Legal Agreements

Richard Killip made this Freedom of Information request to Yorkshire Forward

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sirs

I require full and unredacted copies of any and all legally-binding agreements made between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan irrespective of whether the obligations have since been discharged or transferred to other organisations.

Yours faithfully

Richard Killip

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

Dear Mr. Killip,

Thank you for your request for information disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, in which you requested information concerning Agreements between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan.

I acknowledge your request received 12th December 2011 and advise that I am dealing with it in accordance with the Act. Please quote the above reference on all future correspondence concerning your request.

Yours sincerely

Rachel Mason
Corporate Information Manager

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Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Killip,

 

I write in response to your request for information disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 in which you requested a full copy of all
agreements between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan.

 

I confirm that Yorkshire Forward does not hold information in scope of
your request. This is because Yorkshire Forward is closing and the
information you request has recently been transferred to the Homes and
Communities Agency (HCA).

 

In order to provide help and assistance I advise that the contact address
for Freedom of Information Requests at the HCA is as follows:

Information Access Officer
Homes and Communities Agency
Central Business Exchange II
424-428 Midsummer Boulevard
Central Milton Keynes
MK9 2EA

[1]http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/fre...

I trust this information is helpful to you.

 

As this request has been logged as a request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act, Yorkshire Forward is obliged to offer you the
right to complain. If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled
your request, or if you are unhappy with our response, you can appeal via
our Complaints Procedure, a copy of which is attached.  The Yorkshire
Forward Directorate that has been dealing with your request is Finance. If
you are still dissatisfied after pursuing our Complaints Procedure,
then you may wish to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545700, fax: 01625 524510 or email
[2][email address].uk  The Information Commissioner’s website is:
[3]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Rachel Mason

Corporate Information Manager

Direct line: 0113 3949677

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Dear Rachel

I am writing to request an internal review of my freedom of information (FOI) request.

I am requesting such a review as I do not believe it feasible that Yorkshire Forward does not hold the information requested.

Whilst the agency's title to the building has passed to the Homes & Communities Agency, and the records similarly transferred, I find it difficult to believe that the agency would not retain a copy.

Yorkshire Forward is, of course, like any public authority, subject to judicial review. I find it astonishing that Yorkshire Forward would dispose entirely of all its records on disposal of an asset, bearing in mind the possibility of defending such a case in the future.

Whether Yorkshire Forward is the current proprietor of the building or otherwise, it is still obligated to disclose information it holds.

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

Yours faithfully

Richard Killip

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

Dear Mr. Killip,

Thank you for your request for an Internal Review, received 14th December 2011, in respect of the above Freedom of Information requests. Gareth Venables, Head of Legal Services will conduct the Internal Review.

Please be advised that due to office closure over the Christmas period we anticipate being able to send you the completed review on or before 19th January 2012. In the meantime, if you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Rachel Mason
Corporate Information Manager

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Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

Dear Mr. Killip,

I write to advise that following a review of FOI records held, we have today located a copy of a development agreement between Yorkshire Forward, Langtree Artisan Limited and Langtree Group PLC Artisan H Limited dated 17th October 2007, a redacted copy of which was disclosed in response to a previous FOI in August 2008. This has not transferred to HCA because FOI records were not part of the transfer.

I apologise for the delay in identifying this.

Given the passage of time we are reviewing the relevance of the redactions made and will respond to you by 19th January 2012, as our offices will be closed from tomorrow until 3rd January 2012 and we will need to consult with 3rd parties to gain their view on disclosure of the redacted information.

We propose putting your Internal Review on hold until we have completed our review of the redactions. Once we have disclosed any relevant information to you, perhaps you could consider whether you wish to pursue your Internal Review.

Yours sincerely

Rachel Mason
Corporate Information Manager

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Dear Rachel

If the information has been disclosed previously I fail to see any reason why the document previously disclosed cannot be disclosed promptly and in full to me. Many authorities permanently display copies of previous FOI requests on their web site for this very reason, Tower Hamlets being one example.

I am loathe to cancel my application for internal review, bearing in mind Yorkshire Forward's forthcoming abolition. I am concerned that if I agree to cancel my application for internal review that my right to internal review will be lost following its dissolution.

This would not be the first time that Yorkshire Forward have delayed a response and gained an advantage (deliberately or otherwise). Jan Anderson delayed a response to one of my complaint letters in full knowledge that I intended to pursue the complaint with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The delay meant that her response was not received until after the dissolution of parliament which delayed my opportunity to refer the complaint.

