Dear University of Nottingham,
Could you tell me the number of applications you have received for nursing courses in the past five academic years (including the ones you have received so far for the academic year 2021-2022)?
Could you also break down this information into monthly categories (x number of applicants in April) and into different courses (Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, etc)?
It would be great if you could provide this information in an excel spreadsheet, if possible.
If you need any clarification do not hesitate to contact me. Under section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act it is your duty to provide advice and assistance and so I would expect you to contact me if you find this request unmanageable in any way.
Good afternoon Chloe,
I am writing in regards to the request you submitted on 14th December 2020 asking for the number of Nursing Applications for the last 5 years.
Unfortunately this timescale is beyond our retention period, we only store this information for the current Academic year +2, are you happy for us to proceed on this reduced timescale?
Unfortunately, it will not be possible to comply with your request without this further information.
We will respond to your request within twenty working days from the date of receiving the clarification requested.
Information Compliance & Quality Officer – Freedom of Information,
Email: [University of Nottingham request email]
Thank you for getting back to me. I would still be interested in the information even with the reduced timescale. I am happy for you to proceed.
I am writing further to your request for information regarding nursing applications. A search of our electronic and paper records has been completed and I can confirm that the information requested is held by the University.
In response to your request:
Could you tell me the number of applications you have received for nursing courses in the past five academic years (including the ones you have received so far for the academic year 2021-2022)? Could you also break down this information into monthly categories (x number of applicants in April) and into different courses (Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, etc)?
Attached is the information we hold in relation to the academic years 2016/17 to 2020/21.
Where figures are less than 5 we do not specify the exact number as to do so would greatly increase the likelihood of individuals being identified, which would breach data protection regulations as these individuals have a reasonable expectation that their personal data will not be released.
We recognise that from the information provided here alone, it would be difficult to identify the individuals concerned. Nevertheless, under the remits of data protection regulations, we note that personal data constitutes that from which the Data Controller can identify an individual. Therefore there may be other information which you could obtain from the University, either through further Freedom of Information requests or other means, that could be used to identify the individuals here. The risk of this is greatly increased where numbers are less than 5 and it is for this reason that we do not specify such small numbers of individuals. Should an individual be identified then the University would be in breach of data protection regulations.
We consider the information you have asked for in relation to the academic year 2021/22 to date is exempt under Section 43 of the FOIA 2000, Commercial Interests, as we believe that disclosure would harm the commercial interests of the University of Nottingham.
The University of Nottingham is operating in a highly competitive environment and in very challenging times. Regulatory changes in recent years, such as the lifting of the cap on university places in England, have increased competition between institutions. Universities all seek to recruit the best students from a limited pool of prospective UK and international applicants.
The University must be able to participate freely and competitively in all its commercial activities, and must protect its business activities. As student recruitment is the core of our business, this can be considered under both:
• Section 43(1) provides an exemption under FOIA for information which is a trade secret.
• Section 43(2) exempts information whose disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other legal entity).
Responses to Freedom of Information requests are in the public domain and the disclosure of the requested information would be strategically useful to our competitors in the higher education sector in understanding the University’s processes, and your request needs to be considered in the context of disclosure under competition legislation as well as under the Freedom of Information Act.
Releasing information for the current on-going application process will have a serious detrimental effect on University operations, giving both applicants and our competitors an unfair advantage of the application and interview processes and will potentially jeopardise future applications.
Having considered the public interest factors for and against disclosure, we feel that the general public interest is in favour of withholding the requested information.
We therefore conclude that this email acts as a refusal notice for this part of your request.
If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled and wish to request a review of our response or to make a complaint, please see the attached information sheet and form.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any enquiries regarding this email.
Information Compliance Officer – Freedom of Information
Thank you very much!
Many thanks for your email.
Please note that the University of Nottingham is currently managing the
safe return of students and teaching staff to campus and handling the
current Covid-19 impacts.
Our staff are helping in a range of areas and there may be a delay in
responding to you at the current time.
We hope you will understand given the circumstances, but please be assured
we will do our best to respond to you as soon as is possible.
The FOI Team
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