West Ham United Olympic Stadium rental contract

Richard Hunt made this Freedom of Information request to London Legacy Development Corporation

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

The request was successful.

Dear London Legacy Development Corporation,

Please provide me with a document which sets out the full rental agreement with West Ham United FC for their tenancy of the Olympic Stadium.

Should you choose to assert that the information is not available under the Freedom of Information Law, please provide a detailed legally based explanation for this assertion.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

Dear Richard,

I can confirm that your request for information has been received and a response will be sent to you within 20 working days [09/06/2014].

Your reference for this request is 14-017.

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Massey
On behalf of Rachael Clauson
FOI/EIR Coordinator
London Legacy Development Corporation
Level 10
1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road
London
E20 1EJ

Email: [LLDC request email]
Website: www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

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foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hunt

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – REQUEST 14-017 (20-003)

 

Thank you for your request for information, which we received on 9 May
2014. You asked us:

 

“Please provide me with a document which sets out the full rental
agreement with West Ham United FC for their tenancy of the Olympic
Stadium.”

 

We confirm that we hold information relevant to your request.

 

The Freedom of Information Act obliges us to respond to requests promptly
and no later than 20 working days after receiving your request. However,
when a qualified exemption applies to the information and the public
interest test is engaged, the Act allows the time for response to be
longer than 20 working days, and a full response must be provided within
such time as is reasonable in all circumstances of the case.

 

We do, of course, aim to make all decisions within 20 working days,
including in cases where we need to consider the public interest test. In
this case, however, we have not yet reached a decision on where the
balance of the public interest lies.

 

In your case we estimate that it will take an additional 20 working days
to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies.
Therefore, we plan to let you have a response by 7 July 2014.  If it
appears that it will take longer than this to reach a decision, we will
keep you informed. If we are able to provide you with our response before
this date, we will do so.

 

The exemption that applies in relation to your request and that requires
the extra time in order to consider the public interest is: section 43 (2)
– Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person (including the public authority holding it).

 

We will keep you informed of our progress and provide you with our
response to your request as soon as we are able.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rachael

 

Rachael Clauson
FOI/EIR Coordinator

London Legacy Development Corporation

Level 10

1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road

London

E20 1EJ

Email: [1][LLDC request email]
Website: [2]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

[3]queenelizabetholympicparklogo

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now open. For more information please
visit [4]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

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Dear Rachael,

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate that you have replied to me in line with FOI law.

I am satisfied that you will aim to respond within an additional 20 days of the normal 20 day period prescribed by FOI 2000.

Regarding your reference to section 43(2), I understand your email to mean that you are now conducting an evaluation of whether a commercial interest, as defined by that section, exists and then if it does exist, whether it outweighs the public interest in the disclosure of the rental contact (s43(2) being a qualified rather than absolute exemption under s(2) of the FOI 2000). Please confirm that this is your position in regard to my initial application.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

Dear Mr Hunt

I can confirm that this is our position in regard to your initial application.

Regard

Rachael

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Dear Rachael,

Thank you for your prompt and clear reply to this follow-up.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

Dear Mr Hunt.

 

Further to the below email and following further review of the document,
additional exemptions are under consideration for a specific section of
the agreement you have requested.  The exemptions in question are s.24(1)
National Security, s.31(1)(a) Law Enforcement and s. 38(1)(b) Health and
Safety in relation to detailed plans of the Stadium which form part of the
agreement. These are all qualified exemptions and prejudice based, so a
public interest test and the prejudice test will be undertaken for each
plan with input from our security team and the police.  This will be done
alongside the other public interest test as mentioned below and should not
impact on the response time.  

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rachael

 

Rachael Clauson

FoI/EIR Co-ordinator

 

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Dear Rachael,

Thank you for your further email, in which you confirm some more exemptions which you might seek to apply in respect of my request.

It might help if I offer clarification of what aspects of the contract are of primary interest to me.

Essentially my interest is in the commercial aspects of the contract; specifically the exact amount of rental and other costs payable by West Ham, and what operating costs are not borne by West Ham (and therefore who is bearing them).

I am not currently interested in detailed physical plans of the Stadium or details of the security systems which might be applied. (although I am interested in who bears the costs of security, among other cost aspects). Therefore I would have no problem if they are redacted. I would simply appreciate a clarification about what categories of information have been redacted, when the final redacted document is presented. I hope this might pave the way to a mutually agreeable solution.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

Dear Rachael

I am writing to remind you that you have not replied by your self- imposed target date of 7 July, not have you advised of any further delay.

As this website hosting our dialogue makes clear to the world, by now, under all circumstances I should have received this reply. I trust that it will be forthcoming very quickly.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

Dear Mr Hunt.

I certainly did want to get our response to you by 7 July and please accept my apologies for not given you forward notice of the delay.

In order to ensure that the public interest tests for this response represent balanced considerations of the relative weights of the arguments for and against disclosure, I have been consulting with third parties to ensure that they have the opportunity to express their concerns and identify any harm specific to them that may result from the document release. The Legacy Corporation will have the final decision on the release but other parties should be given the opportunity to submit their views and for these to be duly considered, especially where there are ongoing relationships. This has unfortunately lead to the delay in the response.

I'll do everything I can to send you the information you have requested as soon as possible. I will contact you this Friday 11 July, either with the response or with an update and a realistic due date.

Yours sincerely

Rachael

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Dear Rachael,

Thank you for your reply.

I am leaving for two weeks holiday on 10th July. Therefore, in one sense, there is no need to make a deadline of 11th July.

However, while I sense that you personally have been diligent in your role in processing my request, it is also clear to me that there is gross prevarication in answering my request, and it is making a mockery of the law. I tried to help the process by outlining the limitations of my request, but this does not appear to have assisted the response.

Therefore I regrettably have to request an internal review, in accordance the law. I trust this review will, among other things, reveal who these other "third parties" are.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

Dear London Legacy Development Corporation,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of London Legacy Development Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'West Ham United Olympic Stadium rental contract'.

I have received timely and courteous responses from your colleague Rachael. However I have not been given any valid reason for such a long delay. I am now told that there are third parties involved. I trust your review will, among other things, reveal who these third parties are, and how they are able to be in a position to influence FOI responses.

I would also like to point out that earlier I tried to facilitate the response by framing the limitations of my interest. I did this because of the suggestion that "national security" issues are involved in the contents of the contract. I made it clear that I am not interested in any aspect of security at the Stadium, other than how much West Ham will pay towards the cost of such security as part of their agreement.

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

Yours faithfully,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

Dear Mr Hunt.

I acknowledge you request for an internal review of LLDC's handling of your information request. The review is underway, the response will be sent to you as soon as the review is complete.

Kind Regards

Rachael

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Dear Rachael,

I regret to note that the 20 working day deadline for the internal review expires today, and I have not received the result of it. Nor has there been any further attempt to address my actual question.

It is clear from your previous responses that the LLDC is fully aware of both legal requirements and best practice guidelines regarding FOI. It has consistently failed to observe either in the case of my question. If I do not have the result of your internal review by this Friday I will bring the matter to the attention of the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

Dear Mr Hunt,

I have received the internal review report and will be sending the response to you today, subject to the sign off of the Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services.

Yours sincerely

Rachael

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foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hunt.

Please find attached our internal review response.

Yours sincerely

Rachael

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Dear Rachael,

Thank you for sending the results of the internal review. I confirm that I am satisfied with the overall result, assuming that the LLDC complies with its recommendations by the date indicated.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hunt

 

Following the internal review of the process for this request I hoped to
have the response to your request ready by today, 15 August. 

 

Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that will not be possible.  I have
escalated this to senior management to ensure that the outstanding
concerns of the parties involved are addressed as quickly as possible.

I appreciate that this request has far exceeded the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 deadlines.  We are doing everything in our power to get this
response to you as soon as possible and we will keep you updated.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rachael

 

Rachael Clauson
FOI/EIR Coordinator

London Legacy Development Corporation

Level 10

1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road

London

E20 1EJ

Email: [1][LLDC request email]
Website: [2]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

[3]queenelizabetholympicparklogo

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now open. For more information please
visit [4]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

This communication and the information it contains is intended for the
addressee only. It may be confidential, legally privileged and protected
by law. Unauthorised use, copying or disclosure of any of it may be
unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please contact
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Legacy Development Corporation may monitor traffic data. For enquiries
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London Legacy Development Corporation, Level 10, 1 Stratford Place,
Montfichet Road, Olympic Park, London, E20 1EJ.

www.londonlegacy.co.uk.
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Dear Rachael,

Thank you for your personal diligence in replying to me by the 15 August deadline recommended by the internal review.

I am of course disappointed by the contents. In particular no revised date has been proposed for providing me with the requested information, nor have any new compelling reasons been provided for further delay.

If the information is not provided to me by next Friday I will instigate further steps, including, but not limited to, a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Hunt.

 

Please find attached our response to your information request ref: 20-003

 

My apologies again for the delay.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rachael

 

Rachael Clauson
FOI/EIR Coordinator

London Legacy Development Corporation

Level 10

1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road

London

E20 1EJ

Email: [1][LLDC request email]
Website: [2]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

[3]queenelizabetholympicparklogo

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now open. For more information please
visit [4]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

 

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

Information released via this request is expected to be mentioned in a TV documentary: "The Olympic Stadium: How the Hammers Struck Gold" to be broadcast at 7pm on BBC One London on Thursday the 6th of August 2015:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0676crf

Richard Hunt left an annotation ()

The day after the TV programme was broadcast, the LLDC apparently sent a letter to the BBC complaining about the programme. One of the complaints concerned me, they wrote:
"The interview with Steve Clarke and Richard Hunt implied that their FOI request for access to the stadium concession contract had been declined on grounds of national security. This is not true. They made a separate application for access to the detailed building plans. This was denied on security grounds, which is standard practice for such high profile premises and is based on external advice. Their application for access to the stadium concession agreement was granted, with certain elements being redacted on grounds of commercial confidentiality, not national security."

As everyone can see by examining the thread, the LLDC made a false claim. I did NOT make any separate application for access to the detailed building plans. On the contrary, within this thread it can be seen that I helped the LLDC understand that i had no interest in them.

