breakdown of "Marketing, press and publicity" spend

Ganesh Sittampalam made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide any available breakdowns of the "Marketing, press and publicity £45.4m" figure from your 2006/7 annual accounts.

Any such information is not held for the purposes of creating the BBC's output, but rather for advertising that output, and therefore I believe that it is held for a purpose "other than those of journalism, art or literature" and therefore falls under the FoI act. If you disagree with this, please could you provide a full explanation of why you disagree?

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, about BBC expenditure on marketing, press and
publicity for 2006/7, which was received on 25 May 2008. We shall deal
with your request as promptly as possible and, at the latest, within 20
working days. If you have any queries about your request please contact
us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20080551.

Kind regards.

The Information Policy and Compliance Team
BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20080551

<<RFI20080551 - final response.pdf>>

Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Have you appealed the decision notice from the Information Commissioner regarding the costs of production of programmes to the Information Tribunal? If not, what justification do you have for not applying that precedent to this request?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have now reviewed all the ICO's decision notices on the BBC's attempts to apply the schedule 1 exemption. I note that he has consistently found that information only peripherally associated with programme-making is not covered by this exemption, and it therefore seems very likely to me that he will find the same thing in this case. The dominant purpose of keeping breakdowns of your marketing expenditure is surely to ensure oversight and ensure value for money, rather than being core to the creative process involved in programme-making: you will of course be aware that the ICO has found that even the costs of making programmes themselves are not exempt under this schedule, even if other exemptions do apply.

I note that there have been many similar findings in decision notices and only one of these has been appealed to the Information Tribunal by you, according to the list of decision notices on the ICO's website and the list at http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/Do.... This suggests that even if you do "reserve your position on the matter", you have not taken the necessary legal steps to overturn these decisions.

If the schedule 1 exemption is indeed found not to apply, you will have been in breach of the FOI act by not providing an immediate internal review of your alternative claims of exemption under section 43(2). With regard to those claims, you are free to redact details of individual payments, as I agree that those would be exempt as it could compromise your dealings with your suppliers; what I do want to see are the totals under whatever headings you normally classify this expenditure. I see no reason why knowledge of the total amounts the BBC spends in specific areas would impair your negotiation position.

Referring to the part of your response where you discuss the public interest test, I notice that both considerations in "favour of disclosure" are actually hedged with riders that would more properly belong "on the other hand". It seems to me that you have taken a biased approach to considering this test.

I also do not agree with your statement that "in order for the information to be of value to the public, it would be necessary to have access to information about the costs of other broadcasts who commission similar content". Of course, it would be possible to have access to that information about Channel 4, which would provide at least one point of comparison; secondly, I believe that it would be valuable in its own right as there is public interest in debating not only whether the level of expenditure is "normal" for the industry, but whether the expenditure should be made at all. For advertising-funded broadcasters, marketing may help to increase audiences which have a direct impact on revenues; the same is not true of the BBC.

I therefore request that you do the following:

(a) Either abandon your insistence on the schedule 1 exemption, or provide a proper explanation of why the ICO's previous decisions do not apply equally in this case.

(b) In either case, provide an immediate internal review of your claim of section 43(2) exemption, taking into account the arguments above. That way I will be able to combine any necessary appeals on the schedule 1 exemption and this one, resulting in a more efficient use of the ICO's time, and the faster resolution of this case. In view of the strong evidence against your schedule 1 stance, it seems to me that a refusal to do this would be evidence that you are acting in bad faith, trying to spin the process out as long as possible rather than actually comply with your FOI obligations.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Please find attached a letter in response to your emails of 2nd and 9th
June.

<<RFI20080551 - follow-up response.pdf>>
Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you. I have now appealed this to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

ICO ref: FS50206742

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

The ICO has now issued a decision notice upholding the BBC's position, on the basis of the High Court decision which substantially broadened the scope of the derogation. I intend to appeal to the Information Tribunal as I don't believe the ICO has got this right and the DN doesn't even address the arguments I made to them explaining why I think this information is not covered even under the new definition of the derogation.

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

EA/2010/0037

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

 

Please find attached email 1 of 5 in respect of RFI20080551
(EA/2010/0037).

 

Kind regards

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance    

Room 2252

White City

201 Wood Lane

London

W12 7TS

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2][BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 

 
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

 

Please find attached email 2 of 5 in respect of RFI20080551
(EA/2010/0037).

 

Kind regards

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance    

Room 2252

White City

201 Wood Lane

London

W12 7TS

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2][BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 

 
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

 

Please find attached email 3 of 5 in respect of RFI20080551
(EA/2010/0037).

 

Kind regards

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance    

Room 2252

White City

201 Wood Lane

London

W12 7TS

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2][BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

 

Please find attached email 4 of 5 in respect of RFI20080551
(EA/2010/0037).

 

Kind regards

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance    

Room 2252

White City

201 Wood Lane

London

W12 7TS

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2][BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam

 

Please find attached email 5 of 5 in respect of RFI20080551
(EA/2010/0037).

 

Kind regards

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance    

Room 2252

White City

201 Wood Lane

London

W12 7TS

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2][BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
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Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

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Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

During the course of the Tribunal appeal the BBC agreed to disclose the parts of the information that didn't relate to specific programmes, which is above.

I still consider that at least some programme-related marketing information is not covered by the derogation, but I concluded it would be hard to clearly define what is and isn't covered, so I decided to withdraw the appeal at that stage.