Dumfries and Galloway Council Pension Fund Investments

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Dumfries and Galloway Council should normally have responded promptly and by (details)

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what the Dumfries and Galloway Council Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different categories, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the Pension Fund holds.

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (i), which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format in which it is embodied." (ii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest. The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following:

* When these confidentially agreements were agreed
* All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
* The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the Information Commissioner's guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: 'Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.'(ii)

Finally, within the law of confidence these is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees, and understand that under the act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Jones

(i) Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...
(ii) Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request https://panopticonblog.com/2014/08/01/se...
(ii) 'Freedom of Information Awareness Guidance 5: Commercial Interests' Office of the Information Commissioner, Page 10, https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Dumfries and Galloway Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 19/05/2017 which we are dealing with in terms of the above legislation. We have given your request the unique reference 256477 and we would appreciate it if you could quote this on all correspondence to us.

Under the terms of the legislation, we have an obligation to respond to your request within 20 working days from the day after your request was received. We will therefore aim to respond to your request by 16/06/2017.

Please be aware that, in some circumstances, a fee may be payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information you have requested. If this is the case, a fees notice will be issued, which would need to be paid in order to progress your request.

If your request for information is considered and deemed as a 'business as usual' request, it will be responded to by the appropriate Service within the Council.

If you have any queries in the meantime, please contact [email address].

Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

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Any email message sent or received by the
Council may require to be disclosed by the
Council under the provisions of the Freedom
of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI, Dumfries and Galloway Council

1 Attachment

Please find below the Council's response to your request 256477 which was received on 19/05/2017.

Details of request: 1) The full details of what the Dumfries and Galloway Council Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different categories, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the Pension Fund holds.

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (i), which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, specifically an applicant's right to choose to have information provided to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format in which it is embodied. (ii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest. The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following

- When these confidentially agreements were agreed
- All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
- The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements they go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the Information Commissioner's guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.(ii)

Finally, within the law of confidence these is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

Response:

Please attached the Council's Pension Fund investments, the cost of investments, and total value of investments as at 31 December 2016.

Please be aware that the Council holds the copyright, where applicable, for the information provided and it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material not being used in a misleading context. The source of the material must be acknowledged as Dumfries and Galloway Council and the title of the document must be included when being reproduced as part of another publication or service.

If you require any further clarification, please contact us. However, if you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt with, you can request us to carry out an internal review of the decision by emailing [email address] or writing to us within 40 working days of receiving this response.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, you have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision. Appeals to the Commissioner can be made online at www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal or in writing to: The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS.

Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

--
Any email message sent or received by the
Council may require to be disclosed by the
Council under the provisions of the Freedom
of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Dear FOI,
The document you attached is unfortunately not what I need.

It doesn't have a breakdown of all the holdings. I.e. names of companies invested in and the amounts invested.

The document I need is that.

All LGPSs have this breakdown - at least 97 of the 101 we have so far received.

If I could get that breakdown please.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

Dumfries and Galloway Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

Thank you for your request for a formal review which was received on 19/06/2017 and is being dealt with. We will respond within 20 working days from the day after the request was received. A response to your request will be sent promptly, and in any event not later than 17/07/2017.

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact [email address].

--
Any email message sent or received by the
Council may require to be disclosed by the
Council under the provisions of the Freedom
of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

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