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Exact salary details of college officers

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Dear UCL,

For reasons of public interest please provide the exact salary details, including bonus payments, of each of the officers named below.

Please also provide exact numbers of staff who answer to these officers and their offices.

President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur

Vice-Provosts:

Development, Mrs Lori Houlihan
Education and Student Affairs, Professor Anthony Smith
Enterprise and London, Dr Celia Caulcott
Health, Professor Sir John Tooke
International, Dame Nicola Brewer
Operations, Mr Rex Knight
Research, Professor David Price

Yours faithfully,

D. G. Dahlborn

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Thank you for your message.
If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should
expect a response from us within 20 working days.
Data Protection & FOI
Legal Services
UCL

Goudie, Alex, University College London

Dear D. G. Dahlborn,

 

I am writing in response to your request for information received by UCL
on 11 January.

 

I can confirm that UCL holds information relevant to your request, however
we are unable to provide some of this information to you as it is
considered that exemptions from the duty to disclose apply. Please see
below for further details with regard to these exemptions.

 

Section 21

This exemption applies to information which is already reasonably
accessible to the public via other means. Section 21(1) states that:

 

‘Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise
than under section 1 is exempt information’

 

Information concerning staff answerable to the Vice Provosts is already
publicly available on the UCL website. By way of assistance I can advise
that information regarding staff members within these offices can be
viewed at the following locations:

 

Development, Mrs Lori Houlihan –
[1]http://www.ucl.ac.uk/development/contact

Education and Student Affairs, Professor Anthony Smith  -
 [2]https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/...

Enterprise and London, Dr Celia Caulcott –
[3]http://www.ucl.ac.uk/enterprise/the-team

Health, Professor David Lomas
[4]https://www.ucl.ac.uk/silva/slms/about-u...

International, Dame Nicola Brewer –
[5]https://www.ucl.ac.uk/global/contact-us

Operations, Mr Rex Knight –
 [6]https://www.ucl.ac.uk/professional-servi... staff members
below these officers are listed on individual department pages (e.g.
Estates, ISD…)

Research, Professor David Price – [7]http://www.ucl.ac.uk/research/contact

 

The salary of the President and Provost is also published in the UCL
annual accounts on page 34:

[8]http://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/docs/docs-c...

 

Information pertaining to the remuneration of higher paid staff is also
available on page 35.

 

 

The requested information relating to the exact salaries of the UCL Vice
Provosts identified in your request is in our view exempt from disclosure
on the following grounds:

 

Section 40

The disclosure of information that would allow the public at large to
learn of an employee’s exact salary, would clearly amount to a disclosure
of personal data. Having established that the requested information
constitutes personal data it is then necessary to once more consider
whether disclosure would lead to a breach of any of the Data Protection
Principles.

 

Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides an exemption
from disclosure for information that constitutes the personal data of
third parties:

 

‘Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt
information if:-

 

a)     it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection
(1), and

b)     either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.’

 

We take the view that the requested information constitutes the personal
data of third parties based on section 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
which defines personal data as information which relates to a living
individual. The personal data falls within section 40(2) because it
constitutes personal data of a third party. We then need to consider if
the information is exempt from disclosure because either of the conditions
set out in sections 40(3) or 40(4) are met. The relevant condition in this
case is at section 40(3) (a) (i), where disclosure would breach any of the
Data Protection Principles. The Data Protection Principles are set out in
schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998. We consider that disclosure of
the personal data would breach the first data protection principle, which
states that:

 

‘Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully...’

 

The first data protection principle provides that personal data shall be
processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed
unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met.

 

There are two conditions in Schedule 2 relevant to your request, namely
(1) and (6).

 

Condition (1) provides that: ‘The data subject has given his consent to
the processing.’

 

Condition (6) provides that: ‘The processing is necessary for the purposes
of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third
party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except where the
processing is unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to
the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject.’

           

In deciding whether disclosure of an individual’s name together with
salary details would contravene the first data protection principle, the
questions to be addressed, therefore, are:

 

(i)             Would disclosure of his name constitute fair and lawful
processing of his personal data?

(ii)            Has the individual given his consent such that condition 1
is met?

(iii)           Is disclosure necessary for the purposes of a legitimate
interest of the data controller or the third party or parties to whom the
data are disclosed, and if so, is disclosure nevertheless unwarranted in
this case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate
interests of the data subject?

In response:

 

(i)             When considering whether the disclosure constitutes fair
and lawful processing, the position of the data subjects must be taken
into account, as well as their expectations as to the disclosure of their
identity.

 

There is an expectation that the personal information of those carrying
out public functions or holding elected office will be subject to greater
scrutiny than would otherwise be the case, particularly where they are
responsible for spending public funds.  However, the individuals concerned
do not hold public or elected office, nor does the issue here concern the
disbursement of public funds by the relevant individuals.

Turning to the individual’s expectations, there was or is no expectation
of the individuals concerned that their personal details would/will be
placed into the public domain.

 

For these reasons, we do not believe disclosure would constitute fair
processing.

 

(ii)            The individuals have not provided consent for this
disclosure. Condition 1 is, therefore, not met.

 

(iii)           When considering whether disclosure is justified under 
condition 6 of schedule 2 a balancing of the legitimate interests of the
applicant requesting the information with the effect of disclosure on the
data subjects, bearing in mind at the same time that disclosure of
information under the Freedom of Information Act is also a disclosure to
the world at large. Because the processing must be ‘necessary’ for this
condition to be satisfied, the public interest arguments must be greater
than the prejudice to the individual’s rights and freedoms or legitimate
interests.

