officer

Information Governance Unit
Level 2:1, Waverley Court, Edinburgh EH8 8BG Tel 0131 200 2340
[Edinburgh City Council request email] www.edinburgh.gov.uk