Greater Glasgow Student Tenants Union

Dear University of Stirling,

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
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.
I would like the information to be emailed to me in electronic form at the following email address: [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 under Section 21 of the act, 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.

Freedom of Information Unit, University of Stirling

Dear Mr Harrison,

We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information request and will respond as soon as possible.

Regards,

Freedom of Information Unit
University of Stirling

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Freedom of Information Unit, University of Stirling

Dear Mr Bott,

 

I refer to your Freedom of Information request regarding financial reports
submitted to the SFC.  The responses to your questions are below:

 

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:

 

[1]https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlo...

 

 

Information about the University’s income streams and financial forecasts
is commercially sensitive as the release of this information into the
public could substantially prejudice the commercial interest of the
University and our competitiveness in the Higher Education sector.
Accordingly this information is exempt from disclosure in terms of Section
33(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

 

The release of the information contained in the documents submitted to the
SFC in response to the call for Information, reference “SFC/C1/01/2021”
about the financial impact of COVID-19 on particular University income
streams, and subsequent financial impact on the institution as a whole
would provide an advantage to the University’s competitors.  Additionally,
requested forecast information provided to the SFC during a very fluid
period in not necessarily representative of current standing.  For these
reasons, releasing this information into the public could potentially
cause damage to the University both financially and reputationally
impacting on the University’s position within the higher education sector
and may also contravene the competition legislation which prohibits the
sharing of strategically useful information. Providing information to
competitors about the status of our income streams could provide them with
an advantage leading to a fall in students the University was able to
recruit, and a subsequent fall in income which would impact all University
activities.

 

The University is required to have regard to the public interest in the
application of this exemption however we believe the public interests in
maintaining the competitiveness of the University in the Higher Education
sector overrides the public interest in making the  public.

 

 

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)”

 

See exemption above with regards to forecasts submitted.

 

Published University of Stirling financial statements however can be found
at the following link:
[2]https://www.stir.ac.uk/about/professiona...

 

 

“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”

 

See exemption above regarding the additional financial returns.

 

Please find however a link to an SFC briefing note on COVID-19 Further and
Higher Education Financial Impacts:
[3]http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/covid-19/...

 

 

You have a right under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
(FoISA) to request a review of this decision by the University of
Stirling. If you wish to exercise this right, you must write to the
University to request a review within forty working days of receipt of
this decision. Your request for a review must be in writing and you must
specify your name and address for correspondence. You must also identify
the decision that you wish reviewed.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a review, you have a right
under the FoISA to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner. If you
wish to do so, you must appeal to the Commissioner within six months
following the date of receipt of the review notice.  Details on how to
appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner are available on their
website [4]www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

 

You also have the right to appeal to the Court of Session on a point of
law following a decision of the Commissioner.

 

Yours faithfully

Freedom of Information Unit

University of Stirling

 

 

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