Greater Glasgow Student Tenants Union

Dear Royal Conservatoire of Scotland,

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.

foi, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Bott,

 

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has received your request and we will
respond as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Cochrane
Head of Information Services 
[email address]

[1][IMG]

Please continue to keep our community safe and be Covid considerate. You
can [2]read more about how we’re supporting our students and staff at this
time.

There’s never been a more challenging time for the performing arts. You
can support the artists of the future by donating to the [3]RCS
Scholarship Fund.

 

show quoted sections

foi, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Bott,

 

Thank-you for your request, received by the Royal Conservatoire of
Scotland. Please find our response as follows.

 

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...

 

RCS will be applying an exemption. Please see below.

 

 

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).

RCS will be applying an exemption. Please see below.

 

•Annual accounts submitted at the end of December (audited financial
statements and supporting reports by institutions’ audit committee,
internal and external auditors)”

 

This information is publically available via our website at:
[1]https://www.rcs.ac.uk/why-rcs/vision-and...

 

 

“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”

 

The RCS is applying the following FoI(S)A exemptions to this request as
follows.

 

We have not provided the information requested under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 as we consider this information to be
exempt from disclosure under  Section 30(b), as disclosure would, or would
be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice
and the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
Additionally, and as a consequence, an exemption under Section 30(c) is
applied, as its disclosure would be likely to prejudice substantially the
effective conduct of public affairs. Section 30 of the Act sets out that
information is exempt if its disclosure under this Act: (b) would, or
would be likely to, inhibit substantially – (i) the free and frank
provision of advice, or, (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the
purposes of deliberation; (c) would otherwise prejudice substantially, or
be likely to prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public
affairs.

 

We are of the opinion that the disclosure of this information would be
likely to discourage colleagues and advisors from providing advice,
guidance and opinions in a free and frank manner, and engaging
unreservedly in debating issues in a confidential environment. This would,
therefore, adversely affect the RCS’s ability to provide a private space
within which to deliberate decisions affecting its ability to operate at
the highest level and ultimately to perform its functions. Disclosure of
information which includes financial predictions and forecasts, (not
actual financial losses or gains), and the various options and decisions
under discussion would mean that the free and frank provision of advice
and debate is likely to be substantially inhibited, if not severely
compromised. Disclosure is, therefore, likely to have the effect of
inhibiting the RCS’s ability to receive unreserved advice and deliberate
issues effectively, which is likely to result in its ability to
effectively conduct its affairs being adversely affected.

 

This exemption is also subject to the public interest test. When applying
the public interest test, we have considered whether the public interest
in disclosing the information to demonstrate openness and accountability,
is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining the exemption to
ensure that the RCS is able to effectively perform its functions. We
consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs
the public interest in disclosing the information, in that there are other
mechanisms which ensure openness and accountability, and that information
available subsequent to decisions being made, meets this need. We are of
the opinion that there are no mitigating factors to justify the
potentially adverse effect on the RCS’s ability to encourage the necessary
and required input into the decision making process and the resultant
prejudice to its ability to effectively conduct its affairs.

 

Further, the RCS is applying a Section 33(1)(b) exemption to the requested
information.  Information is exempt under section 33(1)(b) if its
disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the
commercial interests of any person or public authority.

RCS is of the opinion that if released, this information would give an
insight into RCS financial forecasts and position during a period of
global instability and uncertainty. Putting this projected information
into the public domain would give an advantage to the RCS's competitors
and would substantially prejudice RCS’s ability to compete in the market
place. If this occurred, it would have a reputational impact on the RCS
itself which could lead to loss of confidence from applicants and
students, allow competitive advantage to our competitors and prejudice
substantially the commercial interest of RCS.

 

This exemption is also subject to the public interest test. When applying
the public interest test, we have considered whether the public interest
in disclosing the information, is outweighed by the public interest in
maintaining the exemption to ensure that the RCS is able to effectively
perform its functions and public task. We consider that the public
interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in
disclosing the information, as there are other mechanisms which ensure
openness and accountability, and that information available subsequent to
decisions being made, meets this need. RCS is of the opinion that there
are no mitigating factors to justify the potentially adverse effect on the
RCS commercial interest.

 

I do hope this satisfies your request in full, but please do let me know
if we can offer any further assistance.

 

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Cochrane
Head of Information Services 
[email address]

[2][IMG]

Please continue to keep our community safe and be Covid considerate. You
can [3]read more about how we’re supporting our students and staff at this
time.

There’s never been a more challenging time for the performing arts. You
can support the artists of the future by donating to the [4]RCS
Scholarship Fund.

 

If you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt
with, you are entitled, in the first instance, to request a review of the
decision made by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Should you wish to
request such a review, please write to me within 40 working days of
receiving this response. If, after having been informed of the review
panel’s decision, you are still not satisfied, you are then entitled to
appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner. Contact details are:
Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle,
Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS, telephone 01334 464 610.
Direct appeals can be made on the Commissioner online appeals service at:
[5]www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

 

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