University Council meeting minutes take 2

Julian Todd made this Freedom of Information request to University of Liverpool

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear University of Liverpool,

As you may recall I made an FOI for the University Council meeting minutes for the meeting of 9 July 2019 last September,[1] and you refused to disclose them under Section 22 (Information intended for future publication), stating that:

"We do not publish Council minutes until they are approved at the subsequent business meeting, which in this case will be at the meeting scheduled for 20 November 2019. We expect the minutes to be published shortly after this meeting on the above website."

Well, it's been a while since that date, and there still are no Council meetings on the website which you referred me to.[2]

Accordingly, can you please provide me the following information:

(1) The Liverpool University Council meeting minutes for the meeting of 9 July 2019

(2) The Liverpool University Council meeting minutes for the meeting of 20 November 2019

(3) What changes were made to the circulated draft minutes of the 9 July 2019 meeting prior to them being approved at the 20 November 2019 meeting.

(4) Which particular meeting of the Council, among the 1040 that appear to be numbered, took the decision to adopt the policy not to publish draft minutes of Council minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, as is the case with many other public bodies such as the City Council.

As I pointed out in my original request the reason I wanted to see the minutes of this particular meeting was a note on another website reporting that the university had taken the decision to divest from fossil fuels. Unfortunately the devil is in the detail, and I don't think it is possible to rely on this news until the decision can be seen in writing, including any terms that have been applied to it. I hope this example will persuade you of the merit of publishing minutes and decisions by the governing body without unnecessary delays.

[1] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...
[2] https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/governance/c...

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

foi Uof Liverpool, University of Liverpool

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Dear Mr Todd

This is to acknowledge receipt of your request for information from
the University of Liverpool.   Your reference number is FOI/2019/515. We
will review and process your request as soon as possible.

We will respond within 20 working days of the day we received the
request.  You will hear back from us by 14^th January at the latest. If
for any reason we are unable to meet this deadline, we will keep you fully
informed of the reasons for this.

If you have any queries about this email or your request or if at any
stage you are unhappy with the way in which your request is being handled
please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely

 

Kirsty Rothwell
Freedom of Information Officer / Data Protection Co-ordinator
Legal & Governance

University of Liverpool, Foundation Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69
7ZX

 

The information in this email and any attachments is confidential. Unless
you are the intended recipient, you must not read, copy, distribute, use
or retain this message or any part of it. If you are not the intended
recipient, please notify the sender immediately.

 

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foi Uof Liverpool, University of Liverpool

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Todd

 

We are due to respond to this request by 14^th January. With sincere
apologies, I have been advised that staff are still preparing a response
to your request. 

 

I hope to be able to provide a response by Tuesday 21^st January at the
latest.   If we do receive a response sooner than 21^st January, it will
be sent to you without delay.

 

If for any reason we are unable to meet this revised deadline, I will keep
you fully informed.

 

Kind regards,

 

Kirsty Rothwell
Freedom of Information Officer / Data Protection Co-ordinator
Legal & Governance

University of Liverpool, Foundation Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69
7ZX

 

The information in this email and any attachments is confidential. Unless
you are the intended recipient, you must not read, copy, distribute, use
or retain this message or any part of it. If you are not the intended
recipient, please notify the sender immediately.

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foi Uof Liverpool, University of Liverpool

1 Attachment

FOI/2019/515

17^th January 2020

 

Name:  Julian Todd

By email to: [FOI #627499 email]

 

Dear Mr Todd,

 

Thank you for your email of 13^th December requesting information from the
University of Liverpool.  Colleagues have provided the information
requested below.

 

The Liverpool University Council meeting minutes for the meeting of 9 July
2019

These minutes are now available at:
https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/media/livacu...

 

The Liverpool University Council meeting minutes for the meeting of 20
November 2019

These minutes will be made available on our public website following their
approval at the next meeting of our Council, which will be held on 5
February 2020.

 

What changes were made to the circulated draft minutes of the 9 July 2019
meeting prior to them being approved at the 20 November 2019 meeting?

No changes were made.

 

Which particular meeting of the Council, among the 1040 that appear to be
numbered, took the decision to adopt the policy not to publish draft
minutes of Council minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, as is
the case with many other public bodies such as the City Council? 

It is our custom and practice to not publish our minutes publicly until
they have received approval at the subsequent meeting of the relevant
committee.  There is no specific Council minute relating to this matter.

 

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request for
information, you have a right under Section 50 of the Freedom of
Information Act to ask the University to review it; however, you must do
so within 40 working days of the date of this response. Your request
should include our reference number and explain the reason for requesting
a review. Email [University of Liverpool request email] or write to the Freedom of Information
Reviewer, Legal & Compliance, University of Liverpool, Foundation
Building, 765 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 7ZX.  We will respond to your
request for an internal review within 20 working days of receipt.

 

Following an internal review, if you remain dissatisfied with the handling
of your request, you have a right to appeal to the Information
Commissioner at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. Telephone:  0303 123 1113
www.ico.gov.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Kirsty Rothwell
Freedom of Information / Data Protection Officer 
Legal & Governance

University of Liverpool, Foundation Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69
7ZX

 

The information in this email and any attachments is confidential. Unless
you are the intended recipient, you must not read, copy, distribute, use
or retain this message or any part of it. If you are not the intended
recipient, please notify the sender immediately.

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Dear foi Uof Liverpool,

Thank you for the belated publication of the Council meeting minutes of 9 July 2019, and providing adequate evidence that the policy of not publishing them as soon as possible after each meeting is informal, made-up and wholly unnecessary (given the fact that no changes were made).

As I'd hoped, the minutes do finally provide written confirmation of the statement made last summer by the Liverpool Guild of Students[1] that the University had committed to divest from fossil fuel companies-- but not until 31 July 2022.

While I am here, I'd like to point out that the University could actually choose to lead on this issue by phoning up its stock-broker today and selling all its fossil fuel shares in time for a press-release before the next season of student recruitments. This could have a lot more effect than spending a great deal of money on the sort of advertising that does not rise above the noise, because it is a deeply important issue for the youth which the older generations (the ones who tend to run universities) may not have fully recognized. Your promotions department should be able to advise.

[1] https://www.liverpoolguild.org/fossilfree

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd