Fully loaded cost of an undergraduate engineering degree

Dr Jim Partridge made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to University of Leeds

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

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan University of Leeds.

Dear University of Leeds,

Please provide the fully loaded cost (to the university) of an undergraduate degree in engineering at the University, broken down into (a) its major constituent costs, and (b) each year of the degree

Yours faithfully,

Dr Jim Partridge

Tracey Crombie,

Dear Dr Partridge

I can confirm receipt of the request below, as your request falls under Freedom of Information, you should expect to hear from the University in response by 13 February 2017, if, in the meantime, you have any queries about the request, please don’t hesitate to Contact Jenny Foggin ([email address]).

Kind regards.

Tracey Crombie
PA to the Legal Adviser
University of Leeds
LS2 9JT
Tel:  0113 343 4078 (NB 8am-4pm)
Fax:  0113 343 3925

This communication is intended solely for the addressee, is strictly confidential and may also be legally privileged.  If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any attachments.  Instead, please contact Tracey Crombie on the above telephone number.

Any liability (in negligence or otherwise) arising from any third party acting, or refraining from acting, on any information contained in this email is excluded.

It is the responsibility of the receiver of this email to ensure that any onward transmission or use of this email (including attachments) will not adversely affect their systems or data contained on their systems.  Receivers are advised to carry out virus checks.  The University of Leeds accepts no responsibility with regard to the communication or other use of this email.

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Jenny Foggin,

1 Atodiad

Dear Dr Partridge,

 

I have discussed the FoI request below with my financial colleagues and
they have advised that it would be very time consuming to provide this
data in this way: in particular, splitting the data by year would require
in excess of the 18 hours set out in the FoI Act as a 'reasonable time
limit' for the location and retrieval of information.

 

Where the 'reasonable limit' would be exceeded, I would normally ask if a
smaller span of data would still be of use; however, there are other
concerns about the data requested - even if it were to be requested across
a single year. This kind of cost breakdown would be of direct use to
competitor institutions. I have to consider that the information would be
released into the public domain where it could become available to them.
It would allow them to replicate and potentially undermine our delivery
model, to the detriment not just of our student recruitment strategy but
also, potentially, to the detriment of our ability to attract high-calibre
staff and to attract support for the research connected to our teaching
programmes. I am persuaded, therefore, that the exemption provided in
Section 43 of the FoI Act applies, that is, the information requested
could cause commercial detriment to the University. I have considered
whether the public interest in this information overrides the University's
commercial interest in the matter. However, the broader public interest in
the financial probity of the University can be satisfied with reference to
our published accounts and annual report, which include the opinion of the
auditors, and our financial and governance policies, which are also
published on the website. There is also a broad public interest in the
University being able to continue to function satisfactorily, not least
for its current students and staff.

 

Also, you have requested a greater detail level than the University
provides currently for sector-wide benchmarking. We do need to be
extremely careful about the level of detail that we share with other
institutions, and I do need to consider the risk that if we shared too
much cost information in the public domain, thus making it available to
other institutions, we could be in the position of violating competition
law, however inadvertently. I am concerned, therefore, that even if the
information could be retrieved within the 18 hour limit, the exemption set
out in Section 44 (information prohibited from release by other
legislation) would be engaged.

 

I am sorry that on this occasion we cannot provide a response.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to or email directly Mr D Wardle, The University
Complaints Officer, The University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT
([email address]). You should do so within three months of
receiving the University’s response to your request. Further information
about how the University manages Freedom of Information requests and about
our complaints procedure is also available on our website
(www.leeds.ac.uk).

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the review/complaints procedure provided by the University.  The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:  Information Commissioner’s
Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Best wishes,

 

Jenny

 

Jenny Foggin

Senior Governance and Freedom of Information Officer

Legal Adviser’s Office

The University of Leeds

0113 3431155

 

 

This communication is intended solely for the addressee.  If you are not
the addressee please do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in
reliance on it or any attachments.  Instead, please contact Tracey Crombie
on the above telephone number.

Any liability (in negligence or otherwise) arising from any third party
acting, or refraining from acting, on any information contained in this
email is excluded.

It is the responsibility of the receiver of this email to ensure that any
onward transmission or use of this email (including attachments) will not
adversely affect their systems or data contained on their systems. 
Receivers are advised to carry out virus checks.  The University of Leeds
accepts no responsibility with regard to the communication or other use of
this email.

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear University of Leeds,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of University of Leeds's handling of my FOI request 'Fully loaded cost of an undergraduate engineering degree'.

For a publicly funded body to refuse to disclose information about how they spend that money to taxpayers on competitive grounds is not acceptable. No other institutions have used this argument so it appears to be a bogus argument. If your costs are high or low how would this help competitors? They have their own cost bases and cannot simply match your costs. More likely you are worried about being accused of being wasteful or of profiteering.

Please provide what information you can so that we can assess the cost of delivering an engineering degree.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Dr Jim Partridge

Jenny Foggin,

Dear Dr Partridge,

Your request has been forwarded to David Wardle, as set out in the earlier email. If you have any queries about the review, please contact Mr Wardle ([email address]).

Best wishes,

Jenny Foggin

*********************************************************************
Jenny Foggin
Senior Governance and Freedom of Information Officer
Secretariat
University of Leeds

(0113) 343 1155
*********************************************************************

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David Wardle,

Dear Dr Partridge,

 

I refer to your e-mail of 8 February, in which you requested a review of
the handling of your FOI request about the 'Fully loaded cost of an
undergraduate engineering degree'.

 

I note that the primary reason for not providing the information that you
requested was that the University believed it would have taken more than
18 hours to carry out the following tasks:

 

Ø  to determine whether the University holds the information that you have
requested;

Ø  to find the requested information, or records containing the
information;

Ø  to retrieve the information or records; and

Ø  to extract the requested information from our records.

 

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act - The Freedom of Information
and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 explains
that a public authority is not required to comply with a request for
information if the authority reasonably expects that the cost of
fulfilling the request would exceed the appropriate limit, which it
quantifies as 18 hours of work.

 

Having reviewed your case, I am satisfied that the work required could
have easily exceeded the appropriate limit, especially since the financial
information for a typical programme is not held in a format that we can
easily disaggregate from the overall finances for our Faculty of
Engineering, nor from the costs of the University’s central overheads. In
my view, the University has therefore relied appropriately on application
of Section 12.

 

It was perhaps premature to introduce the Section 43 argument about
commercial detriment before giving you the opportunity to narrow the focus
of your request so that it could be answered within the appropriate limit.
I therefore invite you to submit a modified request.  If the request can
be met within the 18 hour timeframe, we will then reassess whether the
Section 43 exemption still applies.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of this internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the procedure provided by the University.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at:  Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

David Wardle

 

 

****************************

David Wardle

Deputy Secretary

Secretariat

EC Stoner Building

University of Leeds

Leeds LS2 9JT

 

 

 

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