Grants for last five financial years as open data

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sport England,

There is strong public interest in the good works done with Lottery and Exchequer funds. Sport England has an excellent track record in supporting grass roots and other sport, but it is hard to find out what grants have been made.

I wonder if you could provide me with a list of grants made by Sport England over the last five financial years. Or point me to where you publish such as a list as your website isn't very forthcoming.

Could you present the list as 'open data' or at a most basic level a .CSV file detailing: amount of grant, date, beneficiary, purpose, scheme under which grant awarded, address of beneficiary, company or charity number of beneficiary etc

Should you seek a precedent, I notice that BIG Lottery has recently published full grant information for the last ten years. In case you have any DPA concerns, can i refer you to the recent High Peak case where the ICO discuss the balance of interest with regard to people seeking funding from public bodies.
http://www.ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/...

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

I should prefer an electronic response through this service with a spreadsheet attachment containing the data.

Yours faithfully,

william perrin

Dear Sport England,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Sport England's handling of my FOI request 'Grants for last five financial years as open data'.

This is a simple query for a body that administers its spend responsibly and fully in line with central government policies on open ness and transparency. As a further comparator, the Arts Council publishes its grants, so there is no reason why sport england should not.

This request is long overdue. What little data i have been able to find on data.gov.uk returns an 'application error' when connecting to sport england.

If i don't hear from you promptly i shall go to the information commissioner.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/g...

Yours faithfully,

william perrin

FOI, Sport England

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Perrin

Please find attached my previous email of 27 November 2013, where I sent
you a link to our open data. Before I pass your request on, please would
you confirm receipt of this email and indicate whether you wish to pursue
your request for a review.

Yours sincerely

Lisa Percival
FOI & Data Protection Manager
T: 020 7273 1680
M: 07833 148614
E: [1][Sport England request email]

Creating sporting opportunities in every community
Sport England, 3rd Floor Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1B
4SE

show quoted sections

Dear Lisa Percival

thank you for this. I did not receive your communication of 27 november, nor was i hitherto able to find this data on your website and am grateful for the link.

I'll have a look at the data and get back to you shortly

I notice you don't include the address to which the grant was made

Yours sincerely,

william perrin

Owen Boswarva left an annotation ()

I'm not sure the Sport England spreadsheets are actually open data:

http://www.sportengland.org/funding/inve...

According to the site's copyright statement:

"Material on the site may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium for research, private study and personal non-commercial use. This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context."

http://www.sportengland.org/privacy-stat...

I would encourage Sport England to add a link to the Open Government Licence (or a similarly open licence) if it intends the spreadsheets to be re-usable as open data.

Dear FOI,

FAO Lisa Percival

thank you for your note of 27 january referring to your email of 27 november 2013 which i can confirm i did not receive and does not show up on this service. you might wish to investigate what happened to it.

I have considered your 27 november note which is helpful in so far as it goes, but falls some way short of my request in that it does not include
'address of beneficiary, company or charity number of beneficiary'
that i had requested.

I am certain that you hold this information in a database and find it very unlikely that there are legitimate reasons for withholding it. In particular the vast majority of your beneficiaries are organisations (the small grants scheme guidance stipulates that it will not fund individuals), not people.

So i should be grateful if you could provide this information in the same table as that already provided, or similar (ie extra columns of data).

I also note owen borswarva's comments about the open-ness of this data and you might want to take that into account too.

If that necessitates an internal review then please proceed and let me know what is going on.

Yours sincerely,

william perrin

FOI, Sport England

Dear Mr Perrin

Thank you for your email. I am sorry you did not find our response as
helpful as you would have liked. I will have another look at your request
and see whether it is possible to provide the information you are asking
for.

I will be in touch by the end of this week.

With kind regards

Lisa Percival
FOI & Data Protection Manager
T: 020 7273 1680
M: 07833 148614
E: [1][Sport England request email]

Creating sporting opportunities in every community
Sport England, 3rd Floor Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1B
4SE

show quoted sections

Lisa Percival, Sport England

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Perrin

 

I refer to your request for information.  You originally asked for:

 

a list of grants made by Sport England over the last five financial
years.   Or point me to where you publish such as a list as your website
isn't very forthcoming. 

 

Could you present the list as 'open data' or at a most basic level a .CSV
file detailing: amount of grant, date, beneficiary, purpose, scheme under
which grant awarded, address of beneficiary, company or charity number of
beneficiary etc

 

We referred you to our open data but you were not satisfied with this
information as it does not include “address of beneficiary, company or
charity number of beneficiary”.   As I have processed your request under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am required to set out my response
in a particular and very formal manner. This is attached. However, I
thought it would be helpful to put our response in plain English.

