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College Council Minutes

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Dear Trinity College, Cambridge,

I am writing to request, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, the following records.

The relevant dates for the requests (A)-(D) begins on 01 January 2018 and ends on 31 December 2019.

For the purpose of this request, the relevant bodies are:
- Trinity College Council
- Trinity College Meeting

(A) the minutes of any meetings of the relevant bodies
(B) the dates of any meetings of the relevant bodies
(C) the attendees of any meetings of the relevant bodies
(D) the meeting papers of any meetings of the relevant bodies, where meetings papers are those papers circulated to members of the relevant bodies before or during a meeting for discussion at that meeting, or are referenced in the minutes

Yours faithfully,

David Jones

foi, Trinity College, Cambridge

Dear David Jones,

I am the Freedom of Information Officer for Trinity College Cambridge, requesting some clarification of your request of 16 May 2021 for minutes of various meetings.

We have prepared a sheet of information requested under your (B) and (C), for the two calendar years 2019 and 2020, for despatch to you with our eventual response.

As to your request (A), you will know that under the Publication Scheme on the College's website redacted versions of the minutes of meetings are available on request at a charge of £2.50 per meeting. The College Council meets frequently, once per week in term time, so you are requesting documents for 32 meetings each year, 64 in total. Each set of minutes runs to about six sides of A4 paper, quite often more, and the minutes often contain mention of individuals or sensitive matters, commercial or otherwise - they are not divided into reserved and unreserved sections. My initial assessment is that to comply fully with your request would create an excessive burden on the College, due to the time it would take staff to review all the documents to ensure that we do not release personal data (in breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR) or otherwise provide information that under the Freedom of Information Act 2010 should properly not be transmitted.

Accordingly I write to suggest that you re-frame your request, so as to be helpful to you without creating an unreasonable burden on the College. This might perhaps be done by shortening substantially the period of time covered, or - perhaps preferably - by requesting minutes on particular issues of special interest to you. We could then send you relevant extracts from the minutes of meetings at which these issues were discussed. I look forward to hearing from you on this.

As regards the meeting papers under your question (D), they also typically run to many pages per meeting, needing careful consideration to remove personal data and possibly other information. Also in some cases they may be exempt from release to you, under section 36(2)(b) of the Act, as then forming part of the free and frank provision of advice to the meeting in question.

Yours sincerely

Chris Morley

Chris Morley, Secretary of the College Council
Trinity College Cambridge CB2 1TQ
Direct: 01223 338469
Email: [Trinity College, Cambridge request email]
Web: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/

Registered charity number 1137604

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Dear Chris Morley,

Thank you very much for your response.

Regarding my request (A), as per your recommendations, I would like to shorten the time frame to Michaelmas Term 2018.

Regarding requests (B) and (C), I would like to keep the original timeframe of 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2019.

Regarding request (D), I will update you after I have received requests (A)-(C).

Yours sincerely,

David Jones

foi, Trinity College, Cambridge

2 Attachments

Dear David Jones,

In response to your email of 4 June, below, I am attaching, as Freedom of Information officer for Trinity College Cambridge, a list of the Council Meetings with those attending, and of some other Meetings, held in the two years from 1 Jan 2018 to 31 December 2019. This covers your original requests (B) and (C).

As for request (A), I attach the redacted minutes of the first Council meeting of the Michaelmas Term 2018, in fact held on 28 September a few days before the official start of the Term in the university. This is intended as a typical example of what you would receive under your revised request (A). If having studied that you would like to reduce your request further, or perhaps vary its terms so as to concentrate on particular issues rather than the whole range of matters discussed, please let me know.

If however you do not wish to revise your request further, please also let me know, and send us a cheque for £30 made out to Trinity College Cambridge, this being our standard charge of £2.50 per meeting for redacted minutes, for the 12 meetings of that term. Then we will get on with dealing with your request (A).

Yours sincerely

Chris Morley

Chris Morley, Secretary of the College Council
Trinity College Cambridge CB2 1TQ
Direct: 01223 338469
Email: [Trinity College, Cambridge request email]
Web: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/

Registered charity number 1137604

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Dear Trinity College, Cambridge,

Thank you for providing the first Council meeting of the Michaelmas Term 2018.

Per guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office in regards to information requested under the Freedom of Information Act:

"The Act does not allow you to charge a flat fee but you can recover your communication costs, such as for photocopying, printing and postage."
(https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...)

Furthermore, under Regulation 6(3), fees can only be charged for:
"- Reproducing any document containing the information, eg printing or photocopying;
- Postage and other forms of transmitting the information; and
- Complying with section 11 of FOIA where the applicant has expressed a preference for the means of communication and where this is reasonably practicable.
These costs are referred to as ‘communication costs’ or disbursements and are limited to expenses actually incurred.
However, public authorities should note that regulation 6(4) prevents a public authority from charging for staff time (either its own staff or contractors) in carrying out these activities. This means that they should not include staff time as a disbursement even where they would consider it as an ‘administration’ or ‘handling’ fee."
(https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...)

Photocopying, printing and postage do not apply to this request made via WhatDoTheyKnow, since this request is made electronically. Therefore, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I request that you provide this information without a fee.

Yours sincerely,

David Jones

Chris Morley,

Dear David Jones, I am not going to quibble over a few pounds - though
I could take issue with your assertion that electronic systems are
entirely costless. Redaction is under way, somewhat delayed by
holidays, working from home, etc. Best wishes, Chris Morley

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foi, Trinity College, Cambridge

1 Attachment

Dear David Jones,

Further to this correspondence on FoI, I attach redacted copies of the minutes of all 12 meetings held in the Michaelmas Term 2018, as requested.

Please acknowledge receipt.

Yours sincerely

Chris Morley

Chris Morley, Secretary of the College Council
Trinity College Cambridge CB2 1TQ
Direct: 01223 338469
Email: [Trinity College, Cambridge request email]
Web: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/

Registered charity number 1137604

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are David Jones please sign in and let everyone know.