Dear Sir or Madam,

In the summer of 2007 Professor Sir Howard Newby was appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool in place of Professor Sir Drummond Bone.

According to Section 5(1) of the Statutes of the University of Liverpool:[1]

"The Vice-Chancellor shall be appointed by the Council after consideration of the report of a Joint Committee of which the President of the Council shall be a member ex-officio and Chairman and the other members whereof shall be nominated in equal numbers by the
Council and the Senate."

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please may I be sent a copy of said report by the Joint Committee relating to the appointment of Professor Sir Howard Newby.

[1] http://www.liv.ac.uk/commsec/calendar/st...

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

foi Uof Liverpool, University of Liverpool

                                                                                                                                   

Mrs Lesley Jackson

Freedom of Information

Co-ordinator

The Foundation Building
765 Brownlow Hill
Liverpool
L69 7ZX

F  0151 794 3272
E  [University of Liverpool request email]

[1]www.liv.ac.uk

                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                    

FOI/LJ

1^st May 2009

Mr. J. Todd

Via email to:- [2][FOI #10141 email]

Dear Mr. Todd,

Thank you for your email dated 2^nd April 2009 where you requested a copy
of the report by the Joint Committee relating to the appointment of
Professor Sir Howard Newby.

I can confirm that the University holds the information you requested. 
However, this information is exempt under Section 36 (prejudice to the
effective conduct of public affairs) and Section 43 (commercial interest)
of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and is therefore being
withheld.  

Section 36 of the FOIA provides an exemption from disclosing information
if disclosure would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public
affairs.  The University believes that releasing the information would
restrict or suppress the freedom with which opinions are expressed and
would inhibit members of such committees from engaging in free and frank
discussion which would have a detrimental effect on internal debate. 
This could in turn be detrimental to the quality of decision making within
the University.

The University also believes that the requested information is exempt from
disclosure in accordance with Section 43 of the FOIA on the basis that
disclosure could potentially prejudice its commercial interests.  In
particular, the disclosure of such information could adversely affect the
relationship of confidence and trust which has been developed and which
encourages those concerned to feel free to make comments in such
situations.

If you are not satisfied with the University’s response to your request,
you may ask the University to review it.  If you wish to do this, please
write to Mr. Kevan Ryan, Director of Legal Services, The University of
Liverpool, The Foundation Building, 765 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, L69 7ZX,
enclosing a copy of your original request and explaining your complaint. 
Please include an address for correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Lesley Jackson

Freedom of Information Co-ordinator

>

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Dear Lesley Jackson,

Thank you for your reply on 1 May 2009 turning down my Freedom of Information request for the report by the Joint Committee relating to the appointment of Professor Sir Howard Newby pursuant to Section 5(1) of the Statutes of the University of Liverpool.

You have considered that the document is wholly exempt (including its cover, date, title, list of contributors, summary recommendations etc) on the basis of Section 36 (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) and Section 43 (commercial interest).

Section 36 appears to be wholly about ministers of the Crown, executive agencies of the state, and Parliament. I am satisfied that it does not apply to Universities. If you disagree with me, please tell me who is the "qualified person" described in subsection 36(5) of the Act.

Even if Section 36 did apply to the University of Liverpool (which it doesn't), the report was intended to be circulated among the members of the Council which includes people from outside bodies and, as a matter of fact, included Sir Howard Newby himself who was on the Council. His presence on the body which received the report obviously limits the scope of "free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation" that could appear in the report, and it therefore is very difficult to make an convincing argument about its wholesale sensitivity.

Note that I am asking for a copy of a statutory report, not the informal minutes or private comments which may have been made during the drafting of the report.

In your application of Section 43 you alleged that disclosure could potentially prejudice its commercial interests and "adversely affect the relationship of confidence and trust which has been developed and which encourages those concerned to feel free to make comments in such situations."

I think you will find that you have largely restated the non-commercial concerns that were made above under Section 36.

In order for Section 43 to stand, you need to provide reasoned arguments and evidence for how this information could prejudice any commercial interests, be they trade secrets, sensitive market plans, product designs and so on. Can you list any commercial customers or suppliers who have any interest in this report?

Please handle my expression of dissatisfaction in accordance with your complaints procedure, as stipulated in rule 38 of the Freedom of Information Act Code of Practice.

I look forward to receiving a copy of this document in due course, with as few redactions as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

foi Uof Liverpool, University of Liverpool

Dear Mr. Todd,

This is to acknowledge that your complaint is being looked into and we will be back in touch with you before 29th May 2009.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Lesley Jackson
FOI Co-ordinator,
The University of Liverpool,
The Foundation Building,
765 Brownlow Hill
Liverpool L69 7ZX

Fax: 0151 794 3272

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foi Uof Liverpool, University of Liverpool

2 Attachments

Mr Kevan Ryan

Director of Legal Services

Foundation Building

765 Brownlow Hill

Liverpool

L69 7ZX

Mr Kevan Ryan

Director of Legal Services

29^th May 2009

Mr. Julian Todd

Via email to:-

[1][FOI #10141 email]

Dear Mr. Todd,

Further to email of 1^st May 2009 requesting information about the
University of Liverpool’s VC appointment, I am pleased to enclose the
requested information.  

Yours sincerely,

Kevan Ryan

Kevan Ryan

Director of Legal Services

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Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post about a later use of this request:

http://bristle.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/...

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post giving updates a month later, and also referring to this request:
http://ecologics.wordpress.com/2010/02/0...

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

A blog post from the requester, about Vice-Chancellors and tuition fees, using this request:

http://www.freesteel.co.uk/wpblog/2010/1...

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