Dear University of Manchester,
I am writing to request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 any response that you made to Universities UK subsequent to their request for comments or views (made in their briefing paper "2017 USS Valuation: Briefing paper for USS Employers" issued on the 5 July 2018, which specified 7 areas for discussion) in relation to the USS valuation.
I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom for Information
I will today forward details of your request to the relevant department
within the University and will contact you again once I have received a
With best regards
Dr Lisa Crawley l Information Officer l Information Governance Office
l Directorate of Compliance and Risk l Professional Support Services |
Room G6 Christie Building l Compliance & Risk Management Office l The
University of Manchester l Oxford Road l Manchester l M13 9PL l
Tel +44 (0)161 275 8400
Thank you for your request for information received by The University of
Manchester on 03 August 2018 which was as follows:
I am writing to request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 any
response that you made to Universities UK subsequent to their request for
comments or views (made in their briefing paper "2017 USS Valuation:
Briefing paper for USS Employers" issued on the 5 July 2018, which
specified 7 areas for discussion) in relation to the USS valuation.
The University has now considered your request and unfortunately the
information you are seeking cannot be provided at this time. This is
because the information is deemed to be exempt from disclosure by virtue
of the listed exemption at Section 43 (2) – Commercial Interests. Section
43 (2) exempts information from release where its disclosure under the Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person, including those of the public authority holding the information.
Commercial interests may be prejudiced where a disclosure would be likely
o Damage its business reputation or the confidence that customers,
suppliers or investors may have in it
o Have a detrimental impact on its commercial revenue or threaten its
ability to obtain supplies or secure finance
o Weaken its position in a competitive environment by revealing market
sensitive information or information of potential usefulness to its
Case law indicates that the definition of commercial interests can be
wider than merely relating to the ability to participate competitively in
a commercial activity. In this case, the University has a clear commercial
interest in sharing its views relating to the potential resolution of a
trade dispute with the umbrella employer body in a frank manner, but
without those confidential views being shared more widely in a way that
may prejudice the University’s position. There is a clear causal
relationship - we are in a potential trade dispute with the trade unions
and publication of the University’s internal thinking on its “negotiating”
position would be likely to be prejudicial at this time, particularly as
this consultation is still relevant and forms part of ongoing
deliberations between the parties.
As this is a prejudice-based exemption we are required to conduct a public
interest test. Details of this can be found below.
Factors for disclosure
There is a strong public interest in public sector pension schemes.
Disclosure of this information would increase transparency regarding the
USS pension scheme which in turn could further public debate on this
Factors against disclosure
By disclosing the information, the University’s position in these
discussions could be impacted. There is a clear likelihood of prejudice
occurring to the University’s commercial interests if the preliminary
views of the University are disseminated prior to the deliberations being
The University has concluded that at this present moment in time, the
balance lies in favour of withholding the information for the factors
This letter serves to act as a refusal notice for this request, as per
Section 17 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The University of Manchester Freedom of Information Act appeals procedure
If you feel that The University of Manchester has refused access to
information to which you are entitled, or has not dealt with your request
appropriately under the FOIA, you have a right of appeal.
An appeal in the first instance should be directed to the Information
Governance Office, contact details below. You should include:
· details of your initial request
· any other relevant information
The University will deal with your appeal within a reasonable time, and
will inform you of the projected time scale on receipt of your complaint.
You are also welcome to contact the Information Governance Office with
informal questions about the handling of your request.
After The University’s internal appeals procedure has been exhausted, you
have a further right of appeal to the Information Commissioner’s
Office. Details of this procedure can be found at www.ico.org.uk.
Sharon Glen | Information Officer | Information Governance Office |
Directorate of Compliance and Risk |Professional Support Services | G6
Christie Building | The University of Manchester | Oxford Road |
Manchester | M13 9PL | Tel +44(0) 161 306 7549| www.manchester.ac.uk
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