Dear Aberdeen City Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what the The North East Scotland Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different categories, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

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

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protext cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (i), which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format in which it is embodied." (ii)

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.'(ii)

Finally, within the law of confidence these 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,

Edward Jones

(i) Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...
(ii) Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request https://panopticonblog.com/2014/08/01/se...
(ii) 'Freedom of Information Awareness Guidance 5: Commercial Interests' Office of the Information Commissioner, Page 10, https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Thank you for your request for information, made under Section 1(1) of the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA), and received on 19 May
2017.

 

We would like to ask you to clarify your request so that we can identify
and locate the information which you have requested. Under Section 1(3) of
the FOISA, we do not have to supply you with the requested information
until you have provided us with more detail in this respect.

 

1) The full details of what the The North East Scotland Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class
or investment being held.

 

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently
invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list
should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each
company.

 

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

 

The North East Scotland Pension Fund publish a considerable amount of
information relating to investments on their website
([1]http://www.nespf.org.uk/). We would be extremely grateful if you could
clarify whether the information already published answers your request?

 

It may also be helpful for you to discuss any questions you have with a
relevant officer. Contact details for the North East Scotland Pension Fund
can be found on their website here:

 

[2]http://www.nespf.org.uk/AboutUs/contact_...

 

Clarifying these points will help us to be sure we are providing, where
possible, the information you are interested in.  Please note we will keep
your request on file for 20 working days whilst we await your
clarification.  It can often be helpful to discuss your request with a
member of our team who may be able to help you frame your request or
explain more about how ACC holds its information; if this is something you
feel may be helpful please do call us, and we will be happy to assist you.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[3][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/523602

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[4]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.nespf.org.uk/
2. http://www.nespf.org.uk/AboutUs/contact_...
3. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
4. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Dear Foi Enquiries,

Looking through the North East Scotland Pension Fund website, I think the information I requested is not currently on there.

Here are some examples of the kind of information I would like, and how I would like it to be presented, including that it is given in excel format.

East Sussex County Council:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

West Sussex County Council:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

The above Pension Funds, as you will see when looking at the excel sheets which they released, gave very detailed breakdowns of all of their investments, which as far as I can see do not currently exist North East Scotland Pension Fund website. Please release similar information for the North East Scotland Pension Fund.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Information enquiry reference FOI-17-0738.

 

Many thanks for your recent clarification of your information request,
which we received on 23 May 2017. 

 

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on
or before 21 June 2017.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the
meantime.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Gail Halfyard

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/523602

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

 

[3]sig_strip

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Thank you for your information request of 19 May 2017.  Aberdeen City
Council (ACC) has completed the necessary search for the information
requested.

 

I would like to request the following information:

 

1) The full details of what the The North East Scotland Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class
or investment being held.

 

Ideally this information would be broken down into the different
categories, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash
Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest
Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities
Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund
holds.

2) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently
invests in (this should be covered in the above question). This list
should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each
company.

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

This information is available on the NESPF website at:

 

[1]http://www.nespf.org.uk/Investment/inv_m...

 

The first heading is ‘Fund Holdings information’ – this links to a
spreadsheet with a breakdown of all our holdings & their market value.

 

The second heading is ‘Private Equity’ – this links to a spreadsheet with
a breakdown of all our private equity (name, category, investment, value
etc.)

 

If you require any further help, you can discuss any questions you have
with a relevant officer. Contact details for the North East Scotland
Pension Fund can be found on their website here:

 

[2]http://www.nespf.org.uk/AboutUs/contact_...

 

As details of what the North East Scotland Pension Fund currently invests
in is otherwise accessible on their website at the link provided above, it
is exempt from disclosure.  In order to comply with its obligations under
the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC hereby gives notice that we are
refusing your request under the terms of Section 25(1) - Information
Otherwise Accessible - of the FOISA.

 

We hope this helps with your request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANDLING OF YOUR REQUEST

 

ACC handled your request for information in accordance with the provisions
of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please refer to the
attached PDF for more information about your rights under FOISA.

 

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[3][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[4]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.nespf.org.uk/Investment/inv_m...
2. http://www.nespf.org.uk/AboutUs/contact_...
3. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
4. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

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