 

Address information

 

I’m afraid we cannot send you this information as some of the addresses
are personal addresses and it would be very difficult and time consuming
for Sport England to establish which addresses were personal and which
were not.  The reason why some addresses are personal is because some
applicants are organisations which are not tied to a particular location
and they will therefore use the address of one of their members.  In some
cases, it would not even be possible to tell from the information which we
hold whether the address was a personal address or an organisation’s
address and the only way we could establish for sure whether an address
was not personal would be to contact the applicant themselves.  The reason
we can’t disclose personal information is that this information is
protected by the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

Company or charity number

 

We are not prepared to disclose this information because it is already
available to you via Companies House or the Charity Commission.  You can
access this information here:

 

[1]http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/toolsTo...

[2]http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/find...

 

I hope this explains why we are not sending you the information you
requested.  If you are not happy with our response, you can write to:

 

Erin Stephens

Principal In House Solicitor

Sport England

3rd Floor Victoria House

Bloomsbury Square

London WC1B 4SE

 

in writing (including by letter or email) and your complaint will be dealt
with through our Internal Review procedure. 

 

Please describe the original request, explain your grounds for
dissatisfaction, and include an address for correspondence. 

 

If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner. He can be contacted at:

 

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF 
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[3]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lisa Percival
FOI & Data Protection Manager 

T: 020 7273 1680
M: 07833 148614
E: [4][Sport England request email]

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Dear Sport England,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Sport England's handling of my FOI request 'Grants for last five financial years as open data'.

It is with some reluctance i make this request - i have left three telephone messages to discuss this with the case officer that have not been returned. I am working for three sixty degree giving, a campaign to help grant makers make better grants by sharing information. I am also a serving member of one of the government's transparency panels on open data (crime and justice) and was a founder member of the first transparency panel.

Sport England has the public task of distributing very large quantities of quasi-public money raised from the national lottery. And therefore must be subject to a high level of transparency. It is reasonable to expect that Sport England publish in some detail information about those to whom it has made grants. In my view, as an purchaser of lottery tickets it is perfectly fair and reasonable for me to know where the money is going.

On personal addresses - you reject this on cost grounds. Considering whether s40 applies to addresses can't count towards cost limit. Nor can redacting. I refer you to paras 14 and 15 of version 1.1 of the ICO leaflet: 'Requests where the cost of compliance with a request exceeds the appropriate limit'.

I should point out that Sport Northern Ireland have had no difficulty in complying with a similar request and within 24 hours were able to supply a copy of their grants database with details of individual athletes redacted, but full addresses of clubs/organisations.

You also assert that publishing addresses that might be personal would breach data protection principles.In the High Peak case (Reference: FS50450700 19 Feb 2013) the ICO suggests that there is a reduced presumption of privacy for people in receipt of public funds and more generally

'there is a public interest in the scrutiny of how public money is spent, including the purchasing of goods or services from private sector organisations. Transparency of decisions on how public funds are spent will also generate confidence in the integrity of the procedures involved.'

and

'the Commissioner’s view on businesses which contract with public authorities is that they should expect those arrangements to (potentially) be subject to a greater degree of public scrutiny than where they contract with privately owned organisations. Where a public authority is purchasing goods or services, there is a public interest in ensuring that it gets value for money.'

'In general, the approach of the Commissioner is that information that relates to an individual in their professional capacity will be subject to a significantly lower expectation of privacy than information concerning their private life.'

Whilst grants might not be the 'purchase of goods or services', the ICO's principle is strong and applies here. In order to apply for funds from Sport England a person completing the form must in most circumstances be an office holder in the club or group concerned. Whilst it is possible that they might not receive financial reward from the grant, they formally bind the organisation to comply with sport england terms and conditions to the benefit of the organisation and so are acting in a professional capacity.

You do not explain what damage would befall individuals whose details might be published. People who administer sports clubs and groups are invariably well known in their community and I cannot see what harm would befall them if their details were published here.

There is a broader issue of risk management versus risk aversion in the administration of public funds. the sport england approach is highly risk averse and not in the spirit of the national audit office/hmt publication on risk management known as 'the orange book', now in its tenth year ISBN: 1-84532-044-1 .

On company/charity numbers: The grantees are not identified with any precision. There is no guarantee at all that the name given in the Sport England dataset corresponds to that registered at CH nor CC - any number of different holding arrangements may be employed. The company or charity numbers of the grantees are therefore not available to me through companies house nor the charities commission websites.

