Pre-2010 academy pledges not fulfilled

J Downs made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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

The request was successful.

In 2010, the NAO said a 'significant proportion' of pledges made by academy sponsors had not been honoured https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/upload.... The Public Accounts Committee' Seventeenth Report of Session 2010/11 wrote: 'For both capital and endowment sponsorship, the Department has struggled to enforce payment of outstanding debts. According to figures provided by the Department in December 2010, of a total of £147 million of capital contributions pledged, only £121 million have been received. For endowment contributions, sponsors had pledged to provide a total of £71 million, of which £42 million had fallen due by December 2010. Thirty-eight million had been received, leaving £4 million still outstanding.' http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

Sponsors no longer have to make contributions to their academies. This raises the question whether academy trusts who pledged money pre-2010/11 have used this exemption to default on their earlier promises.

I should be grateful, therefore, if you would list all academy trusts which promised donations, whether capital or endowments, pre-2010/11 which have not been honoured.

The list should contain the original pledges and the amount received to date.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Janet Downs

Dear Department for Education,

I should be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of my Freedom of Information request sent on 8 August 2015 asking for details of pre-2010 academy pledges which had not been fulfilled.

I give below details of the earlier FoI request in case my first one has gone astray:

Start of request: In 2010, the NAO said a 'significant proportion' of pledges made by academy sponsors had not been honoured https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/upload.... The Public Accounts Committee' Seventeenth Report of Session 2010/11 wrote: 'For both capital and endowment sponsorship, the Department has struggled to enforce payment of outstanding debts. According to figures provided by the Department in December 2010, of a total of £147 million of capital contributions pledged, only £121 million have been received. For endowment contributions, sponsors had pledged to provide a total of £71 million, of which £42 million had fallen due by December 2010. Thirty-eight million had been received, leaving £4 million still outstanding.' http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

Sponsors no longer have to make contributions to their academies. This raises the question whether academy trusts who pledged money pre-2010/11 have used this exemption to default on their earlier promises.

I should be grateful, therefore, if you would list all academy trusts which promised donations, whether capital or endowments, pre-2010/11 which have not been honoured.

The list should contain the original pledges and the amount received to date.

I look forward to hearing from you. End of request

Yours faithfully,

J Downs

Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Pre-2010 academy pledges not fulfilled'.

I sent a Freedom of Information request on 8 August 2016 asking for details of pre-2010 academy pledges which had not been fulfilled. The request was sent via What Do They Know which received a delivery status notification on 8 August. However, I received no acknowledgement from the DfE.

I sent a reminder on 25 August 2016. Again, What Do They Know received a delivery status notification on the same day. But, again, I have received no acknowledgement from the DfE.

By law, I should have received an answer to my request. I should be grateful therefore if you would conduct a review to discover why my request has neither been acknowledged or answered.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Downs

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

May I recommend asking the Information Commissiner's Office for help? In circumstances where an authority hasn't responded to a request at all and the 20 working days have passed, the ICO have advised us that they don't expect requesters to request an internal review before referring the situation to the ICO.
https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/
--
Doug - volunteer, WhatDoTheyKnow.com

J Downs left an annotation ()

Thanks, Doug. I have just sent off my complaint to the ICO.

Department for Education

Dear Janet Downs

I am writing to inform you that the department has now completed its internal review process following your complaint of 7 September 2016, relating to the handling of your FOI request submitted on 8 August 2016. I acknowledge that you are yet to receive a response to your request for information.

The department has undertaken an independent review of the case. I, as an independent senior officer not involved with the original request, chaired the review. The specific aim of this independent review was to look at the reasons why your FOI request was not dealt with within the 20 working day statutory deadline.

The review found some significant issues in the administration of your request after its receipt on 8 August 2016 which has contributed to the delay in answering the request. I will look into these further and look at how our processes can be improved.

It is not standard practice within the department to acknowledge receipt of FOI requests, however, once it was clear that the deadline for reply to your request would not be met, the official dealing with the request should have contacted you to acknowledge your request and provide an update. I apologise for this oversight.

In terms of the actual response to your FOI request, I apologise for the fact that you still have not received a response; however there are still a number of issues we need to address before responding in full. Please be assured that we will respond shortly and disclose any appropriate information we hold.

Once again, I would like to offer our apologies for the delay in responding to your request for information. The department takes very seriously its obligations under the Act, including the requirement to respond within the statutory deadline of 20 working days. I am afraid that we have not been able to maintain this standard in this instance and while there may be considered to be mitigating circumstances, this delay is not acceptable and I am very sorry for the inconvenience which it may cause you.