This demonstrates the value of this website. It is worrying though that the LLDC would so easily make such false claims about a private citizen who happens to have asked questions which they'd prefer not to answer.

Richard Hunt left an annotation ()

On 3rd September, after a wait of 11 months, the Information Commissioner upheld our complaint and ruled that the sections of the contract relating to the commercial terms must be made available unredacted. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions. The full decision notice can be read here

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Dear foi,

I was pleased to receive the Information Commissioner's decision notice that all elements of the contract relating to the commercial terms should be made available unredacted, as I have requested. Following the Mayor of London's comments at yesterday's Question Time at City Hall, I believe you will conclude that there are no grounds for appeal, and that to appeal will only increase concern about a cover-up.

To ensure full transparency, I request that all section headings of the entire contract be included unredacted. Only if this is done can I be sure that all commercial elements have been revealed and therefore that you have complied with the ICO's decision.

I would also request that you use this website as the means by which you comply with my request, since this was the means by which the request was first made

Thank you in advance

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

Dear Rachael,

Dear Rachael,

We are of course all aware that , just three hours before the deadline, the LLDC lodged an appeal against the ICO decision.

In your press release announcing the appeal, the LLDC wrote

“We have listened to the commissioner’s comments and as a public body are committed to maximising transparency. As a result we will shortly publish more details of the agreement with West Ham United in all areas that fall outside the scope of our appeal.”

I am now writing to remind you that any such release, as referred to above, should by law be provided to me personally as a matter of priority; by law, you should do so by next Thursday 8th September at the very latest (but I see no reason why it should not be sent immediately since the LLDC has clearly worked out what it is prepared to release); and as earlier requested the information should be provided to me in electronic form, and ideally via this website (again the law allows me to stipulate this)

I trust I can rely on the LLDC to comply with the above request, in line with FOI legal obligations

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hunt

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hunt,

 

Please find attached the current version of the Concession agreement. 

 

This agreement has also been posted to our website at the following
address:
[1]http://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.....

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Rachael

 

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A Walker left an annotation ()

I am sure that it has not gone unnoticed in the latest release that West Ham's rent is payable quarterly in arrears! That means E20/LLDC will be handing over money for catering revenue (and potentially naming rights) before any rent is paid. They are literally being paid to use the stadium in that sense.

From what I can establish Newham Council's commercial property lets are written on leases with 3 months rent payable up front!

foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hunt,

 

As part of our preparations for the appeal to the Information Tribunal we
carried out a final review of the concession agreement and concluded that
some further limited information can be made available in relation to
naming rights. This can be found on pages 8, 15, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26,
49, 50, 57, 66, 69, 74, 75 and 91.

 

I’ve attached the revised agreement.

 

The agreement will also be posted on our website.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Rachael 

 

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foi, London Legacy Development Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hunt,

 

Please find attached a copy of the Concession Agreement with West Ham
United FC as requested under the FOI request 20-003

 

Some of the information within the document is exempt and that information
has been redacted.

 

FOIA Section 40(2) – personal information

(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also
exempt information if—

(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1),
and

(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

(3)The first condition is—

(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of “data” in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act
1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public
otherwise than under this Act would contravene—

(i) any of the data protection principles, or

(ii) section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause
damage or distress), and

The witness to the document is listed as a trainee solicitor and his/her
home address has also been included. While the signatures were witnessed
as a part of the witness’s professional responsibilities, consent to
release the information has not been received. Given the junior grade of
the witness at that time and the inclusion of a private address, this
information has been redacted. The witness would in our opinion have had
no expectation that his or her personal data would be released and as
such, we consider that disclosure would be unfair, in breach of the data
protection principles.

 

Kind regards,

 

Mark Fordham on behalf of Rachael Clauson
FOI/EIR Coordinator

London Legacy Development Corporation

Level 10

1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road

London

E20 1EJ

Email: [1][LLDC request email]
Website: [2]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

[3]queenelizabetholympicparklogo

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now open. For more information please
visit [4]www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

This communication and the information it contains is intended for the
addressee only. It may be confidential, legally privileged and protected
by law. Unauthorised use, copying or disclosure of any of it may be
unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please contact
me immediately by email or telephone and then delete the e-mail and its
attachments from your system. This email and any attachments have been
scanned for viruses by Symantec and on leaving the London Legacy
Development Corporation they were virus free. No liability will be
incurred for direct, special or indirect or consequential damages arising
from alteration of the contents of this message by a third party or as a
result of any virus contained within it or attached to it. The London
Legacy Development Corporation may monitor traffic data. For enquiries
please call 020 3288 1800.
London Legacy Development Corporation, Level 10, 1 Stratford Place,
Montfichet Road, London, E20 1EJ.

www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk
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References

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Michael White left an annotation ()

This whole debacle is a text book example of how authorities wilfully exploit and manipulate Freedom of Information exemptions to avoid surrendering potentially embarrassing documents.

The fact that LDC lied to the BBC suggesting that the requester was asking for security plans - when he clearly was not - further evidences how unscrupulous they are willing to behave to protect their own selfish interests.