Financial Reports submitted to the SFC

Greater Glasgow Student Tenants Union made this Freedom of Information request to The Glasgow School of Art

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The request was partially successful.

Greater Glasgow Student Tenants Union

Dear The Glasgow School of Art,

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
I understand that I do not have to specify particular file or document names and it is the relevant department's responsibility to provide the information I require. If you need further clarification please contact me by email at [email address]
If you cannot provide the complete responses to my requests within the scope mentioned below, please provide what available information you have and an explanation for why you cannot provide the data requested.
I ask that you justify all omissions by reference to specific exemptions of the act.
I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees.
If there are any omissions due to the data having already been published, I would politely request that the information is clearly signposted in the response to my request, in the interests of accessibility.
As the information requested in i. and ii. has already been compiled, and recently at that, I would hope this would avoid any omissions under Section 12.
I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to your response within 20 working days as outlined by the statute.

Information Requested:

i.
All of the information submitted to the Scottish Funding Council on 18/01/2021 in response to the Call For Information, reference “SFC/CI/01/2021” , outlined in the following:

http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/callsfori...

ii. All of the information submitted to the SFC outlined in the Call For Information, reference “SFC/CI/01/2021” document under points 2. and 3. (see above for the website address):

“2.Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities provided two main financial 2.returns to SFC in the course of the year:•Forecasts submitted at the end of June (outturn forecast for the current year and forecasts for the following three years). •Annual accounts submitted at the end of December (audited financial statements and supporting reports by institutions’ audit committee, internal and external auditors)”

“3. As result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SFC requested institutions to provide 3.additional financial returns, comprising updated forecasts for 2019-20 and 2020-21, by the end of April and the end of July 2020. These replaced the main 2020 Strategic Plan Forecast return. Institutions also provided updated financial forecasts at the end of November 2020”

Kind Regards,
Harrison Bott
Greater Glasgow Student Tenants’ Union.

Foicoor, The Glasgow School of Art

Dear Harrison

Ref: FOI/20/21/28

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request, which was received by Glasgow School of Art on 23 January 2021.

We will respond to your request as soon as possible, and no later than 18 February 2021, pending any clarification we may need to seek from you.

Kind Regards

Academic Quality Office

Glasgow School of Art | 167 Renfrew Street | Glasgow G3 6RQ
E: [GSA request email]

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Foicoor, The Glasgow School of Art

Dear Harrison

Ref: FOI/20/21/28

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which was received by Glasgow School of Art on 23 January 2021. GSA has reviewed your request and realised the need to seek clarification from you.

"2.Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities provided two main financial 2.returns to SFC in the course of the year:*Forecasts submitted at the end of June (outturn forecast for the current year and forecasts for the following three years). *Annual accounts submitted at the end of December (audited financial statements and supporting reports by institutions' audit committee, internal and external auditors)"

The quotation above is purely an extract from the SFC circular providing background on the pattern of information submissions in pre-COVID years, and does not seem to constitute a request for any particular information. Can you therefore clarify exactly what information you require please?

Until we receive clarification, GSA will consider this information request to be suspended. The twenty working days to respond will commence when we receive your clarification.

If we do not hear from you within thirty days of the date of this email, we will assume that you are no longer seeking access to this information and will take no further action.

Kind Regards

Academic Quality Office

Glasgow School of Art | 167 Renfrew Street | Glasgow G3 6RQ
E: [GSA request email]

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Greater Glasgow Student Tenants Union

Dear Foicoor,

The quotation does in fact state the information requested, but I'll reformat it in the interests of accessibility.

"2.Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities provided two main financial returns to SFC in the course of the year:
*Forecasts submitted at the end of June (outturn forecast for the current year and forecasts for the following three years).
*Annual accounts submitted at the end of December (audited financial statements and supporting reports by institutions' audit committee, internal and external auditors)"

Therefore it is the information marked by the asterisks in the quotation above that is being requested in that particular section, if you could provide this data for 2019 onwards, that would be much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,
Harrison Bott
Greater Glasgow Student Tenants Union

Foicoor, The Glasgow School of Art

Dear Harrison

Ref: FOI/20/21/28

Thank you for clarifying - I will pass your message on.

Kind Regards

Academic Quality Office

Glasgow School of Art  |  167 Renfrew Street  | Glasgow G3 6RQ
E: [GSA request email]

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Foicoor, The Glasgow School of Art

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    GSA Fianancial Statements for Year ending 31 Jul 2020 Final version wi....pdf

    4.6M Download View as HTML

Dear Harrison

Ref: FOI/20/21/28

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request, which was received by Glasgow School of Art on 23 January 2021 and clarified on 29 January 2021.

The response below/attached was received from GSA's Director of Finance:

I am writing in response to your request for information regarding Financial Reports submitted to the SFC, as follows:

i. All of the information submitted to the Scottish Funding Council on 18/01/2021 in response to the Call For Information, reference "SFC/CI/01/2021" ,

ii. All of the information submitted to the SFC outlined in the Call For Information, reference "SFC/CI/01/2021" document under points 2. and 3. (see above for the website address):

"2.Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities provided two main financial returns to SFC in the course of the year:
. Forecasts submitted at the end of June (outturn forecast for the current year and forecasts for the following three years).
. Annual accounts submitted at the end of December (audited financial statements and supporting reports by institutions' audit committee, internal and external auditors)"

"3. As result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SFC requested institutions to provide additional financial returns, comprising updated forecasts for 2019-20 and 2020-21, by the end of April and the end of July 2020. These replaced the main 2020 Strategic Plan Forecast return. Institutions also provided updated financial forecasts at the end of November 2020"

I can confirm that all of the information requested is held by Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

I can further confirm that in relation to your request for copies of Annual Accounts, that I have attached to this response, GSA's Annual Report and Financial Statements to 31 July 2020 and can advise that those for previous years can be found at https://www.gsa.ac.uk/about-gsa/key-info....

In respect of all of your other requests, relating to Financial Forecasts, I consider that the information requested is exempt from publication under the exemption provided in in Section 33(1)(b) Commercial Interests and the economy of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

GSA's financial forecasts include detailed estimates in relation to prospective student numbers and budgets. As GSA operates in a competitive market, this information could be used by competitor institutions for commercial advantage making it harmful for detailed financial information of this sort to be released into the public domain. In addition, GSA's financial forecasts include detail on strategic initiatives to grow income from non-public sources and can include detail regarding future investment and borrowing plans. It is judged that disclosure of the requested information would be likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of GSA.

Section 33(1)(b) of FOISA does not provide an absolute exemption to the general entitlement to information. GSA has therefore considered whether, notwithstanding the exemption, it is in the public interest to release the information.

GSA has considered the public interest by applying the "public interest test". That is, GSA has balanced whether the release of the information is in the public interest against whether disclosure would substantially prejudice its own, or another person's, commercial interests. GSA acknowledges that there is a public interest in the finances of GSA and who it does business with. However, the public interest lies in ensuring the ongoing success of GSA by being able to operate and compete effectively in all areas of its business.

GSA concludes that the "public interest test", as required when applying Section 33 of FOISA, is met as the public interest served by protecting real, actual and significant harm to the commercial interests of GSA by withholding the information is greater than the public interest in its release. GSA acknowledges the public interest in making sure that GSA's finances are open and accountable, but believes that this is best achieved by consulting GSA's Financial Statements, the most recent copy of which I have supplied.

This concludes our response to your Freedom of Information request.

Your right to seek a review: -

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which the Glasgow School of Art has dealt with your request, you have the right to ask us to review our actions and decisions. If you wish to request a review, please contact Mrs Janet Allison, Academic Registrar, [email address] or email: [GSA request email] within 40 working days. Your request must be in a recordable format (letter, email, audio tape, etc.). You will receive a full response to your request for review within 20 working days of its receipt. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

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The Commissioner recommends that you appeal online.

Other ways to appeal include:

By email to: [email address]

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Kind Regards

Academic Quality Office

Glasgow School of Art | 167 Renfrew Street | Glasgow G3 6RQ
E: [GSA request email]

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