And, indeed if Sport England hold the company and or charity number in their database then there is no reason not to disclose it - it isn't personal information and it is, de facto already published with much other information at CH and CC. It should be a trivial administrative task to produce a copy of the data set already published with this field included.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/g...

Yours faithfully,

william perrin

FOI, Sport England

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Perrin

 

Thank you for your email requesting a review of your recent FOI request.

 

In accordance with Sport England's complaint policy, we will respond to
your request within twenty working days of receipt and no later than March
26th 2014.

 

Kind regards

 

Faye

 

Faye Davies
PA to Head of Public Policy

[1]Description: Description: Sport England

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Lisa Percival, Sport England

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Perrin

 

I understand my colleagues have been in touch regarding the escalation of
your complaint but I just  wanted to contact you personally to explain and
apologise for the lack of response to your voicemails last week.

 

Because of a planned operation I was on sick leave for a week which was
then extended to two and unfortunately while my emails were monitored, my
voicemails weren’t. Obviously this was an oversight on our part that
caused you much inconvenience and understandable frustration and I just
wanted to say sorry and assure you that in future provisions will be made
to avoid a similar situation arising.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lisa Percival
FOI & Data Protection Manager 

T: 020 7273 1680
M: 07833 148614
E: [1][Sport England request email]

[2]Description: Description: Sport England

Creating sporting opportunities in every community

Sport England, 3rd Floor Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1B
4SE

 

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Dear Lisa Percival,

I am very sorry to hear that you have been unwell and of course withdraw my remarks about the phone messages. I wish you a speedy recovery and thank you for your explanation.

Yours sincerely,

william perrin

Lisa Percival, Sport England

Dear Mr Perrin

Thank you for letting me know that we do not need to address the issue of
the telephone calls in our review and also for your kind wishes.

Regards

Lisa Percival
FOI & Data Protection Manager
T: 020 7273 1680
M: 07833 148614
E: [1][Sport England request email]

Creating sporting opportunities in every community
Sport England, 3rd Floor Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1B
4SE

show quoted sections

Erin Stephens, Sport England

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Perrin,

  

Thank you for your email to our Freedom of Information email address of 26
February 2014 which we have treated as a request for an Internal Review in
relation to your recent request for information (ref FOI – 00061 13/14). I
am sorry to hear that you were not happy with the way that Lisa handled
your request for information.

 

Internal Reviews are processed under our Complaints Procedure
[1]http://www.sportengland.org/about_us/com... .  I am the person
who is responsible for responding to requests for Internal Review.  My
role in conducting the Internal Review is to determine whether we have
handled your request satisfactorily and in accordance with the provisions
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’).  The Information
Commissioner advises that in conducting an Internal Review, a public
authority should thoroughly reconsider the decision and handling of the
request. For this reason, I have read the documents on the FOI file and
spoken with the FOI and Data Protection Manager. I have ensured that an
impartial and objective reconsideration of your request has taken place.

 

Your request and how we dealt with it

 

By email dated 26 November 2013 you requested:

·         A list of grants made by Sport England over the last five
financial years including:

·         Amount of grant

·         Date

·         Beneficiary

·         Purpose

·         Scheme under which grant awarded

·         Address of beneficiary

·         Company or charity number of beneficiary etc

 

On 27 November 2013, Lisa emailed you and provided you with the link to
Sport England’s published information about its awards:
[2]www.sportengland.org/funding/investments-weve-made/

 

In January 2014, Lisa was made aware that for some reason, you did not
receive the email which she sent on 27 November. On 27 January 2014, Lisa
resent you her email of 27 November 2013 which you confirmed receipt.

 

On 10 February 2014 you emailed our Freedom of Information address stating
that you believed that Lisa’s response of 27 November/27 January fell
short of your request as the information provided at the above web-link
did not include:

·         Address of beneficiary

·         Company or charity number of beneficiary

 

On 14 February 2014, Lisa provided her response in which she refused your
request for the above information. She considered the company or charity
number of beneficiary information to be available by other means (section
21) and refused the contact details because they constituted personal
information (section 40). On 26 February, you requested an Internal Review
of Lisa’s refusal to provide this information under these exemptions.

 

My review

 

I will deal with the two exemptions separately.

 

Section 21 – information available by other means

This section exempts information from the right of access under the Act if
that information is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means.
One of the principles of this exemption is that the Act “does not provide
alternative means of access to information which is already freely
available, either through commercial publishing operations or through
existing publicly funded provision. The Freedom of Information Act rights
are designed to supplement, and not to duplicate, the usual flow of
information to the public through the commercial electronic and print
media, and through existing library and archive services.”

 

Lisa’s email of 14 February provided you with the links to where any
company or charity number of beneficiary information could be found at
Companies House and the Charity Commission websites.

