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FOI Request: Funding

Conor Matchett made this Freedom of Information request to Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh as part of a batch sent to 15 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

We're waiting for Conor Matchett to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh,

I am writing to you to request the following information.

1) Any internal correspondence between members of the senior management team on the topic of financial losses due to Covid-19, sent between July 1 and present.

2) Any letters or emails or other correspondence sent by any member of the senior management team to any elected official or civil servant in the Scottish Government between July 1 and present.

3) A breakdown of the predicted income or losses within accommodation services in
3a) 2019/20 academic year
3b) 2020/21 academic year
3c) And any revisions to those figures as guidance on students returning to universities changed from the Scottish Government.

Yours faithfully,
Conor Matchett

Freedom of Information Act, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Dear Conor,

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - REF: FOI 20-165

I refer to your request for information which is being managed under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“the FOISA”). Please find the University’s response below.

Your right to seek a review of how your information request was managed

If you are not satisfied with the University’s response and/or our reasoning, you have the right to request a review of our decision. The time lines in which this right is available are set out in section 20(5)(a) and (b) FOISA. In broad terms the right to seek a review must be exercised within 40 working days of receiving this response.

Any request for review should be put in writing or some other permanent form and sent to the University, for example by email to [Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh request email].

A request for a Review should:

a) state your name and address;
b) describe the nature of your original request; and
c) explain the reasons why you are dissatisfied with our response.

If you remain dissatisfied with how your request for information has been dealt with following Review, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) for a decision. In the event of an appeal to the SIC, the Commissioner will generally only be able to investigate the matters raised in the request for review. Details on how to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner is available on their website: www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

Best wishes,

Queen Margaret University FOI

________________________________________

1) Any internal correspondence between members of the senior management team on the topic of financial losses due to Covid-19, sent between July 1 and present.

See notes below.

2) Any letters or emails or other correspondence sent by any member of the senior management team to any elected official or civil servant in the Scottish Government between July 1 and present.

As the information requested has not been specified, this request has been interpreted as relating to correspondence on the financial impact of Covid-19 on the University generally, and the impact on student accommodation specifically.

Within the timeframe specified and on the topics above, the University holds no relevant correspondence with elected officials or civil servants within the Scottish Government. Notice is given that section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 applies.

3) A breakdown of the predicted income or losses within accommodation services in
3a) 2019/20 academic year
3b) 2020/21 academic year
3c) And any revisions to those figures as guidance on students returning to universities changed from the Scottish Government.

See notes below.

Notes

The information requested under points one and three is being withheld under section 33(1)(b), Commercial Interests of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The University holds internal correspondence on the financial implications of the Covid-19 emergency on each of its business units, including its accommodation services. It is judged that disclosure of such detailed information would be likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Queen Margaret University. The University operates within a competitive environment and it would be damaging for detailed financial information of this sort to be released into the public domain.

It is highly likely that the withheld information would provide intelligence that could be used by other educational establishments and commercial entities to more effectively compete or negotiate with the University, and this would have a significant detrimental effect on the University’s commercial interests.

The application of the commercial interest exemption is subject to the public interest test. The University accepts that there is a public interest in transparency in terms of understanding the finances of the University. This has to be balanced however, against a greater public interest in the University being able to operate within a competitive market and being allowed to carry out its operations as effectively as possible.

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Dear Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh's handling of my FOI request 'FOI Request: Funding'.

The information exempted in your response to me I believe should be released under the public interest test. I would argue that it is information which is critically important to be made public due to the nature of the Covid-19 and its impact on universities both financially and personally for students.

If this information is between senior management and the Scottish Funding Council this should be released. Other universities have already released this information and have therefore set a precedent in doing so. In addition to this, other universities have also released accommodation income details such as those I have requested.

To not release that information would to err in the judgement of public interest.

In any case, it should be made public in order for accountability and transparency, not least for potential future students at the university who should be able to make a fully informed decision about where they study.

Yours faithfully,

Conor Matchett

Hynd, Irene, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Matchett

 

Please find attached the University's response to your request for a
review of your recent FOI: reference FOI20-165.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Irene Hynd

 

 

Irene Hynd, MA (Hons)

University Secretary

Queen Margaret University Edinburgh

Queen Margaret University Drive

Musselburgh, East Lothian

EH21 6UU

Telephone 0131 474 0000

email: [email address]

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh is a registered charity: Scottish
Charity Number SC002750.

http://www.qmu.ac.uk

 

 

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Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh is a registered charity: Scottish
Charity Number SC002750.

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Conor Matchett please sign in and let everyone know.