Dear University of Manchester,

I am writing to respectfully make a request in accordance with my rights as set out in the Freedom of Information Act 200 and/or Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Please can you supply a disclosure of the following information:

1. Does the university subscribe to WestLaw and/or LexisNexis

If so,

2. How much does each access subscription cost for a period of either one, three or five years (recognising that not all universities pay in the same way or on the same terms).

3. How many users can access such a subscription (i.e. is this capped).

4. What packages does the University have access to under such subscriptions (Both WestLaw and LexisNexis offer different subscription packages, thus only allowing access to certain resources dependent upon the subscription purchased).

5. Please provide a disclosure of the most recent invoice and/or purchase order confirming how much was paid for one or both subscriptions.

If I am able to provide any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

Ryan Jarvis

MTRS FOIA, University of Manchester

1 Atodiad

Dear Ryan,

 

I am writing to acknowledge your request under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 received by The University of Manchester, our reference as per
the subject line.

 

The University will respond to your request within 20 working days.

 

With best regards

 

Lisa

 

Dr Lisa Crawley l  Information Officer  l Information Governance Office
l Directorate of Compliance and Risk l  Professional Support Services |
Room G7 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  

[1]www.manchester.ac.uk

[2]cid:image001.jpg@01D320C7.272763F0

We are all responsible for protecting person identifying data held by the
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References

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MTRS FOIA, University of Manchester

1 Atodiad

Dear Ryan,

 

Thank you for your request for information received by The University of
Manchester on 03 February 2020 which was as follows:

 

1. Does the university subscribe to WestLaw and/or LexisNexis

 

If so,

 

2. How much does each access subscription cost for a period of either one,
three or five years (recognising that not all universities pay in the same
way or on the same terms).

 

3. How many users can access such a subscription (i.e. is this capped).

 

4. What packages does the University have access to under such
subscriptions (Both WestLaw and LexisNexis offer different subscription
packages, thus only allowing access to certain resources dependent upon
the subscription purchased).

 

5. Please provide a disclosure of the most recent invoice and/or purchase
order confirming how much was paid for one or both subscriptions.

 

Please accept my apologies for the delay. The University has now
considered your request and our response can be found below.

 

1.      Yes – both.

 

The remainder of the information you are seeking cannot be provided as it
is deemed to be exempt from disclosure by virtue of the listed exemption
at Section 43 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 –
Commercial Interests. Please see the refusal notice below for more
information.

 

Refusal Notice in accordance with Section 17 (1)

 

Under Section 1 (1) of the FOIA, The University of Manchester confirms
that information is held in relation to your request however we are
refusing to provide it for the reasons set out below.

 

To engage the exemption at Section 43 (2), we must be satisfied that
disclosure of the information under this Act would, or would be likely to,
prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public
authority holding it). Commercial interests may be prejudiced where a
disclosure would be likely to:

 

•             Damage its business reputation or the confidence that
customers, suppliers or investors may have in it

•             Have a detrimental impact on its commercial revenue or
threaten its ability to obtain supplies or secure finance

•             Weaken its position in a competitive environment by
revealing market sensitive information or information of potential
usefulness to its competitors

 

It is with regard to the commercial interests of Westlaw and LexisNexis
that we are applying this exemption. In doing so, we have taken account of
the Information Commissioner’s Office guidance on the correct application
of the exemption
([1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...)
and have liaised with both Westlaw and LexisNexis to obtain their views on
disclosure. Following this liaison, I can advise that it is on the basis
of the latter two points above that we are applying this exemption. For
context, I can advise that any disclosure under the Freedom of Information
Act should be considered as a disclosure “to the world”.

 

Both companies have explained to us that they believe disclosure of the
requested information would reveal to their competitors confidential and
sensitive price information which would undermine the competitiveness of
the market for such information services. The disclosure of this
information may result in price adjustments which would be likely to be
prejudicial to their commercial interests. Westlaw and LexisNexis are
highly competitive products and so the disclosure of this information will
be of commercial benefit to a competitor and of detriment to the party
whose information is disclosed. The Westlaw service is priced to
Universities on the basis of a rate card but there are many variables
affecting price such as particular content purchased, number of users or
benefitting group and length of contract.  Thomson Reuters (the owners of
the Westlaw product) is concerned that publication of information by
different Universities will not be directly comparable and that this will
lead to misleading information being placed in the public domain which is
likely to prejudice its relationships with its University customers.
Thomson Reuters considers that there is a real and significant risk of
such prejudice occurring because Thomson Reuters and RELX Group (the
owners of LexisNexis) already aggressively compete to sell their competing
products in a number of market sectors and to different types of
customer.  Both businesses take extensive precautions to keep their price
information secret from the other and this disclosure would put price
information into the public domain. Further LexisNexis have added that
their concern with this information being disclosed is that it would
impact on their ability to conduct business competitively. Disclosure of
their commercial pricing information and the factors involved in this,
e.g. number of users, would detriment their ability to carry out their
business competitively. If the pricing information of their products
became known to their competitors, their competitors would be able to use
this information to “out-price” them, where the same information on their
competitors is not available to them.

 

Section 43 (2) is a prejudice-based exemption and therefore we are
required to conduct a public interest test in its application. See below.

 

Public Interest Test

 

Factors in favour of disclosure

Disclosure of the information requested would allow the public to ensure
that the University of Manchester spends its monies appropriately. It
would also serve to increase the transparency of the University.

 

Factors against disclosure

Disclosure of the requested information is likely to prejudice the
commercial interests of Westlaw and LexisNexis. If the actions of the
University in disclosing this information led to this, there is a
realistic prospect that both would have grounds to pursue legal action
against us.

 

Balancing Test

For the reasons outlined above, the University believes that the balance
lies in favour of refusing the information at this time.

 

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 at [2][email address]. You should include: 

·         details of your initial request

·         any other relevant information

 

You must make this appeal within 40 working days from receipt of your
response. We will not accept appeals received after this date, as per the
Freedom of Information Code of Practice, Section 5.3.

 

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 [3]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Kind regards

 

Sharon

 

Sharon Glen | Information Officer | Information Governance Office |
Directorate of Compliance and Risk |Professional Services | G7 Christie
Building | The University of Manchester | Oxford Road | Manchester | M13
9PL | Tel +44(0) 161 306 7549| [4]www.manchester.ac.uk

[5]data_matters_logo2-(3)

We are all responsible for protecting personal data held by the
University, including who we share that data with. Stop and think before
you send your email.  For further guidance see:
[6]www.dataprotection.manchester.ac.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ico.org.uk/
4. http://www.manchester.ac.uk/
6. http://www.dataprotection.manchester.ac....