Request for information – FOI13367
Thank you for your e-mail of 9 April 2013 requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.
We respond to each of your questions in turn, but please be advised that not all of the information Ordnance Survey holds has been provided with this response, as parts of it fall within exemptions detailed within the Act.
Q1: What dividends have been paid to Ordnance Survey by GeoPlace since the joint venture company has been established?
Under our duty to provide advice and assistance, Section 16 of the FOIA, we must advise you that GeoPlace LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership and profits accrue to the Members of the partnership in accordance with the Members Agreement.
Cash distributions of this profit are made at the discretion of the Members and do not constitute formal dividends.
Details of cash distributions to Members are disclosed in the Financial Statements (of GeoPlace LLP) which are available from Companies House. Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2012 are already available at Companies House therefore this information is exempt under Section 21 (1) of the FOIA – Information accessible to applicant by other means, which is an absolute exemption and requires no public interest test.
Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2013 will be available at Companies House by 31 December 2013, and as such this information is exempt under Section 22 (1) (a) Information intended for future publication.
Section 22 is a qualified exemption and we are required to consider whether the greater public interest lies in withholding or disclosing the requested information until the scheduled time of publication.
The information presented in the Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2013 and to be submitted to Companies House is subject to review and approval by the Members of the LLP and subject to an external audit. Until this is complete, the information presented in the Financial Statements is subject to change and therefore it is in the public interest to defer release of this information until these statutory requirements have been completed. It is therefore not appropriate to release this information to any persons in advance of our presenting the Financial Statements to Companies House.
Consequently we will not be releasing this information to you.
Q2: Is the dividend agreement with the other joint venture shareholder a permanent fixed arrangement or alterable by agreement?
The profit share has been contractually agreed. As with all contracts, the share can be altered by agreement between the members of the joint venture.
Q3: Does Ordnance Survey consider that the regulatory regime (the Information Fair Trader Scheme) to which it itself is committed as a Government Trading Fund applies to GeoPlace?
Q4: Ordnance Survey’s relationship to GeoPlace is 50% shareholder, 75% dividend beneficiary and in control of managerial appointments: on what basis does Ordnance Survey consider that the Information Fair Trader Scheme regulatory regime does not apply to its stewardship of GeoPlace?
GeoPlace LLP does not trade in information. GeoPlace creates addressing products, and then licenses these to Ordnance Survey for onward distribution on Ordnance Survey’s standard terms.
Ordnance Survey is subject to the Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS), and therefore the Information Fair Trader Scheme applies to the licensing of addressing products (created by GeoPlace) from Ordnance Survey to its partners and direct customers.
This analysis was discussed with The National Archives (TNA) on 27 October 2010, and referred to in subsequent correspondence between Ordnance Survey and TNA. TNA did not object to this view, and confirmed in writing that TNA’s primary focus would be to consider the licensing outputs.
Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our FOI Internal Review Officer, by contacting them as follows:
FOI Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:
- Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
- Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
- Failed to provide the information you have requested
- Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
- Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception
The FOI Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.
The FOI Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.
Appeal to Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal with the Information Commissioner’s Office at:
The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
The Information Commissioner’s Office
You may e-mail the ICO: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact them on their telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 for advice, Monday to Friday.
Thank you for your enquiry.