University internal review upholds FOI refusal

THE UNIVERSITY have again refused to release documents requested by The Courier relating to the report by auditors Deloittes and lawyers Eversheds into “a number of commercial and operational matters at the University”.

The request, made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, asks for information produced while the report was in the draft stage.

The University have released several drafts copies of the final report, but refuse to release any additional information, citing “legal professional privilege” as an exemption under the Act.

After our first request for information was partly refused, the result of an internal review was communicated to us on Monday 22nd October, which upheld the original part-refusal.

The review also attempted to give “data protection” as an additional ground for refusal. Additional grounds cannot be introduced at the internal review stage.

The Courier is now seeking legal advice, with the intention of appealing the decision to the Information Commissioner.

We believe that it is strongly in the interests of openness, accountability and transparency that students (who from this year contribute some £30 million to the University’s income in tuition fees alone) know what exactly has happened to public money.