CfEL Investee Summary Sheets

Julian Todd made this Freedom of Information request to Capital for Enterprise Limited

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 refused by Capital for Enterprise Limited.

Dear Capital for Enterprise Limited,

From Part 3(x) (page 23) of the document "Enterprise Capital Funds, Guidance for Prospective Managers, March 2009"

http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/f...

"The Government is additionally interested in the impact of ECFs upon equity gap investments into SMEs. Therefore the ECF will be expected to provide some additional reporting on SMEs seeking investment... A business seeking investment from an ECF will be required to provide the ECF with an Investee Summary Sheet containing: Company Name, Company Postcode, Management Team, Companies House Company Registration Number... etc.

"...Information relating to specific funds or businesses will be passed to external parties only where required by law..."

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 law, please may I be sent:

* copies of all the "Investee Summary Sheets" received by the government and its wholly owned subsidiary CfEL so far, and

* a copy of the master spreadsheet or database into which information from these sheets is keyed in.

In the event that you consider this information is exempt under Section 41 (Information provided in confidence), you will need to explain how this information can be confidential if much of it is disclosed under companies law. I will also require evidence that legal action could be taken against you if this information were disclosed. If this evidence is in the form of a legally-binding contracts signed with the businesses concerned, I will require information as to why such assurances were considered strictly necessary for the conduct of CfEL's mandate.

In the event that you consider Section 43 (Commercial interests) engaged, you will need to explain how the disclosure of details from the Investor Summary Sheets threatens loans made by organizations who are already party to this information, and why it should be in the public interest for (a) other competitors not to be aware of the effects and opportunities for government intervention in their market, and (b) the public to know which industries are being supported by the government through this regime and by how much.

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

FOI Requests,

BIS ref: 09/1879

Dear Mr Todd,

Thank you for your request for information which we have received in the
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Your request has been
passed on to the appropriate official to deal with.

Best wishes,
Kay

Kay Wilson | Freedom of Information Advisor | Information Rights Unit |
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills | Bay 351, 66-74 Victoria
Street, London, SW1E 6SW | www.bis.gov.uk
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by creating the conditions for
business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and
giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this
we will foster world-class universities and promote an open global
economy. BIS - Investing in our future

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Dear FOI Requests,

BIS ref: 09/1879

On 6 December 2009 I sent a Freedom of Information Request for copies of all the Investee Summary Sheets provided by all businesses seeking investment.

A response was due yesterday (7 January 2010).

Can you advise me of the progress so far?

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

Tindall Marie \(ED\),

FOR THE ATTENTION OF JULIAN TODD

Dear Mr Todd,

FOI Request: 09/1879

Thank you for your email of 6th December to Capital for Enterprise
Limited,where you requested information about Investee Summary Sheets
received by the government and its wholly owned subsidiary Capital for
Enterprise Limited (CfEL). As CfEL is an NDPB sponsored by the
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills(BIS) you request has been
passed to me for a response.

CfEL do hold information falling within the terms of your request,
however we need more time to consider your request.

I wish to advise you that the exemption under section 43 of the Freedom
of Information Act applies to the information that you have requested.

By virtue of section 10 (3), where public authorities have to consider
the balance of the public interest in relation to a request, they do not
have to comply with the request until such time as is reasonable in the
circumstances.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not yet reached a
decision on the balance of the public interest. Due to the need to
consider, in all the circumstances of the case, where the balance of the
public interest lies in relation to the information that you have
requested, the Department will not be able to respond to your request in
full within 20 working days.

I hope to let you have a response by 22nd January 2010.

Yours sincerely,


Marie Tindall | Enterprise Directorate| Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills | Level 2 St Mary's House, 9-11 London Road,
Sheffield, S2 4LA


Marie Tindall | Enterprise Directorate| Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills | Level 2 St Mary's House, 9-11 London Road,
Sheffield, S2 4LA

Telephone 0114 279 4395 | [mobile number]

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by:

creating the conditions for business success
promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and
giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed.
To achieve this we will foster world-class universities and promote an
open global economy.
BIS - Investing in our future

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Mallon Erica \(ED\),

Julian Todd (by e mail)

[email address]

Ref No: 09/1879

21^st January 2010

Dear Julian

Thank you for your email of 6 December 2009 where you requested:

`Copies of all the `Investee Summary Sheets' from SMEs seeking investment
from an Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF), received by the government and its
wholly owned subsidiary CfEL, and, a copy of the master spreadsheet or
database into which information from these sheets is keyed in. `

CfEL is a Non Departmental Body sponsored by the Department and therefore
you request has been passed to me for a reply.

