Norfolk Pension Fund Investments

Edward Jones made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Norfolk County Council

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Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Norfolk County Council.

Dear Norfolk County Council,

I would like to request the following information:

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

2) The investments broken down into different categories/types of holding, 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.

3) The industrial sector of each investment e.g. Aerospace & Defense, Oil & Gas Producers, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Media, Banks, Mining, Government, Automobiles, Financial Services, Housing and any other sectors that the Pension Fund holds investments in. Examples of Pension Funds which have previously included this data in their publicly released investments include Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. (i)

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

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

6) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protected 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 (ii), 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." (iii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format. 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 confidentiality 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.' (iv)

Finally, within the law of confidence there 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) Buckinghamshire https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2... Derbyshire https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

(ii) Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...

(iii) Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request https://panopticonblog.com/2014/08/01/se...

(iv) 'Freedom of Information Awareness Guidance 5: Commercial Interests' Office of the Information Commissioner, Page 10, https://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/pr...

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

5 Atodiad

Good Afternoon,

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request ENQ-412378-N6Y6Q4

 

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 received on 24 June 2020.
 
We have up to 20 working days in which to deal with your request; however,
the current circumstances relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) may impact on
our ability to meet deadlines and so we may take longer to provide you
with a response.

 

If we require clarification regarding your request, we will contact you to
explain this. The 20 working day period will then start from the day that
we receive your clarification.
 
You will also be informed in advance if there is a charge for supplying
copies of the information.

 

Please also be aware that, if the requested information contains
references to any third parties, we may need to consult these individuals
about the release of their personal data before making a decision whether
or not to release the information to you.

 

We will also provide an explanation if any information is not released to
you.

 

Should you have any queries regarding your request, please contact the
team by email [1][email address] or by telephone
01603 222661.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sarah Cooper, Business Support Assistant

Information Compliance Team

Dept: 01603 222661

Bay 7-9, Ground Floor, County Hall, Norwich

[2]Norfolk County Council   [3]Twitter[4]Facebook[5]Web

[6]Campaign Logo

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

5 Atodiad

Dear Mr Jones

 

Freedom of Information Request ENQ-412378-N6Y6Q4

 

I refer to your request for information dated 24 June 2020.

 

You asked for:

 

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

 

2) The investments broken down into different categories/types of holding,
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.

 

3) The industrial sector of each investment e.g. Aerospace & Defense, Oil
& Gas Producers, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Media, Banks, Mining,
Government, Automobiles, Financial Services, Housing and any other sectors
that the Pension Fund holds investments in. Examples of Pension Funds
which have previously included this data in their publicly released
investments include Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. (i)

 

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

 

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

 

6) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet
without protected 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 (ii), 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." (iii)

 

 

Our response

 

Points 1 to 5 

         

Your request has been considered and is refused. In accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act), this letter acts as a Refusal
Notice.

 

Exemption

 

Section 21(1) of the Act provides an exemption for release of information
that is reasonably accessible to you even if it is accessible only on
payment of a fee.

 

Information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible if it is
information which the County Council or any other person is obliged by or
under any statute to communicate to members of the public on request
whether free of charge or on payment.

 

Reason

 

The information requested is published annually on the Norfolk Pension
Fund website.

These are the weblinks to the information.

 

[1]http://www.norfolkpensionfund.org/media/...

 

[2]http://www.norfolkpensionfund.org/media/...

 

The annually published information available is a full list of all
holdings and our Annual Report & Accounts.

 

We do not retain or publish sectoral classification for underlying equity
holdings.

 

Point 6  

 

Requirements under section 11 ‘means of communication’ do not apply where
a refusal notice is issued.

 

If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request you have the
right of appeal through the Council’s internal review procedure by setting
out the grounds of your appeal in writing to:

 

[3][Norfolk County Council request email]

or Information Compliance Team

County Hall

Martineau Lane

Norwich

NR1 2DH

 

An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and should be identified as "FOI Appeal".

