Sponsorship funding from BP and Shell

The request was partially successful.

John Volynchook

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please may you provide the following information regarding
sponsorship of The National Museum of Science and Industry by each of BP and Shell.

What year did sponsorship commence?

How much annual sponsorship is received?

Is there a sponsorship contract and if so, when is this due for renewal?

Please provide any information regarding environmental,
'reputational' or any other audit regarding the sponsorship of BP and Shell undertaken by The Natural History Museum.

Yours faithfully,

John Volynchook

Freedom of Information (SCM),

Thank you for your enquiry.

We will reply as soon as possible. There may a delay in your receiving a
response, depending on the volume of enquiries we have received. However,
a response will definitely be forwarded to you within 20 working days.

Kind regards,

National Museum of Science and Industry

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Science & Industry. This email has been scanned for all viruses by the
MessageLabs Email Security System.

Dear John Volynchook,

Thank you for your email dated 13th November 2008 with regards to the
sponsorship of the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI) by
Shell and B.P. Unfortunately the second specific enquiry ("How much
annual sponsorship is received?") is slightly more difficult to answer
and calculate than the remaining points as the Museum does not receive a
'lump-sum' from these companies. Instead both Shell and B.P sponsor
individual galleries and events as detailed below. However after some
research and correspondence with the companies in question my colleagues
in the Development Team (the Museum section responsible for sponsorship)
have been able to compile the following information:

1. What year did sponsorship commence?

Shell Launchpad 2007
BP Energy - Fuelling the Future 2003
BP Talk Science 2007
BP Kits for Science Clubs project 2008

2. How much annual sponsorship is received?

Shell Launchpad Withheld under
Clause 43(2) -
Commercial Interests
BP Energy - Fuelling the Future Withheld under Clause
43(2) -
Commercial Interests
BP Talk Science Withheld under Clause
43(2) -
Commercial Interests
BP Kits for Science Clubs project Withheld under Clause 43(2) -
Commercial Interests

3. Is there a sponsorship contract, and if so when is it due for
renewal?

Shell Launchpad 2010
BP Energy - Fuelling the Future 2009
BP Talk Science 2010
BP Kits for Science Clubs project 2009

The National Museum of Science and Industry takes great care and
considers at great length any sponsorship deal we enter into. The
Museum's considerations take into account public interest needs and are
designed to ensure a balanced representation is made within a sponsored
gallery or exhibition space; a visit to any such sponsored gallery
should clearly highlight this procedure.

The NMSI prides it self on being a world renowned Museum and we are
constantly striving to become 'the worlds most admired Museum'. As such
we are proud not only of our unique collection but also of any sponsors
who support the Museum to maintain, exhibit and showcase the national
and internationally important objects within the NMSI collection and
care.

Please note for information relating to the National History Museum may
I suggest you contact them direct as the National Museum of Science and
Industry is a separate and unique organisation.

I hope this information is of some use to you and I wish you all the
best with your research.

Rory Cook,
Documentation Centre,
Science Museum,
London, SW7 2DD

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Alex Skene left an annotation ()

This is not a proper Refusal Notice as required under Section 17 of the FOIA:

1. No details provided for how to complain or request an internal review, nor contact details of the Information Commissioner

2. For information to be witheld under Section 43(2), the following must be provided:
* Details of who would be prejudiced.
* A "Public Interest Test" where the arguments for and against release of the information should be discussed (as this is a "qualified" exemption).
* If release of the information could prejudice a third party, they should be consulted with.

See the following for references for the above:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ca...

A request for an internal review by someone at the public authority who was not involved with the original request is recommended - http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/unhap...

John Volynchook

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 The National Museum of Science and Industry's handling of my FOI request 'Sponsorship funding from BP and Shell'.

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

In addition please can you provide any information regarding environmental, 'reputational' or other audit relating to the sponsorship by BP and Shell, as undertaken by The National Museum of Science and Industry.

Yours sincerely,

John Volynchook

Goodman Michelle,

Dear Mr Volynchook

Thank you for your email dated 21st January, which has been passed to me
from the Freedom of Information officer.

I'm writing to advise that your information request is currently being
considered in line with our internal review process. A comprehensive
response will be forwarded to you shortly.