 

Your argument that ‘the grantees are not identified with any precision’ is
unfounded. Where an applicant is a company or charity, our award is made
to that company or charity. For the avoidance of doubt, our applicants are
not always companies or charities and can be trusts who would not be
registered at either Companies House or the Charity Commission. As you
have been provided with the complete list of beneficiaries, you will be
able to find the relevant company or charity numbers at the websites you
were provided with in Lisa’s response of 14 February.

 

Section 21 is an absolute exemption, which means that we are not required
to consider the public interest test, only whether the information is
available by other means.  If the information is available by other means,
Sport England is not obligated to provide you with that information. Sport
England has not claimed that we believe this information to be personal
information, only that it is available by other means. On that basis, I am
confident that your request for company or charity number of beneficiary
information was correctly handled and that this information was exempt
from disclosure in accordance with section 21.

 

Section 40 – personal information

Requests for the personal data of a third party (someone other than the
applicant) are exempt under section 40(2) of the Act in the following
circumstances:

·         if disclosure would breach any of the eight Data Protection
Principles in the Data Protection Act (an absolute exemption)

·         if disclosure would contravene section 10 of the Data Protection
Act, the right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress
(but subject to the public interest test)

·         if the data subject would not themselves be entitled to access
it under the Data Protection Act because one of the Data Protection Act
subject access exemptions apply (but subject to the public interest test)

 

There appears to be two threads to your argument on this exemption –
firstly that the cost limit should not apply to determining whether
section 40 applies to the beneficiary addresses; and secondly that even
where beneficiary addresses are found to be personal information, we
should apply a form of ‘public interest’ test and release the information.

 

You are correct where you state that we cannot reply on the cost limit in
respect of deciding whether exemptions apply, redacting the exempt
information, or (where applicable) carrying out the public interest test.
We can take into account the cost of extracting the requested information
from records. As Lisa advised on 14 February and you would have seen from
the information you have received, given the number of awards that Sport
England makes on an annual basis, an exercise to extract personal and
non-personal addresses from the records would exceed the cost limit.

 

I am however of the view that Lisa could have gone into greater detail
about why we were refusing your request under section 40. While I agree
with her conclusions, I have set out a more detailed explanation below.

 

Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows us to refuse to
disclose personal information to an enquirer where such disclosure would
breach one of the eight data protection principles set out in Schedule 1
of the Data Protection Act 1998.  If we did release this information we
would breach the first principle, which states that data should be
processed fairly and lawfully and that one of several conditions should
also apply.  In this case, we do not believe that the disclosure would be
fair and this means that we are obliged to refuse the disclosure, even if
it is lawful and one of the conditions applies. 

 

You mentioned that you thought a public interest test applies to section
40.  Section 40 is an absolute exemption, which means that there is no
need to carry out a public interest test.  However, since the Tribunal
case of Leapman, Brooke and Thomas, a modified public interest is applied
in relation to condition 6.  This condition allows a disclosure which is:

 

“necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data
controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are
disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted in any particular
case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate
interests of the data subject.”

 

In the case of Leapman, Brooke and Thomas, the Information Tribunal
interpreted this to mean that the public interest in disclosure of the
information had to be balanced against the individual’s right to privacy
and this has been described as a public interest test, even though it is
balancing the public interest in disclosure against private interests and
not the public interest in withholding the information, as is usually the
case. 

 

However, as we decided that the disclosure would not be fair, we did not
have to consider the conditions, including the “legitimate interests”
condition to which the “public interest test” attaches.  I hope it is now
clear why we did not consider the public interest test.

 

I note your comments regarding Sport Northern Ireland. As I am sure you
are aware from the information which you have been provided with from both
our organisations, that the number of grants distributed by Sport Northern
Ireland on an annual basis is dwarfed by Sport England. As such, they
would not have the same considerations in terms of the cost limits as
Sport England.

 

On that basis, I am confident that your request for information was
handled correctly and that all the information you requested was exempt
from disclosure in accordance with section 40.

 

Potential next steps

 

I believe that we have acted properly and in accordance with our
obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in dealing with your
request for information. I am sorry that this is not the answer you were
hoping for.

 

Having read and considered this response to your request for an Internal
Review, if you are still not satisfied, you have the right to complain to
the Information Commissioner. He can be contacted at:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK5 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[3]http://www.ico.gov.uk/

 

Kind regards,

Erin

 

 

Erin Stephens
Principal In-House Solicitor

T: 020 7273 1930
M: 07747763092
F: 020 7383 5740
E: [4][email address]

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