Fees paid to Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

I wish to know how much Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford were paid for their work on the programme 'Nick and Margaret, We All Pay Your Benefits'.

Yours faithfully,

David Howarth

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Howarth,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 11th July 2013. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20130995.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Howarth,

Please find attached the response to your request for information, reference RFI20130995.

Yours sincerely,

The Information Policy and Compliance Team

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
BC2B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP, UK

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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David Howarth left an annotation ()

This was their response:

"Dear Mr Howarth,

Freedom of Information request – RFI20130995

Thank you for your request to the BBC of 11 July 2013, seeking the following information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

“I wish to know how much Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford were paid for their work on the
programme 'Nick and Margaret, We All Pay Your Benefits'.”

The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes
of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to
you and will not be doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that
information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act
if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not
required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information
that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.1

The limited application of the Act to public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of
expression and the rights of the media under Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights
(“ECHR”). The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on
all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been recognised by the
European Court of Human Rights. Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in
enabling the media to fulfil this function."

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So, to get this straight, I'm not allowed to know how much of MY LICENCE FEE is paid to these two people.

Just how much use is this country's freedom of information legislation? This has been my first FOI request, and I'm pretty disillusioned.

Would anyone here who has more experience than I do care to offer some advice?

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of British Broadcasting Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Fees paid to Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford'.

My request was as follows:

"Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

I wish to know how much Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford were paid
for their work on the programme 'Nick and Margaret, We All Pay Your
Benefits'.

Yours faithfully,

David Howarth"

In view of the fact that I am a TV licence payer and as such helped to pay these people, I feel I have a right to know what their fee was.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

David Howarth

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Howarth,

Thank you for your email below, requesting an internal review of RFI20130995.

The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF telephone 01625 545 700. www.ico.org.uk

Please note that should the Information Commissioner’s Office decide that the Act does cover this information, exemptions under the Act might then apply.

The BBC considers that the derogation protects the journalistic, artistic and literary integrity of the BBC by securing a creative and journalistic space for programme makers to produce material for broadcast free from interference by those who would seek to influence our output.

The BBC's understanding of the scope of the derogation has been informed by numerous cases, including the recent consideration by the Supreme Court, in the case of Sugar (deceased) v British Broadcasting Corporation and another [2012] UKSC 4, of the Schedule 1 'derogation' for the public service broadcasters in relation to journalism. Lord Phillips noted the BBC’s ‘important right to freedom of expression’ and the link between Schedule 1 of the Act and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Additionally, as also recognised by the Supreme Court, it recognizes that public service broadcasters caught by the Act (BBC, Channel 4, S4C, MG Alba) should not be placed at a disadvantage to their commercial competitors.

In practical terms, the BBC has interpreted this to mean that we are not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC's output or information that supports or is closely associated with these activities. This extends to programme finance information, such as production and talent costs, as considered by the High Court in BBC v Information Commissioner [2009] EWHC 2348 (Admin).

You might find it useful to review the Decision Notices from the Information Commissioner, regarding the application of the derogation to information held by the BBC. These Decision Notices can be found at the following URL: http://www.ico.org.uk/enforcement/decisi... - using the search function, if you select the BBC as the 'Authority' and FOI 1 as the 'Section' you will find a number of relevant Decision Notices.

Yours sincerely,

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London, W12 7TP

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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