Documents relating to Proposed BFI Film Centre

Jim Brettell made this Freedom of Information request to UK Film Council

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

The request was partially successful.

Dear UK Film Council,

Please send me copies of documents, including correspondence, relating to the proposed Southbank BFI Film Centre Project.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Brettell

Information, UK Film Council

Dear Mr. Brettell,

I acknowledge receipt of your FOI request 17th June and we will respond to you within 20 working days as required under the Freedom of Information Act.

In the meantime please feel free to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

Regards,

UK FILM|COUNCIL

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Information, UK Film Council

Dear Mr. Brettell,

I refer to your FOI request of 17th June 2010.

We have done some preliminary work in order to respond to your request and it appears to us that it has been drawn extremely widely.

We do not want to contemplate not being able to respond on cost grounds, therefore we would like further clarification on the information and/or records you require. It would assist us greatly if you could be more specific on the specific documents and/or records, including the correspondence, that you seek so that we can be equally specific in the search of our records.

Pending your reply we have placed your enquiry on hold for the purposes of the 20 days response requirement under the Act.

Regards,

UK Film Council

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Dear UK Film Council,

Thank you for your response of todays date.

I appreciate my request may be deemed to have been drawn widely and I agree that it would be most unfortunate to have to consider a denial on cost grounds, especially in relation to such an important project and where significant public funding will be necessary.

Unfortunately I have not been able to unearth any publicly available documents relating to this project beyond several articles in the Guardian newspaper and therefore I am unable to be specific in relation to what documents might exist.

In essence therefore I feel my request must remain wide-ranging. In relation to the possible issue of cost, I am confident that widespread dissemination by means of this website will be viewed as an extremely cost effective method of informing the wider public in relation to this very important project.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Brettell

Information, UK Film Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr. Brettell,

I refer to your Freedom of Information request of 17 June 2010 and your subsequent email of 22 June 2010.

The BFI Film Centre project was intended to deliver a state-of-the-art film centre in London and to provide new headquarters for the British Film Institute (BFI). The project was led and managed by the BFI.

The BFI is an independent charity registered with the Charity Commission established by Royal Charter. The BFI does not receive public money direct from Government. However, the BFI does receive funding from the UK Film Council through its (the UK Film Council's) grant-in-aid allocation from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). In 2009/10 the UK Film Council awarded £16m of core grant-in-aid funding to the BFI.

In March 2008 the DCMS made a conditional award to the UK Film Council of £45.65 million for the BFI Film Centre project, subject to Government approval (copy of letter attached at Appendix A). The award was dependent on a robust business case being made.

Following the submission of the Outline Business Case in November 2008, on 16 October 2009 the DCMS confirmed the Government's commitment of £45.65 million towards the BFI Film Centre project (copy of letter attached at Appendix B). The Outline Business Case has been withheld from disclosure, as a Section 43 (2) exemption applies.

As you may be aware, the new Coalition Government re-assessed a number of new capital projects and on 17 June 2010 announced it had withdrawn financial support for the BFI Film Centre project. Following this decision the BFI has publicly stated that it remains committed to the project and has advised that it is currently considering other options in terms of financing the project. The release of detailed information about the project may therefore prejudice these options including discussions with third parties, whether private or public. Therefore Section 43 (section 2) exemption applies to the business case document as the document contains commercially sensitive information, namely in relation to usage projections, financial plans and budgets.

The public interest in withholding the information thus outweighs the public interest in disclosure as release of this information into the public domain would or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the BFI as an independent charity in developing any alternative financing options for continuance of the project.

Regards

UK FILM|COUNCIL

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