You will understand, bearing in mind my concerns and past experience, my decision not to retract my request for internal review.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Killip,

 

Please find attached findings from the Internal Review into the handling
of your above FOI request.

 

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rachel Mason

Corporate Information Manager

Yorkshire Forward
Head Office: Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE

Find out more at www.yorkshire-forward.com

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The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the virus scanning
service supplied by MessageLabs. (CCTM Certificate Number 2009/09/0052.)
On leaving the Yorkshire Forward (Yorkshire & the Humber Regional
Development Agency) network this email was certified virus free.

Communications via the Yorkshire Forward (Yorkshire & the Humber Regional
Development Agency) network may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

Dear Mr Killip,

 

I write further to your above request.

 

Following a review of FOI records, I confirmed to you that Yorkshire
Forward holds a copy of a Development Agreement which is within the scope
of the request.

 

Your Internal Review has recommended that this redacted agreement is
released now, rather than wait for the redactions to be consulted on with
the 3^rd party developer.  The FOI exemptions applied to the redactions
were Section 41 Information provided in confidence and Section 43
Commercial Interests and of course we need to reconsider whether these
exemptions still apply.

 

However, due to the size of the document it is not possible to e-mail this
as it exceeds Yorkshire Forward’s mailbox size limit even when ‘zipped’. 
Could you please advise me of a postal address to which we can send the
document?

 

I look forward to hearing from you with a contact address.  In any event I
will be in touch within the dates specified in the Internal Review to
advise you of the outcome of the consultation exercise.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Rachel Mason

Corporate Information Manager

Yorkshire Forward
Head Office: Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE

Find out more at www.yorkshire-forward.com

show quoted sections

The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the virus scanning
service supplied by MessageLabs. (CCTM Certificate Number 2009/09/0052.)
On leaving the Yorkshire Forward (Yorkshire & the Humber Regional
Development Agency) network this email was certified virus free.

Communications via the Yorkshire Forward (Yorkshire & the Humber Regional
Development Agency) network may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Dear Rachel

Thank you for your response.

My Freedom of Information request was submitted via www.whatdotheyknow.com, and instructions on responding electronically with large files are located here: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offic...

There is therefore no reason for me to provide a postal address.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Redacted Agreement for the Development of the Former Odeon Cinema Bradford West Yorkshire.pdf

    9.3M Download View as HTML

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

2 Attachments

Dear Mr. Killip,

 

I write in response to your request for information disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 in which you requested a full copy of all
agreements between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan.

 

Yorkshire Forward initially responded advising that the requested
information was not held because it had been transferred to the Homes and
Communities Agency. However, as confirmed by the recent Internal Review,
although no information is held any longer by our Property Team, a copy of
a Development Agreement was located which is held in FoI records following
a 2008 request. Subsequently, a redacted copy of this document was
disclosed to you in the same form as previously disclosed in 2008.

 

The information redacted was:

 

·         Page 12 – the premium figure

·         Page 24 – the highway payment

·         Page 63 – the Beck and Ground Costs

·         Page 64 – the net value

·         Annexed Building Appraisal

 

The Internal Review recommended that your request for information be
addressed under the Environmental Information Regulations because it
related to measures concerned with proposed changes to land and
buildings. 

 

Following consultation, the 3^rd party to the Development Agreement is
adamant that the redactions previously made in 2008 are still
appropriate.  We, therefore, apply Regulation 12(5)(e) which concerns the
confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such
confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic
interest to the redacted information and withhold this information from
disclosure at this time.

 

The 3^rd party has responded to us in writing as follows:

 

“We understand from you that the tests to be satisfied to substantiate
these redactions are as follows:

 

a) commercial or industrial in nature;

b) is subject to confidentiality provided by law (relevant considerations
here are, does the information have the necessary quality of confidence,
was it imparted in circumstances giving rise to an obligation of
confidence, is there a contractual obligation of confidence and is there a
statute preventing disclosure);

c) that the confidentiality is required to protect a legitimate economic
interest (i.e. would disclosure adversely affect a legitimate economic
interest); and

d) would disclosure adversely affect this confidentiality.