Kind regards,

Michelle Goodman
Corporate Information and Enquiries Manager
NMSI

The members of the NMSI family include:
Science Museum, National Media Museum, National Railway Museum,
Locomotion

Science Museum
Exhibition Road
London
SW7 2DD
Tel: 020 7942 4145
E-mail: [email address]
Web: www.nmsi.ac.uk

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Goodman Michelle,

Dear Mr Volynchook

Thank you for your email dated 21st January 2009. I note that you request a review of the response you received from the Science Museum dated 8th December 2008 concerning your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I have conducted an internal review of this matter with the help of other senior members of staff at the Science Museum. We have considered your request alongside the response you received and, firstly, would like to apologise for the flaws in our initial response, which we accept was not up to our usual high standard.

After further consideration, we are able to disclose some additional information in response to your question 2, "How much annual sponsorship is received?" As explained in our initial response, the Science Museum receives contributions to individual galleries and events from these companies rather than annual sums. The total amounts contributed to the following projects (in some cases over a period of several years) by the relevant sponsors are/ will be:

Shell, Launchpad 2007: £2,000,000 over a 3 year period, 2007-2010
BP, Talk Science: £1,026,000 over a 3 year period, 2007-2010
BP, Kits for Science Clubs: £150,000, over a 1 year period, 2008.

However, after consideration, we uphold the original decision not to release the amount contributed by BP to the Energy gallery, for the following reasons:

Section 43(2) - Commercial Interests:

Information is exempt from being disclosed under Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person. Having consulted with the relevant sponsor, the Science Museum considers that disclosure of this information would prejudice the Science Museum's commercial interests, and those of the sponsor, by distorting the sponsorship market. Disclosure would be likely to place both the Museum and the sponsor at a disadvantage in future negotiations with third parties in relation to sponsorship of this type of sponsorship. In particular, the sponsor would be placed under pressure to fund similar projects at other institutions at a similar level to that provided to the Museum, and the Museum would find it difficult to obtain sponsorship over this level in return for similar benefits to those enjoyed by this sponsor.

The Science Museum also considers that the disclosure of this information in breach of its duty of confidentiality to the sponsor (see below) would damage the Museum's relationship with them, and potentially other sponsors who become aware of the disclosure. This would prejudice the Museum's commercial interests because it will make it more difficult to obtain sponsorship from them in the future.

I apologise that our application of the public interest test in relation to the s43 exemption was not fully explained in our initial response. We have carefully considered (and internally reviewed in response to your complaint) the public interest in disclosing this information, and accept that the public have a legitimate interest in the sponsorship activities of national institutions such as the Science Museum. For this reason, the Museum regularly publishes names of sponsors, and has no blanket policy of withholding more detailed information about sponsorship.

However, the Museum must also consider the public interest in attracting sponsorship and maintaining trust and good relations with sponsors who support the Museum's programmes and exhibitions for the benefit of the public. In the present case, the projects listed could not have taken place without the generous assistance of the sponsors involved. Given that the identity of the sponsor and the project has been disclosed in each case, the Museum therefore considers that the public interest in withholding the exact amount of the sponsorship outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

We have also, on review, identified a further relevant clause supporting the withholding of the information you request:

Section 41 - Information provided in confidence:

Under Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act, information is exempt from disclosure if (a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person; and (b) the disclosure of the information to the public (other than under this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.

After consultation with the relevant sponsor (who has agreed to disclosure of the information already supplied), the Museum considers that it is under a duty of confidentiality in relation to the exact amount of sponsorship, and that to disclose it would be an actionable breach of confidence.

Section 41 is an absolute exemption and therefore the Science Museum is not required to apply the public interest test under the Freedom of Information Act. In respect of the public interest "inherent" in identifying an actionable breach of confidence, I refer you to our reasoning under Section 43 above.

Regarding your further question about the provision of any information relating to environmental 'reputational' or other audit concerning the sponsorship by BP and Shell, as undertaken by the National Museum of Science and Industry, I can confirm no such reports or audits exist.

Finally, I apologise that our original response did not contain details of the procedure for dealing with complaints following FOI requests, or how to appeal to the Information Commissioner. If you remain dissatisfied with the Science Museum's response following this internal review, you may:

(i) refer your complaint to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees via the Committee Manager, by writing to the Committee Manager, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD; or

(ii) seek an independent adjudication of the matter from the Information Commissioner, who can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 or telephone 01625 545 745.

Yours sincerely

Michelle Goodman
Corporate Information and Enquiries Manager
NMSI

The members of the NMSI family include:
Science Museum, National Media Museum, National Railway Museum, Locomotion

Science Museum
Exhibition Road
London
SW7 2DD
Tel: 020 7942 4145
E-mail: [email address]
Web: www.nmsi.ac.uk

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