Income from China

Dominic Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to University College London

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

The request was successful.

Dear University College London,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I would like to ask what proportion of the college's income comes from China (whether from Chinese students, research grants or other means).

Yours faithfully,

Mr D L Taylor

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
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Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Taylor,

Thank you for your below request for information.

Could you please confirm the time period you would like this information for?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address]; Data Protection: [email address]; FOI: [UCL request email].
Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44 (0)7525285822

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm.

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Dear Ms Sultan

I would like the information for the most recent financial year for which it is available.

Yours sincerely,

Dominic Taylor

Dear Finance.FOI Requests,

Do you require any further information in connection with my Freedom of Information Request 'Income from China' in order to be able to provide a response to this request?

Yours sincerely,

Dominic Taylor

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should
expect a response from us within 20 working days. 

“You will appreciate that all information requests place some degree of
demand on a public authority’s resources in terms of costs and staff time
and that UCL may need to prioritise resources to other areas, or adapt its
usual approach to information compliance work, in order to meet the
unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.

 

Therefore, we need to advise you may experience delays in receiving
responses to information rights requests during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic.”

 

For details on how we use your personal information, please see UCL's
general privacy
notice: [1]www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/privacy/general-privacy-notice
Data Protection & FOI
Legal Services
UCL

References

Visible links
1. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/pri...

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Taylor,

Thank you for your e-mail.

We're currently working on our response to your request and I don't think we need any further information from you at this stage.

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address]; Data Protection: [email address]; FOI: [UCL request email].
Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44 (0)7525285822

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm.

show quoted sections

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Taylor,

 

Apologies for the delay in responding to your request for information.

 

We have completed the compilation of information in response to your
request.

 

We can confirm that we do hold information of the description specified in
your request.

 

Your request

 

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I would like to ask what
proportion of the college's income comes from China (whether from Chinese
students, research grants or other means).

 

Clarification received

 

I would like the information for the most recent financial year for which
it is available.

 

Our response

 

The requested information regarding the proportion of the University’s
income which comes from China has been withheld under Section 43(2).
Section 43(2) states that: “Information is exempt information if its
disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding
it).”

 

This information has been withheld owing to the prejudice that would occur
to UCL’s commercial interests on account of competitive institutions
becoming aware of UCL’s income from China.

Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and as such a public interest test
must be performed to establish the harm that would occur from disclosure,
and where the balance of interest lies.

Please see below for the outcome of this public interest test.

Public interest test for the application of Section 43(2):

Arguments in favour of disclosure:

-        Release of information concerning how a public authority spends
its money is always considered to be in the public interest.

-        The general public should be aware that value for money is being
obtained by the public authority, and that financial operations are being
conducted appropriately.

-        There is a general public interest in transparency and openness
with regards to decisions made by public authorities.

Arguments against disclosure:

-        UCL competes in a competitive market environment in terms of
recruiting high calibre students to the University’s student population.
UCL compete with other higher education institutions nationally and
globally for this talent.

-        To disclose the information requested would affect UCL’s ability
to be competitive by providing other institutions with otherwise
un-disclosed knowledge concerning UCL’s income sources. This information
would alert institutions UCL competes against of this information, and who
could then react on this basis. For instance, if they were to become aware
of UCL’s current income from Chinese students, other higher education
institutions could adopt more aggressive marketing strategies directed
specifically at Chinese students to counter this.

-        A negative impact on UCL’s market position would make it harder
for public money to be utilised prudently and would have the effect of
distorting the marketplace UCL operates in. Under UK law UCL is classed as
an ‘undertaking’ and so engaging in the exchange of commercially valuable
information with competitors, which an FOI disclosure would be considered
as, would leave UCL open to investigation and possible punitive action by
competition authorities.

For the reasons above, we believe the balance of public interest tips in
favour of withholding this information from disclosure.

If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a
complaint or request a review of our decision, please email
[1][email address]. Emails should include the words ‘Internal
Review’ in the subject and be marked For the Attention of the Chief
Operating Officer, alternatively you should write to:

 

Chief Operating Officer

University College London

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given below.
You should do this within two months of our final decision. (Please note,
complaints and requests for internal review received more than two months
after the initial decision will not be handled.)

 

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact me using the details
provided in this email and including the request reference number.

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act is available from
the Information Commissioner’s Office:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

SK9 5AF

 

01625 545700

[2]www.ico.org.uk

[3][email address]

 

Kind regards,

 

Mehwish Sultan

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser

University College London

Legal Services

E: [4][email address]; Data Protection: [5][email address];
FOI: [6][UCL request email].

Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44
(0)7525285822

 

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to
Friday 8am – 4pm.

 

References

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6. mailto:[UCL request email]

Dear University College London,

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

Thank you for your recent response to my Freedom of Information request (dated 2nd
August) concerning income from China and for your thorough explanation as to why you are
withholding this information under Section 43(2). I would like to challenge your position for
the reason explained below.

As well as the arguments that you presented in favour of disclosure, I would add that it is in
the interests of the general public to be aware of potential influence that the Chinese
government could exert through funding (or withholding thereof) on the university’s work. For
this very reason, I understand that the US government is now insisting that American
academic institutions disclose the funding that they receive from China.

The issue is particularly pertinent in the case of UCL given the large number of UCL
academics that sit on SAGE and Independent SAGE , which exert such an enormous
influence on UK government policy and thereby on the freedoms of the general public. Given
that these two groups have consistently advocated the novel, and highly controversial,
‘lockdown’ approach to managing the spread of infectious disease, as pioneered by the
authoritarian Chinese government in Wuhan, I believe that it is in the public interest for UCL
to declare any commercial interests that it may have with the said government.

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

A hard copy of this message has also been sent to UCL's Chief Operating Officer.

Yours faithfully,

Dominic Taylor

Ryland, Fiona, University College London

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Taylor

 

Please find attached the response to your request.

 

Best wishes,

 

Fiona Ryland

Chief Operating Officer - UCL

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8897

UCL internal: x 58897

 

Executive Assistant: Louise Moore, [1][email address]

Diary Manager: Maria Lewis, [2][email address]

 

 

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References

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