If you are unhappy with this response, you have the right to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

If the Commissioner comes to the conclusion that that the information should be released, he will issue a decision notice which will set out the steps which the department must take and the date by which they must be taken.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote our reference number in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

Carol Gray,
Department for Education,
2 St Paul's Place,
125 Norfolk Street,
Sheffield, S1 2FJ

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2016-0041343. If you need to respond to us, please visit: https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at: https://www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey.

Yours sincerely

Carol Gray,
Department for Education,
2 St Paul's Place,
125 Norfolk Street,
Sheffield, S1 2FJ 

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
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J Downs left an annotation ()

I updated the status to 'waiting for internal review' because there is no button for 'waiting for ICO response'. I have received the result of the internal review (see above) which says I will get the information eventually. The FoI request is, therefore, not finished.

Department for Education

Dear Janet Downs

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 8 August 2016.

You requested

“…if you would list all academy trusts which promised donations, whether capital or endowments, pre-2010/11 which have not been honoured.

The list should contain the original pledges and the amount received to date.”

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Capital sponsorship: A list of the academies where capital contributions to date are less than original pledge and further contributions are due in future is enclosed. This does not necessarily mean that pledges are not being “honoured”. There are a number of academies included on the list which do have agreements in place and I would direct you to notes in the right hand column of the table. The Department continues in its efforts to ensure that agreements are in place for all.

Endowment sponsorship: In 2012, in line with the wider freedoms provided to all academies, Ministers agreed to remove the requirement for academy trusts to continue to raise funds for exiting endowment funds. This meant that the Department would no longer enforce existing Deeds of Gift. Given this change the Department no longer maintains up to date information on such contributions. Contributions received will be recorded in trusts financial statements which are available free of charge from the Companies House website -https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
The most recent information the Department holds on endowment contributions was that provided to the Public Accounts Committee in 2010, available on Parliament’s website here - http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa... . Section 21 of the FoI Act exempts from release information which is already accessible to the applicant by other means, and therefore applies in this case.

I would like to offer my apologies for the significant delay in responding. The Department takes very seriously its obligations under the Act, including the requirement to respond within the statutory deadline of 20 working days. I am afraid that we have not been able to maintain this standard in this instance and while there may be considered to be mitigating circumstances, this delay is not acceptable and I am very sorry for the inconvenience which it may have caused you.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government Licence (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website -http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor... .

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website at www.ipo.gov.uk<http://www.ipo.gov.uk/>.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Capital sponsorship (figures as at 8 August 2016)
Academy

Academy Trust/Sponsor

Pledge (£)

Contributions
to date (£)

Comments

St Mark's Church of England Academy

CfBT/Southwark Diocesan Board of Education

533,333

284,162

Ongoing repayment regime

The Harefield Academy

Harefield Academy Trust

1,500,000

1,203,732

Agreement in place with the academy trust

Bede Academy

Emmanuel Schools Foundation

1,500,000

1,190,000

Ongoing repayment regime

Harris Academy - South Norwood

Harris Federation

2,000,000

250,000

Agreements in place, conditions for payment not yet due.

Harris Bermondsey

Harris Federation

1,500,000

493,212

Harris Boys - East Dulwich

Harris Federation

1,000,000

0

Harris Crystal Palace

Harris Federation

1,000,000

0

Harris Girls - East Dulwich

Harris Federation

500,000

0

Harris Merton

Harris Federation

500,000

0

City Academy Bristol

Now part of the Cabot Learning Federation

2,499,000

2,167,594

Liability for repayment passed to new academy sponsor. Ongoing repayment regime.

Wren Academy

LDBS

1,500,000

500,000

In discussion with sponsor

Oasis Enfield

Oasis

2,000,000

607,737

In discussion with sponsor

Oasis Immingham

Oasis

2,000,000

0

Oasis Wintringham

Oasis

2,000,000

0

Samworth Enterprise Academy (Now known as Tudor Grange Samworth Academy).

Now part of Tudor Grange Academies Trust

2,443,000

2,062,928

Sponsorship contribution from Leicester Council. Agreement in place, conditions for payment not yet due

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2016-0038019. If you need to respond to us, please visit: https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at: https://www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Standret

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
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J Downs left an annotation ()

I've written about this here: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/20...