Mr J Dixon email@example.com
31 January 2020
Our Ref: FOI/1920/154
Dear Mr Dixon Your Freedom of Information Request
Thank you for your email, which was received by the University on 20 January 2020. The
University’s response is set out in the enclosed document.
Your right to seek a review
Should you be dissatisfied with the way in which the University has dealt with your request,
you have the right to require us to review our actions and decisions. If you wish to request a
review, please contact the General Counsel, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET or e-
within 40 working days. Your request must be in a recordable
format (letter, email, audio tape, etc). You will receive a full response to your request for review
within 20 working days of its receipt.
If you are dissatisfied with the way in which we have handled your request for review you may
ask the Information Commissioner to review our decision. You must submit your complaint in
writing to the Commissioner within 6 months of receiving the response to review letter. The
Commissioner may be contacted at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF
0303 123 1113 / 01625 545 745 (+44 1625 545 745 if calling from overseas)
01625 524 510
Yours sincerely Alice Mineyko
If possible, I’d like to receive data specific to the 2018/2019 academic year.
We confirm that we hold the information requested, but we
Specifically, I’d like to request data on the student careers services spend. (Excluding
consider that it would be contrary to the commercial interests of
the University to release it. Careers and employability are an
This could fall under career support or careers programmes.
important part of Aston’s commercial offering and a key
If this includes a combined group of departments, could you please specify each
differentiator between Aston and our competitors.
department and their individual spend?
Information on how much Aston spends on its careers service
NOTE: You have provided the following clarification:
could be used by our competitors to assess the importance of this
aspect of the University’s strategy and our current assessment of
Could I instead just receive the overall spend for the careers service (disregarding the
its importance in student recruitment. This would be likely to
'operational costs' part of the request).
provide them with a competitive advantage, which in turn would be
likely to harm the financial position of the University. We therefore
claim the exemption available under section 43(2) of the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 and will not be releasing the information.
We have considered carefully whether it would be in the public
interest for us to provide you with the information, despite the
section 43(2) exemption being applicable. The University
acknowledges that there is a legitimate public interest in the
interests of transparency and accountability. However, there is
also a public interest in protecting the ability of universities to
compete on a level playing field and to ensure that there is fair
competition between them. We have concluded that the balance
of the public interest in this case lies in withholding this