Bradford City Council/West Yorkshire Pension Fund investments

Edward Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Bradford City Council

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

The request was successful.

Dear Bradford City Council,

I would like to request the following information:

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

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different categories, 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.

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

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

4) 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 (i), 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." (ii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. 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.

As examples of the kind of information I would like, please see the information released in excel format by East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council:

East Sussex County Council:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

West Sussex County Council:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

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 confidentially 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.'(ii)

Finally, within the law of confidence these 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) Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...
(ii) Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request https://panopticonblog.com/2014/08/01/se...
(ii) 'Freedom of Information Awareness Guidance 5: Commercial Interests' Office of the Information Commissioner, Page 10, https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Catherine Hellard,

Dear Mr Jones,

 

 

Thank you for request dated 25 May 2017 under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (FOIA) asking us to supply investment information.

 

A breakdown of the Council’s pension fund investments for 2015/16 can be
found on the West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF) website. This includes the
Annual Report and Accounts, Investment Top 20 Holdings, Private Equity and
Investment Portfolios. We are therefore applying Section 21 of the FOIA as
we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it
is already reasonably accessible to you.

 

For your convenience here is a link to the WYPF Investments home page: 

 

[1]http://www.wypf.org.uk/Member/Investment...

 

Once audited, the 2016/17 investment information will be published on our
website, this will be later in the year.  We are therefore applying
Section 22 of the FOIA as this information is intended for future
publication.

 

You have requested the investment information in excel format.  Please see
below guidance from the Information Commissioner' website.

 

Section 21: information in the publication scheme

 

If the information is reasonably accessible to the requester, then it may
be exempt under section 21, and the public authority does not have to
provide it in response to the request.  There may be a case where the
information is already available to the requester under the public
authority’s publication scheme but not in the form in which the requester
would prefer to receive it.  If so, the public authority is not obliged to
provide the information in the requester’s preferred form; the public
authority has no duty under section 11, because the information is exempt,
and it has no duty to communicate the information in response to the
request.

 

 

If you have any queries about this e-mail, please contact me and please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to ask for
an internal review.  Internal review requests should be submitted within
one month of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter
and should be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Officer, 4th Floor Britannia House, Bradford, West
Yorkshire, BD1 1HX or by e-mail [2][Bradford City Council request email]  

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome you have the right of
appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF Tel: 01625 545700 URL:
[3]http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Kind regards

 

Cath Hellard

Freedom of Information Coordinator

West Yorkshire Pension Fund

Tel: 01274 434375

WYPF, PO Box 67, Bradford, BD1 1UP

 

West Yorkshire Pension Fund

Chief Executive's Department

 

Follow us on [4]Twitter and [5]Facebook   

 

 

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