 

If you are dissatisfied after pursuing the complaints procedure, you may
apply to the Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a
decision whether your request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO
Website at: [4]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a
concern.  Or you can write to them at:

 

First Contact Team

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane, Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

Bev Whittaker, Senior Information Compliance Officer 

Information Compliance Team, Insight and Analytics, Strategy and
Governance Directorate 

Tel Dept: 01603 222661

Bays 7,8 & 9, Ground Floor, South Wing, County Hall, Martineau Lane,
Norwich 

[5]Norfolk County Council   [6]Twitter[7]Facebook[8]Web

 

[9]Campaign Logo

 

From: Freedom of Information
Sent: 24 June 2020 16:59
To: Edward Jones <[FOI #672532 email]>
Subject: ENQ-412378-N6Y6Q4 Freedom of Information request - Norfolk
Pension Fund Investments

 

Good Afternoon,

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request ENQ-412378-N6Y6Q4

 

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 received on 24 June 2020.
 
We have up to 20 working days in which to deal with your request; however,
the current circumstances relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) may impact on
our ability to meet deadlines and so we may take longer to provide you
with a response.

 

If we require clarification regarding your request, we will contact you to
explain this. The 20 working day period will then start from the day that
we receive your clarification.
 
You will also be informed in advance if there is a charge for supplying
copies of the information.

 

Please also be aware that, if the requested information contains
references to any third parties, we may need to consult these individuals
about the release of their personal data before making a decision whether
or not to release the information to you.

 

We will also provide an explanation if any information is not released to
you.

 

Should you have any queries regarding your request, please contact the
team by email [10][email address] or by telephone
01603 222661.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sarah Cooper, Business Support Assistant

Information Compliance Team

Dept: 01603 222661

Bay 7-9, Ground Floor, County Hall, Norwich

[11]Norfolk County Council   [12]Twitter[13]Facebook[14]Web

[15]Campaign Logo

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Freedom of Information,

I'd like the March 2020 figures not the 2019 please.

An in an Excel file would be great.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Jones
 
Freedom of Information Request ENQ-412378-N6Y6Q4
 
I refer to your recent email requesting information for the data as at
March 2020.
 
Your request has been considered and is refused.  In accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act), this letter acts as a Refusal
Notice.
 
Exemption
 
Section 22(1) of the Act provides an exemption for release of information
if it is intended for future publication.
 
Reason why the exemption applies
 
The information that you have requested relates to the year 2019/20 data
and is information that Norfolk County Council, the administering
authority of the Norfolk Pension Fund, intends to publish.
 
As a result of changes to financial reporting deadlines for 2019/20 by the
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the Norfolk
Pension Fund is not required to publish its Annual Report and Accounts
2019-20 until 30 November 2020.
 
The Investment Holdings as at 31 March 2020 declaration is awaiting
approval by auditors and we hope to publish it in the next few weeks.
 
Both the Annual Report and Accounts and the Investment Holdings will be
posted on the Norfolk Pension Fund website as soon as they are published,
at the links provided in the original response.
 
Public Interest Test Reasons
 
The Council has considered whether the public interest in maintaining this
exemption is outweighed by the public interest in disclosure.
 
This Council has considered the following reasons in favour of disclosure:
•       Promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities
for decisions taken by them.
•       Promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of
public money, whether realised or planned.
 
Set against this is the fact that this information is held with a view to
its future publication. To release the information now would involve
additional work for the Council and divert funds away from statutory
functions of the Council.
 
On balance the Council considers that the public interest in maintaining
the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure
 
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request you have the
right of appeal through the Council’s internal review procedure by setting
out the grounds of your appeal in writing to:
 
[Norfolk County Council request email]
or Information Compliance Team
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich
NR1 2DH
 
An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and should be identified as "FOI Appeal".
 
If you are dissatisfied after pursuing the complaints procedure, you may
apply to the Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a
decision whether your request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO
Website at: [1]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a
concern.  Or you can write to them at:
 
First Contact Team
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane, Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
Yours sincerely
 
Bev Whittaker, Senior Information Compliance Officer 
Information Compliance Team, Insight and Analytics, Strategy and
Governance Directorate 
Tel Dept: 01603 222661
Bays 7,8 & 9, Ground Floor, South Wing, County Hall, Martineau Lane,
Norwich 
  
 
 
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thanks for your response.

Please would you do me the kind service of letting me know when the March 31 2020 accounts are published within the next two weeks as you stated and furnishing me with the links.

Having waited since June this would really help me out and be much appreciated.