 

General

 

a)   We are firmly of the view that all of these redactions are commercial
in nature.

b)   The information is recorded in a development agreement (conditional
contract) entered into in confidence between Langtree Artisan Ltd and
Yorkshire Forward, following a development tendering exercise where
Yorkshire Forward selected Langtree Artisan from an eventual shortlist of
3 tenderers to be the preferred developer in line with the defined quality
and price criteria defined, where overall Langtree Artisan were deemed to
be the best value solution. This contract is only unconditional on formal
granting of planning permission which has not yet happened. So, it can be
argued that the site is under offer and the price remains highly
confidential.

c)   Langtree Artisan is a commercial organisation set up to deliver a
viable mixed-use development scheme at New Victoria Place, regenerating
this site in line with the public sector’s regeneration plan, and
providing a return to its parent companies – Langtree Plc and Artisan H
Ltd. There are two legitimate economic interests at play here – that
of Langtree Artisan and the Homes & Communities Agency to whom Yorkshire
Forward has transferred the land.

d)   the 3^rd party believe that disclosing this redacted information
would prejudice this confidentiality because it would put into the market
information about Langtree Artisan’s assumptions about rental levels,
necessary to make the scheme viable; costs including any best practice or
clever assumptions that have been made that give a competitive edge and
divulges Langtree Artisan’s profit levels.  This information would be used
by potential tenants for the scheme, competitors, contractors tendering
for the construction work to strengthen their respective commercial
positions and weaken Langtree Artisan’s. All of this would threaten the
viability of the scheme and therefore potentially mean the project does
not happen, compromising Langtree Artisan and the Homes & Communities
Agency’s joint aim to deliver the scheme and the much-needed regeneration
and to create a return for Langtree Artisan and the premium for HCA.  In
terms of timing once the planning is in place, pre-lets are in place and
contracts for construction are let, the information would no longer be
commercially sensitive. 

 

I have attached a table that expands on this - and justifies the
reasoning. We trust that this is sufficient to justify YF issuing the
redacted version as currently marked-up.”

 

In light of the above assertions we are applying Regulation 12(5)(e) to
the redacted information.

 

As this request has been logged as a request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act, Yorkshire Forward is obliged to offer you the
right to complain. If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled
your request, or if you are unhappy with our response, you can appeal via
our Complaints Procedure, a copy of which is attached.  The Yorkshire
Forward Directorate that has been dealing with your request is Finance. If
you are still dissatisfied after pursuing our Complaints Procedure,
then you may wish to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545700, fax: 01625 524510 or email
[1][email address].uk  The Information Commissioner’s website is:
[2]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Rachel Mason

Corporate Information Manager

Direct line: 0113 3949677

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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

This complaint has been referred to the Office of the Information Commissioner with the following narrative:

I requested a copy of the development agreement made between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan Limited with regard to the former Bradford Odeon cinema. This is a site of intense public interest which the majority of people want to see restored but Yorkshire Forward have decided to demolish.

Yorkshire Forward provided the agreement but made certain redactions regarding the financial arrangements on the basis of exemptions contained in sections 41 and 43. I do not think that Yorkshire Forward were correct to apply these exemptions.

One of the parties to the agreement, Artisan H Limited, entered administration after taking £1.8m of public money to build homes in Sheffield which they did not complete. Incidentally this was via the Homes & Communities Agency, the organisation that has inherited this building from Yorkshire Forward. This casts serious doubt over Langtree-Artisan's ability to perform on this development.

The agreement entered into by Yorkshire Forward has the potential to make a material difference to the public purse.

This tips the balance in favour of disclosure of this information.

I suspect that the real reason that Yorkshire Forward does not want to disclose the amount of the premium paid for the lease is not to protect commercial interests but to hide an embarassingly meagre payment for this high profile site.

I have asked Yorkshire Forward again to disclose the amount of the premium in light of the revelations about Artisan H Limited but it has refused.

Richard Killip left an annotation ()

Acknowledgement received from ICO:

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8th May 2012

Case Reference Number FS50445364

Dear Mr Killip

Your information request to Yorkshire Forward ("YF")

Thank you for your correspondence of 21 April 2012 in which you make a complaint about YF's response to your request for information about agreements with Langtree Artisan.