I can confirm that Capital for Enterprise Limited (CfEL) holds the
`Investee Summary Sheets' for SMEs seeking ECF investment on behalf of
BIS. This information is exempt under section 43 of the Freedom of
Information Act and is therefore being withheld.

The use of Section 43 is subject to a public interest test. In this
context, we recognise that there is a general public interest in the
disclosure of information, as greater transparency makes Government more
accountable. Against this there is a public interest in ensuring that the
commercial interests of external businesses are not damaged or undermined
by disclosure of information which is not common knowledge and which could
adversely impact on future business. The investee summary sheets contain
company information which has been provided in confidence, and we consider
the disclosure of this information could damage the commercial interests
of the companies involved and through them the investors in the ECF
funds. Although some of the information would be in the Companies House
registration, there are some details of the companies' commercial plans,
along with the additional knowledge that they are seeking investment which
would not otherwise be available to competitors.

In addition the Department's own commercial interests could be damaged as
disclosure could damage out business reputation and the confidence out
customers have in us, making them reluctant to provide us with commercial
sensitive information in the future. In this case, we consider that the
public interest in favour of disclosing such information is outweighed by
the necessity to protect the commercial interests of third parties.

Having considered the public interest, the Department's decision is
therefore to withhold the information.

I note that you are concerned that the competitors of the companies that
receive ECF funds should be aware of "the government intervention in their
market' and that that the public should be aware of the support being
offered through this scheme. Information about ECFs is available on the
BIS and CFEL websites ( [1]http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/.
[2]http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/enterpri...
there are also links from Business Link website. The BIS site includes
details of the fund managers running the schemes and the CFEL website has
details of the numbers of companies invested in, their sector and region.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to Marie Tindall.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF

Yours sincerely,

sent on behalf of

MARIE TINDALL

ENTERPRISE DIRECTORATE

BIS

[3][email address]

Contact 0114 279 4395

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/
http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/
2. http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/enterpri...
http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/enterpri...
3. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]

Dear Capital for Enterprise Limited,

Thank you for your response today to my 6 December Freedom of Information Request for copies of all Investee Summary Sheets received by the CfEL, as well as a copy of the master spreadsheet or database into which information from these sheets is keyed in.

Unfortunately I was advised that the Section 43 (Commercial interests) exemption has been applied to the Investor Summary Sheets on the basis that they contained information and commercial plans whose disclosure would damage the commercial interests of the companies involved (although some of this information would be available at Companies House).

Also, no comment was made about the existence of a master spreadsheet or database in which the information from all these Investor Summary Sheets could have been gathered.

I strongly believe that -- at the very least -- a partial disclosure of the information I have requested is due. For example, the release of a combined database of information from all Summary Sheets, but with the names of the companies redacted. This would provide an account for the scale and timing of the government investments in the economy, without infringing on any known commercial interests.

I also believe that not every Investor Summary Sheet in your possession should be considered exempt. For example, any company traded on the stock market should have its Summary Sheet disclosed in the public interest, especially if the alleged commercial harm would lead private investors to reconsider their investments in a company in which they could lose all their money.

Finally, assuming that the Section 43 exemption continues to apply, can you point to me any available evidence (historical or otherwise) that could persuade me that this supposition is not wholly a matter of personal opinion?

Please consider this letter as a request for an internal review.

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

FOI Requests,

BIS ref: IR/09/1879
Dear Mr Todd,
Thank you for your request for an Internal Review which was received on 21
January. Your request has been passed on to the appropriate official to
deal with.

