Legal Compliance Team
Deputy Registrar's Office
University House
University of Warwick
Coventry
CV4 8UW

August 31, 2014

To whom it may concern,

I would like to respectfully request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

- Any expenditures, or expected expenditures, by the University of Warwick on “Insurance Rent, Service Charge, Utility Charge, Energy Charge, and any other sums,” under the University’s agreement with Teighmore Limited, leasing a portion of the 17th floor of The Shard. Page 17 of the lease agreement references these charges but fails to give any actual or expected monetary value.

- To know if the expenditures (including the rent, and other charges listed above) under the lease agreement for the 17th floor of The Shard are, or will be, paid for out of Warwick Business School’s budget, or by the University’s central budget (this includes information on whether WBS will reimburse the University of Warwick for the latter’s expenditures under the lease agreement with Teighmore, or have their allocated funds reduced as a result, etc.).

- Any documents (memos, reports etc.) resulting from consultations with undergraduate and postgraduate students, and staff (academic and otherwise) over the proposed Shard project. To know if any consultation was undertaken. These documents will likely exist in the departments of the University housing senior management, public relations, administration-student relations, and Warwick Business School. The time frame will probably be within the last three years.

- Any documents (reports, memos, committee meeting minutes, assessments etc.) resulting from preliminary assessments of the benefits and costs of the proposed Shard agreement. Again, these documents will likely exist in the departments of the University housing senior management, public relations, administration-student relations, and Warwick Business School. The time frame will probably be within the last three years.

I would appreciate any information on these matters you are able to provide. I understand that this information does not have to be in document form unless specifically requested, and that it is the department’s responsibility to provide me with the information I require.

If you need any clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will provide contact details in a separate email.

I would like to receive the information electronically where possible, and where relevant documents are provided, in electronic and hard copy, to the following address (postal address with be provided separately):

[email address]

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I request that you justify all deletions and rejections by reference to specific exemptions under the Act. I also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal any decision you make.

Please confirm in writing that you have received this request at the earliest opportunity. You are required under statue to respond within 20 calendar days. As such, I look forward to your response by Sept. 20, 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Connor Woodman

infocompliance, Resource, University of Warwick



Thank you for your email which has been received by the University Legal
Compliance Officer. 

The University undertakes to respond to Freedom of Information requests
within 20 working days and to Data Protection requests within 40 calendar
days. 

Thank you

Legal Compliance Team

infocompliance, Resource, University of Warwick

Dear Mr Woodman,

Thank you for your email dated 31^st August 2015 requesting information
about the University of Warwick. Your request is being considered under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please find below your original
request and our response.

I would like to respectfully request the following information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000:

- Any expenditures, or expected expenditures, by the University of Warwick
on “Insurance Rent, Service Charge, Utility Charge, Energy Charge, and any
other sums,” under the University’s agreement with Teighmore Limited,
leasing a portion of the 17th floor of The Shard. Page 17 of the lease
agreement references these charges but fails to give any actual or
expected monetary value.

The University is withholding the requested information since we consider
that the exemption under section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 applies. 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)”. We consider that the release of the requested information
would prejudice the University’s commercial interests.

The Business School operates in a highly competitive environment in
London, competing directly against world-leading Schools in the provision
of post-experience postgraduate teaching and Executive Education.  The
availability of information relating to our business model would provide
competitor Schools with sensitive financial information that would damage
our competitive positioning.

In addition, availability of information relating to our running costs at
The Shard would impact on future negotiations with potential Executive
Education clients, where pricing is critical to allow us to make an
appropriate return, to reinvest in research and teaching, whilst keeping
our offer commercially competitive. Furthermore, the release of such
information would be likely to harm the University's relationship with our
landlords which could be detrimental to the University as The Shard is a
unique selling point and key differentiator for our London offer.

The exemption at section 43(2) is a qualified exemption which means that
the University must consider whether the public interest in maintaining
the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The University
recognises that there is legitimate public interest in disclosing
information relating to the allocation of public funding however, the
University also has to be mindful of the competitive environment in which
it is operating and the fact that the release of this data could alter the
decision making of competing institutions, as well as financially
impacting upon the University. The University also has to be mindful of
its own ability to enter into future negotiations and there is therefore
no overriding public interest in the circumstances that would warrant
prejudicing the University’s commercial interests, which would be
compromised by releasing the requested information at this time.
Therefore, the University is of the opinion that the public interest lies
in withholding this information at the present time.

 

- To know if the expenditures (including the rent, and other charges
listed above) under the lease agreement for the 17th floor of The Shard
are, or will be, paid for out of Warwick Business School’s budget, or by
the University’s central budget (this includes information on whether WBS
will reimburse the University of Warwick for the latter’s expenditures
under the lease agreement with Teighmore, or have their allocated funds
reduced as a result, etc.).

Although all expenditure, including rent, is planned within the Warwick
Business School’s budget some recharges may occur.

- Any documents (memos, reports etc.) resulting from consultations with
undergraduate and postgraduate students, and staff (academic and
otherwise) over the proposed Shard project. To know if any consultation
was undertaken. These documents will likely exist in the departments of
the University housing senior management, public relations,
administration-student relations, and Warwick Business School. The time
frame will probably be within the last three years.

- Any documents (reports, memos, committee meeting minutes, assessments
etc.) resulting from preliminary assessments of the benefits and costs of
the proposed Shard agreement. Again, these documents will likely exist in
the departments of the University housing senior management, public
relations, administration-student relations, and Warwick Business School.
The time frame will probably be within the last three years.

Consultation over the proposed Shard project, including preliminary
assessments of the benefits and costs, took place in the schools
department meeting, University finance and Council meetings.

The University is withholding the requested information in relation to the
consultations that took place regarding the proposed shard project since
we consider that the exemption under section 43(2) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 applies. 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)”. We consider that the release of the
requested information would prejudice the University’s commercial
interests.

We consider that the release of specific financial information would
prejudice the University commercial interests by revealing such
information to its competitors. Such information would provide an insight
into the University’s competitive position to key Higher Education
competitors and the data could be used to question key strategies. It
would amount to disclosure of the University’s approach and methodology
when considering and assessing proposed projects and this would be of
significant and material interest to the University’s competitors.

The exemption at section 43(2) is a qualified exemption which means that
the University must consider whether the public interest in maintaining
the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The University
recognises that there is legitimate public interest in disclosing
information relating to the allocation of public funding however, the
University also has to be mindful of the competitive environment in which
it is operating and the fact that the release of this data could alter the
decision making of competing institutions, to the detriment of the
University’s commercial interests. There is no overriding public interest
in the circumstances that would warrant prejudicing the University’s
commercial interests. It is important to note that disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act is effectively disclosure to the general
public, not solely the person who has made the request. Therefore, the
University is of the opinion that the public interest lies in favour of
withholding the redacted information.

 

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled by
the University of Warwick, you can request an internal review and in the
first instance you are advised to follow the procedure outlined here:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/l...

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113

Website: www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Horsburgh

Jo Horsburgh  | Deputy Registrar
University House  |  University of Warwick  |  Coventry  |  CV4 8UW

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