 

The University routinely publishes relevant information and as you can see
his sets out the remuneration of all higher paid staff including
distinction awards paid to clinical academic staff and payments relating
to private consultancy work, both of which are funded from non-HEFCE
funds, but excluding employers pension contributions.

There is no evidence of widespread or substantial public interest in
disclosing the individual’s identity together with their salary, beyond
the public interest that is already served by the information already in
the public domain. Furthermore we cannot see how the disclosure of an
individual’s name and salary is necessary for your legitimate interests.
Therefore we do not believe that this part of the Condition is satisfied.

 

The second consideration in Condition 6 is whether disclosure would be
unwarranted because of prejudice to the individual’s rights and freedoms
or legitimate interests.

 

Disclosure would clearly have a prejudicial effect on the individuals as
there was no prior expectation that this personal information would be
placed into the public domain. Disclosure would therefore be unwarranted
because the interest in disclosure does not outweigh the prejudice to
their rights, freedoms and legitimate interests. We believe the anonymised
information already published satisfied any public interest in salary
information.

 

Consequently this information is withheld under section 40(2) by virtue of
section (3) (a), because disclosure would contravene the first data
protection principle.

 

Section 43

We take the view that the information requested is exempt from disclosure
pursuant to Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 43 states:

1)     Information is exempt information if it constitutes a trade secret.

2)     Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person (including the public authority holding it).

3)     The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent
that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to,
prejudice the interests mentioned in subsection (2).

For the purposes of the information requested we believe Section 43 (2) is
engaged.

A commercial interest relates to an organisation’s ability to participate
competitively in a commercial activity. As a centre of excellence it is
incumbent upon the University to continually attract, appoint and keep
highly qualified and experienced individuals to diverse and sometimes
specialist roles throughout its academic departments and professional
support services.

By virtue of the above the University is in direct competition for quality
employees, not only with UK based Universities but organisations and
employers in all sectors Universities throughout the world.

In considering whether releasing the information requested would be likely
to prejudice the University’s commercial interests, we have taken into
account the following:-

·         Does the information relate to, or could it impact on a
commercial activity?

Future negotiations with prospective employees may be prejudiced if
details of exact salaries of all employees and grades are placed into the
public domain. This may also apply to future negotiations with existing
employees who would become aware of the rewards paid to their peers.  It
would clearly put the university at a competitive disadvantage. In
addition, the University’s direct competitors would be provided with an
opportunity to revise their own salaries whilst the University remains
unaware of what competing employers offer, particularly those not subject
to freedom of information legislation.

It could also lead to tension between existing staff members and the
poaching of staff by other organisations.

o Is that commercial activity conducted in a competitive environment?

As stated, the University competes directly with Universities and other
organisations and employers on a national and international level.

o Would there be damage to reputation or business confidence?

 

We take the view that releasing details of its employee’s exact salaries
as opposed to salary banding would cause damage to its reputation. The
University considers such information to be intrinsic to the confidential
relationship between itself and its employees as such, disclosure would be
a damaging breach of trust in the relationship it has with its employees.

 

In terms of business confidence the University genuinely believes
releasing such information would impact upon its ability to attract,
recruit and keep staff in the future where there is belief by the
applicant that their exact salary details are to be made public.

o Is the information commercially sensitive?

Organisations compete by offering something different from their rivals.
The same applies to UCL. Should the University be placed in the position
of having to disclose information that is fundamental to the employer,
employee relationship the University would be unfairly disadvantaged when
compared with competing employing organisations.

o What is the likelihood of the prejudice being caused?

 

We have considered whether there is a likelihood of harm arising from
release of the information requested.

Taking all matters into consideration we have concluded there is a
significant risk that its commercial interests would be likely to be
prejudiced. These include:

o    the creation of tension between existing employees

o    the removal of any bargaining position for the university in
determining future salaries (making recruitment more difficult)

o    increased turnover of staff leading to higher recruitment costs and
potential instability

o    a potential resulting increase in overall staff salaries.

In considering the request, the University has had regard to the public
interest. The University accepts there is strong public interest in
openness and transparency. As such the University routinely publishes a
substantial amount of information in respect of its pay scales. That said,
the University is of the view the public interest will not be any better
or further served by releasing the exact salary details of each of its
employees.

 

Consequently this information is withheld under section 43 by virtue of
section (2) because disclosure under would be likely to prejudice the
commercial interests of UCL.

 

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including
for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for
the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for
example by publishing or issuing copies to the public, will require the
permission of the copyright owner.

 

If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a
complaint or request a review of our decision, please email
[9][email address]. Emails should include the words ‘Internal
Review’ in the subject and be marked For the Attention of the Vice Provost
Operations, alternatively you should write to:

 

Vice Provost Operations

University College London

1-19 Torrington Place

London WC1E 7HB

 

Please note, complaints and requests for internal review received more
than two months after the initial decision will not be handled.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given
below.  You should do this within two months of our final decision.

 

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact me using the details
provided in this letter and including the request reference number.

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act is available from
the Information Commissioner’s Office:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

SK9 5AF

 

Telephone         01625 545700

[10]www.ico.org.uk

 

 

Regards,

 

Alex Goudie

Data Protection & Freedom of Information Adviser

University College London

 

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