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Payments to celebrities

Request for information - FOI17780

Our response

Thank you for your email of 24 June 017, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.

I can confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold some of the information you have requested. Where the information is not held, or is exempt from disclosure, this is stated. Taking each request in turn, I confirm the following:

1. Please could you provide a list of celebrities who have received payments over the past three calendar years (2015/16/17) up until the present date.
Please see Table 1 below for a list of individuals who might reasonably be described as celebrities that have received payments over the last three calendar years (2015-2017).

Table 1:

NamePurpose
Steve BackshallBrand Ambassador - personal appearances, filming promotional and PR related activities, social media activity
Sean Conway

Brand Ambassador - personal appearances, filming promotional and PR related activities, social media. Spondership of Lands End to John O'Groats journey

Benjamin FogleBrand Ambassador - personal appearances, social media activity
Nick Middleton

Speaker at Hotine Lecturem Cambridge Conference

2. In each case where a celebrity has been paid, please could you state how much they were paid, the date they were paid and why they were paid (i.e. promotional campaign/advert, speaking fee, performing fee, appearance fee etc.).
Table 1 above details information about the purpose of the payment to the individuals.

Although we do hold information in relation to how much each individual was paid and the dates, we consider this to be exempt from disclosure under:

  • Section 43(2) (prejudice to the commercial interests of any person) of the FOIA, as explained below; and
  • Section 41(1) (information provided in confidence) of the FOIA, as it is protected by confidentiality provisions.

Whilst section 41(1) is an absolute exemption, section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and we are required to consider the public interest, see below.

Section 43(2) Prejudice to the commercial Interests of any person
Under section 43(2) of the FOIA, information is exempt if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person.
In this case, we consider that disclosure of this information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of Ordnance Survey, in that it would undermine the relationship between Ordnance Survey and the current celebrities and harm future negotiations and potential for retaining and attracting celebrities for a variety of campaigns.

Public Interest Test
Ordnance Survey recognises the need for transparency. However, this must be balanced against the public interest in allowing the organisation to protect its commercial information and not place itself at a disadvantage in the competitive market in which it operates. Section 43(2) is a prejudice based exemption, and there is a public interest inherent in avoiding the harm specified. Ordnance Survey considers that the prejudice would be likely to occur and would have an adverse effect on its ability to make use of high profile individuals for campaigns and on its revenues.

Having considered the above, we are satisfied that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

3. In each case where a celebrity has been paid please, could you include any expenses that were also paid and detail what they were for (travel, accommodation etc.). Please could you break down what was paid to the celebrities in fees and what was paid to them in expenses.
In relation to details of expenses paid to celebrities and what the expenses were for, although we do hold this information, we consider it to be exempt from disclosure under Section 41(1) (Information provided in confidence) of the FOIA, as it is protected by confidentiality provisions.

If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked, could you also please include your responses to those requests.
I can confirm Ordnance Survey does not hold this information. Please note, we publish our responses to FOIA requests received in the past three years on our website.

Internal review

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
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
Southampton
SO16 0AS

Email: foi@os.uk

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
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Email: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 for advice, Monday to Friday.

Thank you for your enquiry.

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