Dear Heritage Lottery Fund,
Please could you supply me with a copy of the application, documentation and related correspondence submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund by or on behalf of Swindon Borough Council in connection with their proposals for a new Art Gallery and Museum over the last 18 months.
I understand that other FOI's to the HLF that this information can be disclosed.
Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it to our FOI department and they will respond.
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Dear Scott Rivers
Unfortunately we will be unable to meet the 20 working day deadline for
this request. It is taking longer than expected to consult with third
We will do our best to respond as quickly as we can.
Office Manager, Secretariat
Heritage Lottery Fund
Apologies for the delay in responding to your request. This has been caused by the need to consult with the applicant, Swindon Town Council, who provided the information covered by the request for the purpose of assessing their application for funding. Given the nature of the material covered by the request, we had to wait for Swindon Town Council to respond with their comments before responding to your request for information.
Dear Heritage Lottery Fund,
Please could you supply me with a copy of the application,
documentation and related correspondence submitted to the Heritage
Lottery Fund by or on behalf of Swindon Borough Council in
connection with their proposals for a new Art Gallery and Museum
over the last 18 months.
I understand that other FOI's to the HLF that this information can
Information covered by your request
We have identified a number of documents covered by your request. Some of these are being released in full, some are being released with redactions and some are being withheld in full. I have set these out below, under those headings, together with a full explanation of why some information is not being released at the present time. Please note that the documents listed in these three sections represent all of the information held by HLF which is covered by your request.
Documents being released in full
Please find attached the following documents which are being released in full:
• Email dated 1 Dec 2014
• Email dated 9 Dec 2014
• Email dated 6 May 2015
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Site
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Visulaisation
Documents being released with some redactions
• Application form
• Email dated 5 June 2014
Please note that we have provided Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the application form in full. These are the main sections of the form which deal with the main project proposals. All applicants are asked to agree upfront that these may be released if requested under FOIA at the time of application. The other sections are being withheld under Sections 41 and 43 as outlined below.
Small amounts of commercially sensitive information have been redacted from the email dated 5 June, together with very small amounts of personal information. The personal information has been redacted in line with the Data Protection principles.
Documents being withheld in full
HLF holds the following documents which are being withheld at the present time under Sections 41 and 43 of the Freedom of Information Act:
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Audience Development Plan.pdf
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Interpretive Report.pdf
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Cost Breakdown.xlsx
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Capital Cost Model.pdf
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Letters of Support.pdf
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Cost Plan.xlsx
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Outline Business Strategy.pdf
• Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Development Phase Plan.pdf
Explanation of Exemptions
All of these documents were provided to HLF by Swindon Council for the purpose of assessing their application for funding. This application was not successful, and Swindon Council have indicated that they intend to re-apply for an HLF grant. HLF has consulted Swindon about the release of this information, and Swindon Council have asked us to withhold the information because it was provided to us in confidence, and its release at the present time would prejudice the commercial interests of Swindon Council. HLF also considers that the release of the information at the present time could prejudice the commercial interests of HLF.
Section 41 Information provided in confidence
A public authority is entitled to withhold information that has been provided to it by another legal entity, in confidence, and when the release of that information could give rise to an actionable breach of confidence.
These documents contain sensitive information that is not already in the public domain, and were supplied to HLF with an expectation that they would be treated confidentially. It has been explicitly stated that this information has been provided to HLF in confidence. The FOIA stipulates that the public authority must be satisfied that the information contained is indeed confidential. HLF has consulted Swindon Council, which has confirmed that they consider the information to be confidential, and that its release at the present time would prejudice the Councils legitimate commercial interests. HLF FOI officers agree with this judgment. As the Council has the legal standing to bring an action for breach of confidence, HLF is withholding these documents under Section 41 of the Act.
Section 43(2) Commercially sensitive information
A public authority is entitled to withhold information under this provision where disclosure of that information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any persons (including the authority holding the information).
These documents contain detailed financial information, strategic project planning information and tendering specifications. If released at the present time, this information would prejudice the applicant’s ability to successfully deliver the proposed scheme in the future. Although this application was unsuccessful, the Council have indicated that they would like to re-apply to HLF. Releasing the details of the previous application would undermine the Council’s ability to deliver the proposed scheme, should it receive funding in the future.
Under Section 43(2) we are also required to carry out a public interest test to determine whether the public interest in disclosing commercially prejudicial information is outweighed by the public interest in withholding the information.
PUBLIC INTEREST TEST
Factors in favour of disclosure
• It is acknowledged that disclosing the information requested would enhance transparency and accountability.
• As a publicly funded organisation, the public has a legitimate interest in HLF’s activities.
Factors against disclosure
• It is not in the public interest for the commercial viability of HLF’s applicants to be jeopardised unnecessarily, or for their commercial interests to be disproportionately prejudiced.
• It is not in the public interest for Swindon Council’s ability to re-apply for an HLF grant to be compromised
• It is not in the public interest for the processes through which public funding is invested to be compromised. HLF is required to ensure that these processes are robust, fair, impartial, and not subject to undue influence. Releasing information provided in confidence for these purposes would distort this.
• It is not in the public interest for applicants to be deterred from applying for funding, or engaging with us, because they have concerns relating to the protection of their confidential and commercially sensitive information.
HLF considers that the arguments against disclosure outweigh those in favour of release. HLF relies on a relationship of mutual trust and confidence with its applicants and grantees in order to successfully deliver Lottery projects. Swindon Council have specifically indicated to us that this information is commercially sensitive and have asked us not to release it because of the damage that its release would cause. The release of this information at this time would therefore constitute a breach of the trust and confidence which HLF depends on to deliver its core business of distributing Lottery grants. The breach of this trust and confidence would have wider detrimental effects on HLF’s ability to deliver projects as well as the clear and more immediate damage that the release of these specific documents would have for Swindon Council to carry out a project at this site in the future.
I appreciate that you will be disappointed that we are not able to make more of this information available to you at the present time. I hope that you appreciate the careful consideration which has gone into this decision, and understand why we do not feel it would be appropriate to release this information at the present time.
If after reading the information that has been released and our explanation why information has been withheld, you are dissatisfied with the way your request has been handled, please let me know and I will arrange for the handling of the request to be reviewed by HLF Chief Executive Carole Souter.
Heritage Lottery Fund
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