Fife Council Pension Fund Investments

The request was successful.

Dear Fife Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what the Fife 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...

Fife Council

Dear Mr Jones,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002 – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Thank you for your information request received on 19/05/2017 our reference: 17363. This is being dealt with in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

We are presently assessing your request and may be in touch soon to ask for further clarification or to offer advice and assistance if we are not able to fulfil your request in its present form.

The legislation allows us up to 20 working days from the date that we receive a valid request, including any clarification we require, to make a final response. We will be in touch within 20 working days of receipt of your initial request to provide our response or to seek clarification where necessary. We hope to provide you with the information you are looking for at an earlier date where possible.

Yours sincerely,

S Guthrie
Information Management Request Team

Shannon Guthrie, Fife Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Jones,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002 – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

 

I refer to your email dated and received on 19/05/2017, our reference:
FCIR 17363. 

 

I have attached the information you requested and trust that it meets your
requirements.

 

I would like to draw your attention to the copyright situation in relation
to the material.

 

The council holds the copyright for all of the material 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
derogatory manner or in a misleading context. The source of the material
must be acknowledged as Fife Council and the title of the document must be
included when being reproduced as part of another publication or service.

 

If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your request, you
have the right to request a review of the decision. Please write to: Head
of Legal Services, Finance & Corporate Services, Fife House, North Street,
Glenrothes, KY7 5LT or e-mail to [email address]. The law provides
for you to make this request up to 60 working days from when we received
your enquiry or 40 working days from when you receive this correspondence
whichever is the later date. Where the outcome of the review fails to
resolve the matter to your complete satisfaction you have the right to
apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a
decision.www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

 

Fife Council will consider and seek to resolve any request to the Head of
Legal Services that falls outside these time scales.

 

Yours sincerely

 

S Guthrie

Information Management Request Team

                

 

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