Your case has been allocated to one of our Complaints Resolution teams who will contact you as soon as possible to explain how your complaint will be progressed.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent public body set up to promote public access to official information. We will rule on eligible complaints from people who are unhappy with the way public authorities have handled requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you need to contact us about any aspect of your complaint please contact our Freedom of Information Helpline on 0303 123 1113, being sure to quote the reference number at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,
Sent on behalf of
Andrew White
Group Manager
Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner’s Office
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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

I received the following correspondence from the ICO:

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26 September 2012

Reference: FS50445364

Dear Mr Killip

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)/Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

Your request to Yorkshire Forward of 10 December 2011 for copies of the agreement with Langtree Artisan

Further to our email of 8 May 2012, I write to inform you that your case has now been allocated to me.

What happens now

Where possible the Information Commissioner prefers complaints to be resolved informally and we ask both parties to be open to compromise. With this in mind, I will write to the public authority and ask it to revisit your request. It may wish to reverse or amend its position. If it does, it will contact you again directly about this.

In any event, it must provide us with its full and final arguments in support of its position. Once I receive its arguments, I will consider its reply before either contacting you to discuss the matter further or preparing a decision notice. Further information is available on the Information Commissioner’s website:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/~/media...

The request

On 10 December 2011 you made the following request for information:

"I require full and unredacted copies of any and all legally-binding

agreements made between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan

irrespective of whether the obligations have since been discharged

or transferred to other organisations."

Yorkshire Forward responded on 13 December 2011 advising that the information regarding the Bradford Odeon had been transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) when the property had been transferred, and so was no longer held by Yorkshire Forward.

You informed Yorkshire Forward that you expected that the information should still be held and it responded on 22 December 2011 to inform you that a development agreement dated 17 October 2007 had been located. It explained that it was still held because it had been disclosed in a redacted form in response to an earlier freedom of information request in 2008.

Yorkshire Forward conducted an internal review on 19 January 2012 and the outcome of this was communicated to you on 20 January 2012. It found that the redacted version of the agreement should be provided to you. It also advised that it was consulting with the third party to determine whether the redacted information could also be provided. Finally it advised that the information may fall within the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the EIR).

Following the completion of the third party consultation, Yorkshire Forward wrote to you on 27 January 2012. It advised that having now considered the matter under the EIR and taken the third party opinions into account, it remained of the opinion that it was correct to withhold the redacted information. It specified that it was relying on regulation 12(5)(e) as the redacted information was confidential commercial information.

The scope of the case

As you are aware, Yorkshire Forward no longer exists, and as such, we cannot conduct an investigation into the way it handled this freedom of information request and consequently, nor can we serve a decision notice on Yorkshire Forward. I understand that some assets, such as the Bradford Odeon, transferred to the HCA and during the course of your request, Yorkshire Forward informed you that the HCA would therefore hold relevant information about the Bradford Odeon.

I should also explain that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) has taken responsibility for complaints raised about requests for information handled by regional development agencies which have now closed. Accordingly, when investigating this complaint, we will contact DBIS and any decision notice would be served on DBIS.

The focus of my investigation therefore will be to determine whether DBIS was correct to rely on regulation 12(5)(e) to withhold the redcated information from the agreement between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan.

Before I contact DBIS about this case, I would be grateful if you could confirm whether you want to pursue the case in this manner. Due to the closure of Yorkshire Forward we will not be able to contact Yorkshire Forward or serve a decision notice on it. In addition, as the HCA holds the majority of the information which falls within the scope of your original request, you may wish to make the request to the HCA, if you have not already done so, and pursue that instead.

Please contact me within the next 10 working days, by 10 October 2012 to let me know whether you wish to continue this investigation now that DBIS will be the focus. If I do not hear from you by this date, I will assume that you do not agree to taking the case forward with DBIS, and we will have to close it.

If you have any queries at any time you are welcome to contact me by email by replying directly to this email without changing the subject field or by telephoning me on the number below.

Yours sincerely

Laura Tomkinson
Senior Case Officer - Complaints Resolution
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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

I responded to the ICO as follows:

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Dear Ms Tomkinson

Thank you for your response. I would like to proceed on the basis below and would ask you to note in your investigation that as the development agreement has now been cancelled by the Homes & Communities Agency there would be no commercial prejudice arising from disclosure of the premium figure.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip
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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

Email received from ICO:

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19 November 2012

Reference: FS50445364

Dear Mr Killip

I am writing further to my email of 26 September 2012 regarding your complaint about Yorkshire Forward (now closed) which is now being handled by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

In that email I explained that the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) now held the majority of the information regarding the Bradford Odeon. I therefore suggested that you may wish to make your request for the agreements between Langtree Artisan and Yorkshire Forward directly to the HCA as it held more information falling within the scope of your original request.

