Printer credit purchased

Adam Philip Richardson made this Freedom of Information request to University of Southampton

The request was partially successful.

From: Adam Philip Richardson

11 July 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to request, under the Freedom of Information Act, the
total amount received by the purchase of printer credit at the
University of Southampton for the academic years 2006/7, 2007/08
and 2008/09.

I would also like to request the number of printer credits
purchased during these academic years.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Richardson

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From: Adam Philip Richardson

14 August 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would just like to remind you that I should have received a reply
from yourselves by 12 August. I have not yet had a reply from
yourselves.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Richardson

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From: Halliday B.H.E.
University of Southampton

14 August 2009

I am out of the office until Monday 24 August 2009. I shall not be accessing e-mail. If your query is urgent please contact Barbara Watkins on 023 8059 4684 otherwise I shall deal with it on my return.

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From: Adam Philip Richardson

14 August 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of University of
Southampton's handling of my FOI request 'Printer credit
purchased'.

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

The request was sent on 11th July 2009, with a reply due by 12th
August 2009. I received no acknowledgement of my request, and have
waited patiently for a reply. After giving two days grace for
lateness, I sent a prompt, as advised by the website. This then
gave me my first response - informing me someone was on holiday!
Surely the FOI should not have been ignored to begin with. I am
hoping that a response is now swift and forthcoming as under the
Freedom of Information Act you should have replied by now, and are
thus breaking the law.

Please can you review you response and the process, and hopefully
furnish me with a response soon.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Richardson

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From: Foi
University of Southampton

8 September 2009


Attachment 4059.pdf
406K Download View as HTML


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Francis Irving left an annotation ( 8 September 2009)

Quote-marks The document doesn't load in my PDF viewer, because it has copy protection on it. I would advise the requester to ask the university to send the document in unprotected format.

Section 11 of the FOI act allows the requester to state a preference for communication "in another form acceptable to the applicant". The public authority must do so if it is "reasonably practicable". And it is surely "reasonably practicable" for them to provide a normal PDF, without copy protection.

If I was the request, and the authority refused to make a proper version of the document available, then I would complain to the ICO.

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John Cross left an annotation ( 8 September 2009)

Quote-marks The Freedom of Information Act imposes a general duty to provide information on request (unless exemptions are available). The information must be provided to the person making the request whether or not they are willing to enter an agreement or contract with a third party. In short they should provide a version of the document that can be opened without agreeing to any terms or conditions.

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ( 9 September 2009)

Quote-marks The university has released the information in a PDF document which cannot be read by very many PDF readers.

Some readers which can open the document show a cover page which requires the reader readers to click to confirm they are "Adam Philip Richardson" (the original requestor) and agree to an "intellectual property rights" notice which forbids "use" of the document without permission. A subset of those readers which can open the cover page display the content if and when the terms are agreed to.

This has happened on another University of Southampton request and the requestor has gone back asking for an alternative format (citing the disability discrimination act), with no joy yet:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ex...

Personally I think this is a very silly thing for the University of Southampton to be doing, because anyone can request their own copy of the the information.

The substantive element of the response on this thread states:

"We refer to your request under the Freedom of Information Act for:

1. the total amount received by the purchase of printer credit at the University for the academic years 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 and

2. the number of printer credits purchased during those (academic) years.

With regard to (1): because of the adoption of a new accounting system we only hold information for financial year 2008/09 and the last three months of financial year 2007/08. The total amounts received are:

FY 2008/09: £206,995.68

FY 2007/08: £9,931,07

By way of comparison, the total amount received in the last three months of FY 2008/09 was £39,272.23

We are trying to ascertain whether we can still retrieve detailed breakdowns for the other periods and whether the likely costs of retrieval will exceed the appropriate limit, and will write to let you know.

The University's financial year runs from 1 August to 31 July, whereas the academic year runs from October to the following September. The above figures translated into academic year(s) are:

AY 2008/09: £207,074.84

AY 2007/08: £10,900.81

With regard to (2): printer credit is not purchased in terms of units - it is purchased as money-equivalent (ie. a purchaser will have an account balance shown in pounds and pence, rather than in printing units). That balance will be decremented according to the type of printing performed (colour printing costs more than black and white, A3 costs more than A4 and so forth).
"

A more accessible PDF version has been made available at:

http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

--

Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

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Francis Irving left an annotation ( 9 September 2009)

Quote-marks These two requests are both for background information, costs etc. relating to this PDF protection policy.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

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From: Adam Philip Richardson

10 September 2009

Dear FOI at the University of Southampton,

Would it be possible to have a copy of the PDF without copy
protection?

Many Thanks,

Adam Richardson

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PDF guy left an annotation (10 September 2009)

Quote-marks I can tell you technically how they do it - they're using Optional content groups. These are normally used for CAD and engineering PDFs, so that layers can be turned off and on.

There are several layers here on one page - the first is the disclaimer with the button, and when the radio button is clicked that layer is turned off and the other layers (the content and the IPR agreement) are switched on.

The spec for this is very capable but Acrobat itself has very limited ability to create these - the "Watermark" feature is about the best if can do. It's quite clever actually, I run a company that develops PDF software for a living and have seen just about every type of PDF you can imagine, but this one is new to me: in fact it's an excellent sample document, so thanks for posting online!

Incidentally it almost certainly fails any recommended guidelines for accessibility, as screen readers won't be able to work with it. Maybe Southampton Uni are hoping blind people won't be making FOI requests.

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PDF guy left an annotation (10 September 2009)

Quote-marks No, I have to correct myself. It's nothing clever at all - they have some form fields with a white background over the body of the text. Click on the button and the fields disappear, revealing the text on the page.

Technically there's nothing to see here - you can do this in Acrobat yourself very easily.

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Richard Taylor left an annotation (12 September 2009)

Quote-marks Those using Mac OSX's 'Preview" PDF reader can obtain the content from by performing "select all" and copying the text to the clipboard - both the hidden and visible text is obtained.

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From: Foi
University of Southampton

1 October 2009

Dear Mr. Richardson,

Thank you for your email of 10 September requesting a copy of the PDF without copy protection and apologies for the delay in responding.

I enclose a link to the substantive information from the PDF which has been posted on the WhatDoTheyKnow.com by a volunteer. The link is:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pr...

The information has been accurately transcribed by the volunteer, save for the paragraph below (differences have been highlighted in yellow for your convenience):

[PDF] We are trying to ascertain whether we can still retrieve detailed breakdowns for the rest of 2007/08 and 2006/07 and what the likely costs of retrieval will be, and we will write to let you know.

[Web] We are trying to ascertain whether we can still retrieve detailed breakdowns for the other periods and whether the likely costs of retrieval will exceed the appropriate limit, and will write to let you know.

Yours sincerely,

FOI

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Richard Taylor left an annotation (14 October 2009)

Quote-marks An article mentioning this request is available on the WhatDoTheyKnow blog:

http://www.mysociety.org/2009/09/12/sout...

The ICO's view on this case is presented in the comments to that article.

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Mr Mitchell left an annotation (20 November 2009)

Quote-marks See also the request made by Francis Irving:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pr...

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
University of Southampton only: