Freedom of Information Team
100 Parliament Street
London SW1A 2BQ
21 January 2019
Mr Michael Carroll-Owen
Our Ref: FOI2019/12319
Dear Mr Carroll-Owen,
Thank you for your email of 25 November in which you made the following request for
I would like to request all paperwork for any grants provided to the National Youth
Agency in the Year of 2019.
I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act). I confirm
that we hold information within the scope of your request. However, I have withheld the
information under section 43(2) (commercial interests) of the Act.
Section 43 applies to information where its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of any person or organisation including the public authority holding it.
Section 43 is a ‘qualified exemption’ which requires us to carry out a public interest test to
determine whether the balance of interest lies in releasing or withholding the information. Arguments in favour of disclosing the information
There is a general public interest for the government to be open and transparent. Transparency
helps make government more accountable to the electorate and increases trust. This includes
how the government interacts with other government departments or executive bodies and
agencies as well as external stakeholders.
There is also a public interest in the expenditure of public money. Ensuring that public money is
not wasted is of great public interest. The provision of some of this paperwork would provide
genuine transparency on the expenditure of public money by showing what exactly this money
is to be spent on and how it will be spent. Arguments in favour maintaining the exemption
Release of the information will cause the National Youth Agency (NYA) and its commercial
partners significant prejudice and harm. The work being done through the grant has been
costed using elements of their economic costing and development model, and the release of
any component of that model would jeopardise their long-term viability.
The information, if disclosed, could provide competing organisations that intend to bid for grant
funding with an undue advantage. This would be detrimental to the NYA’s interests and offers
no obvious benefit to the public.
It is important that organisations such as NYA can trust government departments to treat their
market-sensitive information confidentially. Disclosure of the information requested could
undermine confidence in DCMS and deter organisations from sharing this type of information in
the future for fear their commercially sensitive information will be shared publically. This is not
in the public interest.
Taking into account all the circumstances of this case, I have concluded the balance of the
public interest favours withholding the information.
We also hold a copy of the previous financial year’s accounts for due diligence purposes.
However this has been withheld under section 21 of the Act, which applies to information which
is already accessible by other means. A copy can be found here: https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details?regid=1035804&subid=0.
Freedom of Information Team Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Complaints and comments
As is customary in our replies, I should explain that if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our
response to your request for information, and/or wish to appeal against information being
withheld from you, please send full details within two calendar months of the date of this
response to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO)
to investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is likely to expect internal
complaints procedures to have been exhausted before beginning an investigation.