Dear Cheshire West and Chester Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what real estate assets the Cheshire Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each type of real estate asset or investment being held.

This information should be broken down into the different
categories, including:
- Listed Real Estate securities;
Unlisted/Private Real Estate Property Funds/vehicles, companies or CIS;
- Directly held properties ; and
- (listed/unlisted) Real Estate Debt Funds/vehicles.

In the case of any unlisted real estate vehicles or real estate debt vehicles, the domicile of the underlying assets should be included.

A full list of all the companies, vehicles, CIS etc in which the Pension Fund invests in or has an outstanding commitment to should be covered in the above question. This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company etc.

2) The current yields of the different investments the pension fund holds.

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all real estate investments that the Pension Fund holds.

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, please can you also provide the password to the excel
sheet.
5) Please supply a copy of the Pension Scheme’s latest Statement of Investment Principles and most recent Pension Fund Report & Accounts.
I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest
under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest.
The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following:

* When these confidentially agreements were agreed
* All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
* The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the
Information Commissioner's guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: 'Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of
a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.'(i)

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees, and understand that under the act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Yours faithfully,

Samuel Hall

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

RE: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

Case Reference: RFI 0573

 

Dear Samuel Hall

 

Thank you for your email.

 

It will be treated as a request within the meaning of the Act: this means
that we will send you a full response within 20 working days, either
supplying you with the information which you want, or explaining to you
why we cannot supply it.

 

If we need any further clarification or there is any problem we will be in
touch.

 

 

Disclosures Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Tel: 0300 123 8 123

Email: [1][email address]

Location: Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port
CH65 0BE

Visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

 

 

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1. mailto:[email address]

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

2 Attachments

Dear Samuel Hall

 

Thank you for your request for information of 21^st January 2019 which has
been logged as RFI 0573 and has been dealt with under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. We confirm that Cheshire West and Chester Council
holds information relating to your request.

 

For the purpose of clarity your request has been reproduced below:

 

Dear Cheshire West and Chester Council,

 

I would like to request the following information:

 

1) The full details of what real estate assets the Cheshire Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each type of real
estate asset or investment being held.

 

This information should be broken down into the different categories,
including:

-Listed Real Estate securities;

Unlisted/Private Real Estate Property Funds/vehicles, companies or CIS;
-Directly held properties ; and

-(listed/unlisted) Real Estate Debt Funds/vehicles.

 

In the case of any unlisted real estate vehicles or real estate debt
vehicles, the domicile of the underlying assets should be included.

 

A full list of all the companies, vehicles, CIS etc in which the Pension
Fund invests in or has an outstanding commitment to should be covered in
the above question. This list should include the names of each company and
the amount invested in each company etc.

 

2) The current yields of the different investments the pension fund holds.

 

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all real estate investments
that the Pension Fund holds.

 

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet
without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel
sheet, please can you also provide the password to the excel sheet.

5) Please supply a copy of the Pension Scheme’s latest Statement of
Investment Principles and most recent Pension Fund Report & Accounts.

I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible.
If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send
that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need
further clarification, please contact me by email.

 

Response

 

Please find enclosed the answers to 1)-3) in the attached Excel
spreadsheet.

 

4) states this is how you wish to receive this information.

 

5) Please see attached the annual report for 2017-18 which is the latest
available version,

 

We trust this answers your query.

 

The Council considers that your request has been answered in full by
either confirming that information is not held, providing you with the
information requested, or explaining why any information has been withheld
and the reasons for any redaction. Where applicable, the Council has also
told you the reasons for the delay in responding to your request.

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled you can request a review by writing to the Disclosures Team within
40 working days from the date of the Council’s response.

 

You are entitled to a review by the Council if:

·         You are dissatisfied with the Council’s explanation of why the
application was not dealt with within the 20 working day time limit.

·         All the information requested is not being disclosed and you
have not received an explanation why some information is not being
disclosed.

·         A reason for the disclosures under the request being refused is
not received.

·         You consider that exemptions have been wrongly applied, and/or

·         You consider that a fee has been wrongly applied.

 

Please set out your grounds for seeking a review together with what
specific part of your request those grounds apply to and the outcome you
are seeking. The Council reserves the right to ask you for clarification
of the grounds for your review request if the grounds are not clear, and
to delay commencing the review if such grounds are not provided.

 

The Disclosures Team can be contacted by email via:
[1][Cheshire West and Chester Council request email] or at the following address:

 

Disclosures Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

(Flr 2 HQ)

4 Civic Way

Ellesmere Port

CH64 0BE

 

The Disclosures Team will acknowledge a request for an internal review
within 5 working days and complete the review as soon as possible and no
later than 40 working days from receipt of the request.

 

More information about the Council’s internal review process can be found
via:

[2]http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk...

 

If you remain dissatisfied following the outcome of your review, you have
a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 

The Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45

Website: [3]www.ico.org.uk

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Disclosures Team – Customer Relations and Information

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Tel: 0300 123 8 123

Email: [4][email address]

Location: Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port
CH65 0BE

Visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

 

FD

 

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4. mailto:[email address]