Copies of periodic communications between the Vice-Chancellor and staff

James Murphy made this Freedom of Information request to Oxford Brookes University as part of a batch sent to 32 authorities

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 partially successful.

Dear Oxford Brookes University,

I am writing to request copies of periodic communications between the Vice-Chancellor of your institution and all staff working at the University. These circulars might be sent by email and/or placed on the university intranet and may be described as Vice Chancellor’s Updates or something similar. Could you please provide all such communications for the last 5 years or as long as you have recorded if this is shorter?

Best wishes,

James Murphy

Vanna Leathart, Oxford Brookes University

Dear Mr Murphy,

Freedom of Information Act Request - our reference 2019-213.

Thank you for your email dated 10 September 2019 requesting information
from Oxford Brookes University about communications from the
Vice-Chancellor and all staff.

The University will respond on or before 8 October 2019, the date on which
the 20 working day response period permitted by the Freedom of Information
Act ends.

I may need to contact you again if the request needs to be clarified; this
is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that in certain cases some information you have requested may
not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld
by law. In these cases the reasons will be explained to you along with
your copy of any information that can be released to you.

Yours Sincerely

Vanna Leathart
--
Vanna Leathart
University Records Manager
IT Services
Oxford Brookes University
Tel: +44 (0)1865 484046
Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Vanna Leathart, Oxford Brookes University

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Murphy,

Freedom of Information Act Request - our reference 2019-213

Further to your email of 10 September 2019 asking for information from
Oxford Brookes University about all staff communications from the
Vice-Chancellor, I am able to provide the following information in
response to your request.

You asked:

I am writing to request copies of periodic communications between the
Vice-Chancellor of your institution and all staff working at the
University.  These circulars might be sent by email and/or placed on the
university intranet and may be described as Vice Chancellor’s Updates or
something similar.  Could you please provide all such communications for
the last 5 years or as long as you have recorded if this is shorter? 

Our response

The Vice-Chancellor uses two methods to communicate to all Oxford
Brookes University staff.  The most usual is by email and the attached
document entitled "All Staff emails" contains his all-staff emails for
the requested period.  

You will see that some parts of these emails have been redacted.  This
is because we believe that section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 applies here. Section 43 (2) states that information is exempt from
disclosure if its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the
commercial interests of any person or organisation. The redacted
sections refer to student recruitment. We believe section 43 applies
because student recruitment is a commercial activity for all
universities. The University’s success in recruiting students, and the
manner in which it does so, directly affects both its reputation and
financial position. It follows that information about recruitment
strategy and marketing can readily be seen as commercially sensitive. To
share detailed information of this type indicates too much about our
strategy and skill in attracting students.

The second method of communication is through our online staff
newsletter, OnStream.  Usually these communications are a summary of the
all-staff emails, but occasionally an individual article is posted
directly there.  The attachment entitled "Leadership Structure at
Brookes" is from OnStream.  OnStream articles are indexed back to
January 2017.  To go back any further than this would mean searching
each issue manually to see whether it contains any message from the
Vice-Chancellor and then checking to see if the article is a summary of
an all-staff email or not. This time together with the time taken to
find all the Vice-Chancellor's all-staff emails, would take us beyond
the time limit set out in section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (currently set at £450 or 18 hours).   

If this information does not address your requirements under the Freedom
of Information Act or you wish to complain about any aspect of the
handling of this request, then you should contact the undersigned in the
first instance. Should you remain dissatisfied, then you may apply for an
internal review by contacting the Director of Marketing and Communications
at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3
OBP (email: [1][email address] ).  Your request for internal
review should be submitted to us within 40 working days of receipt by you
of this response. 
During the independent review the handling of your information request
will be reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with
this response. If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your
request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information
Commissioner at The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. Further contact information and
details of the role and powers of the Information Commissioner can be
found on the Commissioner's website: [2]http://www.ico.org.uk/ 

Please note that the Information Commissioner is unlikely to investigate
your case until the University’s internal review process has been
completed.

Yours sincerely

Vanna Leathart

--
Vanna Leathart
University Records Manager
IT Services
Oxford Brookes University
Tel: +44 (0)1865 484046
Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

References

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