Very best,

Edward Jones

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Jones

I appreciate that you would like to be informed when the information is available, but we are unable to proactively review when council departments publish new information. As explained, the information you are seeking will be published in the next few weeks and we would ask that you to visit the website to view any updates. If you wish to email us further down the line, then please feel free to do this.

Yours sincerely

Bev Whittaker, Senior Information Compliance Officer
Information Compliance Team, Insight and Analytics, Strategy and Governance Directorate
Tel Dept: 01603 222661
Bays 7,8 & 9, Ground Floor, South Wing, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Freedom of Information,

Please can you provide the March 2020 holdings in Excel format as requested.

The ICO judged this to be a valid requirement and it is precedented.

We need the information as a mater of urgency.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

Dear Freedom of Information, Bev Whittaker,

As we requested please can you send th March 2020 data - even if unaudited at this stage - in an Excel format.

The ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) has a precedent that when a council request asks for Excel it is granted.

We can't use pdfs and we need this data as a matter of urgency now by Thursday Nov 5.

Thanks. really appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Jones,

 

I understand that you have contacted the team this afternoon with a view
to receiving the information which you have requested, and I see that in
your below email you advise that you need this by today. In the
circumstances I have treated your email as an appeal against the council’s
response to you on 23 September 2020, and have undertaken an internal
review of the council’s position.

 

In that response you were advised of the council's refusal under section
22 of the Freedom of Information Act (the FOIA) -future publication- on
the grounds that the information was already due for future publication.
You were specifically advised of the following:

 

The information that you have requested relates to the year 2019/20 data
and is information that Norfolk County Council, the administering
authority of the Norfolk Pension Fund, intends to publish.

 

As a result of changes to financial reporting deadlines for 2019/20 by the
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the Norfolk
Pension Fund is not required to publish its Annual Report and Accounts
2019-20 until 30 November 2020.

 

The Investment Holdings as at 31 March 2020 declaration is awaiting
approval by auditors and we hope to publish it in the next few weeks.

 

Both the Annual Report and Accounts and the Investment Holdings will be
posted on the Norfolk Pension Fund website as soon as they are published,
at the links provided in the original response.

 

The Council has considered whether the public interest in maintaining this
exemption is outweighed by the public interest in disclosure.

 

This Council has considered the following reasons in favour of disclosure:

•              Promoting accountability and transparency by public
authorities for decisions taken by them.

•              Promoting accountability and transparency in the spending
of public money, whether realised or planned.

 

Set against this is the fact that this information is held with a view to
its future publication. To release the information now would involve
additional work for the Council and divert funds away from statutory
functions of the Council.

 

In reviewing this case I find the refusal under section 22 to be
reasonable in the specific circumstances. You were advised that the
Council is under no obligation to publish until 30 November 2020, and this
is a clearly defined and relatively short timeframe. In your subsequent
representations you offer no substantive grounds for challenge to this
under the provisions of the FOIA. You do make assertions about your
requirements for the formatting of the information; however I have not
considered this as part of this review as information is not being
provided to you at this stage. You have suggested that you would be
content with an unaudited version, but offer no broader public interest
arguments which would compel early disclosure of unaudited information
when there is a clear indication that the information will soon be
published and available.   

 

Taking all circumstances into account, I cannot see that it would be
appropriate, or in the public interest, to divert council resources now in
order to meet your requirements, when the information is due to be
published shortly and the Council is under no other obligation to publish
it early.   

 

I will further investigate the council’s position in relation to providing
information in your preferred format (excel) when the time comes; however,
this does not form part of my internal review and you will need to request
the information again in due course following its publication.

 

If you remain dissatisfied following this review you may apply to the
Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a decision on
whether your request has been handed in accordance with the requirements
of Part I of the Act.  Please refer to the ICO Website at:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/  for advice on how to report a concern. 
Or you can write to them at:

 

First Contact Team

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane, Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

Andy Swan

Information Compliance Manager (FOI Lead)

Information Compliance Team

Insight & Analytics, Strategy & Governance

[2]Norfolk County Council   [3]Twitter[4]Facebook[5]Web

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thanks.

I just want the unaudited figs if possible.

We are compiling a report on al the LGPSs in t country - yours is the only one of 100 which has faled to give the information 2019-20 as yet...

So if you could kindly send even the headline figs on one sheet would suffice.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones