From which government, NGO or Private companies do universities receive funding’ for research?

Santino Pani made this Freedom of Information request to Open University

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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Open University should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Open University,

I am writing you for a Request of information, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) on the following topics: “From which government authorities, NGO or Private companies do universities receive funding’ for research?”, a research based on information of public interest, for journalism purposes.

Can you provide information to the following questions?
1) What is the total amount that the university received in funds for research, industrial consultancy fees and/or funded researches from government, NGO or private companies in the last five financial years (from 2013 till 2017)? The information should be broken down by organization or company name, year per year (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), in a CSV format, if possible.
2) A portfolio statement for the funds the university has investments in. If you do not have a copy of it, can you provide a list of funds and corresponding management companies? Details should be broken down year by year, for the last financial years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), provided in a CSV format, if possible.
3) Can you provide details of research projects (such as executive summary and details of reports’ publication, university department and researchers’ names) of projects whose funds exceed £50,000, in the same period of time (2013-2017)?

Yours faithfully,

Santino Pani

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Santino Pani

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Request.

Your request is receiving our attention and you will hear from us again within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely
Mel

Miss Mel Augusto | Information Rights Assistant
Equality, Diversity and Information Rights, Academic Policy and Governance
The Open University, Level 5, Charles Pinfold Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: +44 (0) 1908 653994

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Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Santino,

I am sorry but we unable to supply this information as the cost of compliance would exceed the appropriate limit prescribed under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act : 18 hours (two and a half days work) by one person at the flat rate of £25.00 per person (£450).

As this response sets out a refusal decision, you have a right to request an internal review. If you wish to do so please email [email address] with ‘Freedom of Information review’ in the subject line. You should explain why you believe the University has not observed the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Freedom of Information internal reviews are carried out by the University Secretary or his delegate.

Daniel Webb|Senior Manager Equality and Information Rights
Academic Policy & Governance
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: +44 (0)19808 653994
[email address] | http://www.open.ac.uk/foi/main/

Academic Policy & Governance
Providing expert, professional services

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Dear Mr Webb,

Thank you for your response. However, I am not satisfied of your refusal. By law, before responding with a refusal, especially in the circumstance of costs and time research’s limit, you should provide an appropriate assistance, offering a different opportunity. For example, you could split the requested information, answering to Q1, Q2 and Q3 in three different requests, having 18 hours’ time to respond to each one (I acknowledge that in this way I would have to wait 40 working days more to have a full response).
This is how other organizations are dealing with my request.

Can you then split this request so that you can provide all the information I need? If you cannot do that, I will ask to transfer this request to your internal FOI Reviewer, and if I don’t get satisfied, I will write to an external commission to investigate about this refusal.

I await to receive a further your response before I proceed on next step.

Your sincerely,

Santino Pani

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Mr Pani

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Request review.

Your request is receiving our attention and you will hear from us again within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely
Mel

Miss Mel Augusto | Information Rights Assistant
Equality, Diversity and Information Rights, Academic Policy and Governance
The Open University, Level 5, Charles Pinfold Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: +44 (0) 1908 653994

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Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Mr Pani

We are in the process of reviewing this now but to comprehensively calculate the time costs we need to know if you are only referring to UK sources, or also overseas sources for funding.

I look forward to your response.

Daniel

Daniel Webb|Senior Manager Equality and Information Rights
Academic Policy & Governance
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: +44 (0)19808 653994
[email address]

Academic Policy & Governance
Providing expert, professional services

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Dear Freedom-of-Information,

I need all the information, UK based and oversea. If the time/cost limits exceed the 18h/£450 pounds, you can split the request. This would allow you to have 20 days more to respond to each question (I acknoledge that I would wait longer).

On Q1 I need only the names of funders, both UK and oversea, and their fund ammount, based year by year. Same is also for consultancy fees.
The same is for Q2, about your portfolio of investments, which of course shoul include those that are oversea.

On Q3, if the funds exceed £50,000 pounds, I need more details.

Yours sincerely,

Santino Pani

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Pani,
 
I am writing to you in my capacity as the University Secretary’s delegate
for Information Rights Reviews and Complaints.  On the 2nd of February
2018 you submitted the following Freedom of Information request:
 
1)The total amount that the university received in funds for research,
industrial consultancy fees and/or funded researches from government, NGO
or private companies in the last five financial years (from 2013 till
2017)? The information should be broken down by organization or company
name, year per year (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), in a CSV format, if
possible.
 
2) A portfolio statement for the funds the university has investments in.
If you do not have a copy of it, can you provide a list of funds and
corresponding management companies? Details should be broken down year by
year, for the last financial years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017),
provided in a CSV format, if possible.
 
3) Details of research projects (such as executive summary and details of
reports’ publication, university department and researchers’ names) of
projects whose funds exceed £50,000, in the same period of time
(2013-2017)?
On the first consideration of your request, the Open University held that
releasing the personal data of the proposer would breach section 12 of the
Freedom of Information Act.
 
The Open University replied on the 19th of February exempting the
application under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. You
requested a review on the 19th of February. I have now reviewed your
request and the application of the exemption as set out below:
 
Question 1
 
We estimate that it would take over 8 working days to extract this
information.  The excessive time taken is based on extraction for 2013-14
where funding information was not stored on a database. The information
for 2013-14 would have to be extracted from paper files at an estimated 30
minutes each for over 150 files.
 
Question 2
 
In respect of your second question (portfolio statement of investments) I
consider that The Open University incorrectly applied the exemption under
section 12. The Open University aggregated your three separate questions
as a single Freedom of Information request; however ICO guidance and case
law makes it clear that multiple requests (ICO guidance paragraphs 41-43)
submitted in one piece of correspondence should be treated as separate
requests for the purpose of section 12 (subject to some exemptions as set
out below).  In this case I consider that question 2 should have been
considered as a separate request; as we estimate this task fell under the
prescribed limit, we should have extracted this data. I apologise for this
misapplication of the exemption and set down the information below:
 
Investment portfolio.
(2013-14) 31/7/14
 
Govt stock                              £88.7m
Investment Funds                £80.1m     ( Baillie Gifford and Ruffer)
Money Market Funds        £122.7m   (Blackrock and Insight)
Banks                                         £100.8m  ( Santander,
Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest)
 
(2014-15) 31/7/15
 
Govt stock                                £125.7m
Investment Funds                £87.9m (Baillie Gifford and Ruffer)
Money Market Funds          £99.2m (Blackrock and Insight)
Banks                                          £72.5m  (Santander,
Barclays, HSBC and NatWest)
 
(2015-16)31/7/16
 
Govt stock                                £91.8m
Investment Funds                £94.8m ( Baillie Gifford and Ruffer)
Money Market Funds         £101m  (Blackrock and Insight)
Banks                                         £95.9m (Santander,Lloyds,
Barclays, HSBC and NatWest) 
 
(2016-17) 31/7/17
 
Govt stock                              £91.4m
Investment Funds               £105.3m (Baillie Gifford and Ruffer)
Money Market Funds        £114m     ( Blackrock and Insight)
Banks                                        £70.7m   (Santander, Lloyds,
Barclays, HSBC and NatWest)
 
Question 3
 
We estimate that it would take over 38 working days to extract this
information. As for question 1 extraction for 2013-14 would be excessive
because the files are not stored in a database. In addition the transition
to the database wasn’t completed in 2014-15 so extraction here would also
be time consuming. Extracting the information about publications would
also be onerous as it would involve contacting academics, some of whom may
have left the University at an estimated 1 hour per project for
approximately 270 projects.
 
Although both questions 1 and 3 individually exceed the time limit we have
considered them as a single issue in respect of section 12. Although, as I
have said earlier, multiple requests submitted in one piece of
correspondence should be treated as separate requests for the purpose of
section 12; regulation 5 of the fees regulation (ICO guidance paragraphs
39-40) states that separate requests can be aggregated together if it is
made by one person/one organisation, within 60 days and for the same or
similar information. We consider that questions 1 and 3 are sufficiently
similar to be aggregated as one request.
 
However The Open University is committed to our obligation under section
16 of the FOI Act to provide advice and assistance. You may therefore wish
to bring your request within the time limit by considering narrowing your
request to 2014-17 and limiting your remit to question 3 to avoid details
of publications and contact names.
 
In conclusion, my decision in respect of the requested review is that the
University should maintain the refusal of section 12 in respect of
questions 1 and 3.
 
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this review, you are entitled
to raise a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.  Details
of how to do this can be found at [1]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/
Application.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Tony O’Shea-Poon
 
 
Tony O’Shea-Poon | Director
Academic Policy & Governance
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
[2]Academic Policy & Governance
Providing expert, professional services
 
 

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