Best wishes,
Kay

Kay Wilson | Freedom of Information Advisor | Information Rights Unit |
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills | Bay 351, 66-74 Victoria
Street, London, SW1E 6SW | [1]www.bis.gov.uk

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this we will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS -
Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.bis.gov.uk/

Tindall Marie \(ED\),

for the Attention of Julian Todd

Case reference : IR/09/1879
(Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications)

Dear Julian

I refer to your e mail of 21 January 2010 to Capital for Enterprise
Limited (CfEL) requesting an Internal Review of the response to your
Freedom of Information Request for copies of all investee summary sheets
for the ECF programme received by CfEL.

CfEL is a Non Departmental Body sponsored by the Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and therefore this request has
been passed to the Department for a reply.

This case has raised some complex public interest considerations, and
therefore will take longer than the twenty days BIS normally allows for
Internal Reviews.

We aim to respond to you as soon as the Internal Review is completed,
and anticipate this to be by 19th March 2010 at the latest.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me direct at my e mail
address below if you have any queries.

Kind Regards

MARIE TINDALL
ENTERPRISE DIRECTORATE BIS

email:- [email address]

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Tindall Marie \(ED\),

for the Attention of Julian Todd

Case reference : IR/09/1879
(Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications)

Dear Julian

Further to my e mail to you of 18 February I am writing to inform you
that the internal review has not yet been completed. We hope to be
able to write to you as soon as possible. Please accept my apologies
for this delay. Also, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me
direct at my e mail address below if you have any queries regarding this
e mail.

Kind regards

Marie Tindall

Enterprise Directorate| Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
email: [email address]

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Dear Marie Tindall,

Regarding your email to me on 29 March 2010 informing me that the internal review I requested on 21 January has not been completed -- this request is seriously overdue by at least four months.

Can you inform me of the progress of this review?

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

Tindall Marie \(ED\),

Dear Julian

Firstly many apologies for the delay in replying to you. As you are
aware we needed more time to consider this request. I hope that a
response from the Department will be forwarded to you in the next week.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below if you wish to
discuss.
kind regards

Marie Tindall | Enterprise Directorate| Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills | Level 2 St Mary's House, 9-11 London Road,
Sheffield, S2 4LA
Telephone 0114 279 4395 |

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by:
* creating the conditions for business success
* promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and
* giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed.
To achieve this we will foster world-class universities and promote an
open global economy.
BIS - Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Rycroft Philip (Chief Exec BRE and DG Enterprise & Innovation),

1 Attachment

Julian

Please find attached a letter from Philip Rycroft in response to your
email sent on 21 January 2010 re the above.

<<juliantodd>>

Kind regards

Susan
Susan Holland| SPA to Philip Rycroft DG, Innovation & Enterprise Group &
CE Better Regulation Executive within the Strategic Support Team |
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills |
susan.holland[1]@bis.gsi.gov.uk | Address Bay 5P, 5th Floor, 1 Victoria
Street, London SW1H 0ET | Telephone 0207 215 0443| [2]www.bis.gov.uk

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by:

* creating the conditions for business success
* promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and
* giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed.

To achieve this we will foster world-class universities and promote an
open global economy.
BIS - Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.bis.gov.uk/

Julian Todd left an annotation ()

I have sent in my ICO complaint today:

"My request for Investee Summary Sheets and related databases of government subsidised Venture Capital investments was exempted according to section 43 commercial interests. The disclosure of a redacted form of the summary sheets or the database, leaving out commercially sensitive information about business plans, but listing the companies invested in, was not considered.

"The four month delay to undertake the public interest test was not justified by the lack of substance in the final response. The claim that there are no initial investments in a listed companies is contradicted by a 3 December 2009 press release by a listed company Vero Software:
http://www.vero-software.com/group-news-...

"Any fair consideration of the section 43 exemption would include the argument that disclosure of an investment is often in (not against) the commercial interest of the company in question, because it proves to customers and investors that they are on a sound financial footing, at least on the near term, and often the information is used to solicit further investment from other sources.

"This is clear case of the department claiming to have contracted out of its Freedom of Information obligations . The evidence of this is given by recommendation 5 of the Public Accounts Committee: "For future funds, the Department should avoid entering into confidentiality agreements which restrict its ability to be transparent about fund performance.”

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa... "

The NAO report about the (lack of) transparency or measuring of results is here:
http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0910/...

Julian Todd left an annotation ()

The Decision Notice against my complaint is here:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...