UOL LLB: Pass rates and average marks – May 2019


University of London – information about pass rates, average marks and classes of degree awarded in 2019 – decision of the internal review to be published on Monday 3rd February.

For a number of years I have submitted requests to the University of London under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for information about LLB pass rates, average marks and class of degrees awarded.

In past years they have very kindly provided the information and I have published it.

This year, however, they have declined on the grounds that “the statistics covered by your information request [are] commercially sensitive and therefore considered exempt under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act” as “disclosure would be likely to prejudice the University’s commercial interests.

The University states: “University of London Worldwide provide courses within a global market with competitors who are not subject to the same access to information legislation. The granularity of data requested provides a level of commercial intelligence which would prejudice our commercial interests to disclose.”

It acknowledges that section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and requires a public interest test and that “it is in the public interest for the University to be transparent about its course provision..” but concludes that this is outweighed by “the public interest that the University can provide its courses in a competitive environment without the disclosure of information that would be likely to undermine its commercial interests.

Update: 25 September 2019: I have today requested an internal review of the decision to withhold the information.

Update: 31 January 2020: The Information Commissioner’s guide states that internal reviews should be carried out within 20 days, But only now, after more than 4 months, has the University informed me that it intends to report the outcome of the review on Monday (3rd February 2020).

[In November, by way of apology, the University said that it was dealing with “a high volume of information compliance work…and it has impacted a number of our deadlines.”]

Update: 3rd February 2020: I received notification that, following an internal review the UOL has rejected my ‘appeal’ against its decision to withhold the information. I have complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which will examine the decision of the University

Update: 21st December 2020: After a long delay due to difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic, the ICO has informed me that a case worker has now been appointed to investigate the refusal of the University to provide the information.

To be continued…


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