It has come to my attention that you have made such a request to the HCA and that this matter is being investigated by my colleague Joanne Edwards (FER0456167). I have discussed these cases with Joanne and it appears that both the HCA and BIS are considering the redacted development agreement in response to our investigations. Joanne also explained that you have narrowed the scope of your complaint to only consider two redactions.
In addition to this, BIS has explained that in order to investigate this complaint it has been in contact with the HCA (as the owner of the information) to determine whether any of the original redactions should remain.

It would seem an inefficient use of resources for the Commissioner to be conducting two investigations into the same matter, and I would therefore recommend that this case is closed in favour of pursuing the complaint about the HCA as it holds the majority of the Bradford Odeon information and indeed would be better placed to make an informed decision about whether any exceptions apply to the information in the scope of the complaint.

I would be grateful if you could respond within 10 working days to let me know whether you agree to this course of action.

Yours sincerely

Laura Tomkinson
Senior Case Officer - Complaints Resolution
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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

I replied as follows:

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Dear Ms Tomkinson

Thank you for your email.

While I can understand why you have reached the conclusion that it would be an inefficient use of resources for the Commissioner's office to look into the same matter twice, this is not the same matter. This matter relates to a decision not to release information by Yorkshire Forward; the matter to which Joanne Edwards is attending relates to a decision by the Homes & Communities Agency.

It has become clear during my dealings with Yorkshire Forward, the HCA and indeed the ICO that the information transfer between YF and the HCA was not comprehensive, as information that is certain to have been held by Yorkshire Forward was unable to be found by the HCA (see ICO case FER0445564). On this basis I am reluctant to agree that the complaint into Yorkshire Forward should not be pursued.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip
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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

Further correspondence from the ICO:

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27 November 2012

Reference: FS50445364

Dear Mr Killip

Thank you for your email of 19 November 2012 regarding the complaint about the request initially sent to Yorkshire Forward. I understand that you have concerns about withdrawing the complaint about the request initially sent to Yorkshire Forward (YF) as the two requests were initially made to two separate organisations, YF and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The concerns you have raised seem to be in the main about the nature of the transfer of information from YF to other agencies upon its closure, as such, it might be helpful if I can provide some clarification on the matter. Firstly, whilst the decision notice in FER0445564 may have found that HCA did not hold the information you had requested, this appears to be related to a plaque on the Bradford Odeon, rather than any information which falls within the scope of the request in this case.

When this complaint was initially referred to BIS for investigation, there were some difficulties in locating the information concerning the request as the vast majority of information relating to properties such as Bradford Odeon had been transferred to HCA. However, after I clarified that the information was initially held by YF in its freedom of information records, BIS was then able to locate the information which YF had held in relation to the request, specifically, a redacted copy of the development agreement which had been subject to a previous freedom of information request in 2008.

As such, whilst you may have concerns about what information was transferred by YF to HCA, this does not fall within the remit of this case. The matter to which this complaint relates is that of whether YF was correct to withhold the information that has been redacted from the development agreement. Although as explained previously, the investigation and decision notice can only consider BIS’s current position in relation solely to the redacted parts of the development agreement, and it is this document that the HCA case is considering.

I explained in my email of 19 November 2012 that BIS has been in contact with HCA about this matter. I would like to add that as the only involvement BIS has in the matter is to have inherited the freedom of information files from YF, it is necessarily conferring with HCA as to the substance of the redactions and the current position with regard to the prejudice to commercial interests.

Therefore, as both cases are about the decision to withhold the redacted parts of the development agreement and as BIS is in contact with HCA in order to investigate the matter, I cannot see what useful purpose would be served in issuing what would be likely to be a very similar decision notice on two separate organisations about the same matter.

To that end, if you still require a decision notice to be served on BIS in this case, please be aware that the scope will be the same as that in the HCA case, namely the information redacted from the development agreement that relates to the premium paid or payable under the agreement and any information on the mechanism for any over age payments.

I would be grateful for your response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Laura Tomkinson
Senior Case Officer - Complaints Resolution
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My response:

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Dear Ms Tomkinson.

Thank you very much for your further explanation. Please go ahead and close this complaint.

Thanks,
Richard Killip
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