Tag: 上海夜生活PY

Oxford University may win FOI exemption

first_imgOxford University may become exempt from Freedom of Information laws if the government’s green paper on higher education is successful.The Russell Group of leading UK universities, together with Universities UK, which represents 133 Vice-Chancellors, has recently requested exemption from Freedom of Information (FOI) Laws following a consultation document released by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills looking into higher education reform.The Freedom of Information Act creates a public right of access to information held by public authorities. Julio Paolitto, media relations manager for the University of Oxford, confirmed to Cherwell that, ‘‘In 2015, the University received 590 requests under the Freedom of Information Act, of which 99 were rejected.’’Successful FOI requests submitted to the University last year disclosed, for example, such varied information as the ethnic breakdown of admissions, rape and sexual assaults at the University of Oxford, and various departments’ admissions statistics.Paolitto explained to Cherwell, ‘‘A request is refused when the information is covered by one or more of the exemptions in the Act. The exemptions applied in 2015 include those where disclosure would breach the Data Protection Act or where the time required to extract the information would exceed the statutory limit.’’Lucy Gill, the Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Advisor at News Media Association, has claimed that the proposed changes will reduce the accountability of UK universities. She has argued, “FOI has been good at holding universities to account about how they are treating the money they get from students. Universities will continue to put annual reports into the public domain and will give very headlined figures about how much they receive from each source and broadly speaking what they spend on research. However, if these changes go through you will no longer get the same granular detail on specific matters such as Vice-Chancellor pay and how much they spend on business class travel and other pay and perks.“FOI has also been used to monitor the success rates of applicants from different backgrounds to Oxford, whether it is for students or professorial posts and this is not something that universities would ordinarily put in the public domain.”The Freedom of Information Act has helped uncover that, in a report by the University and College Union in March 2015, Vice-Chancellors earned £260,000 on average and spent up to £60,000 on premium flights in 2013-14. Their average hotel bill stood at £3,202. FOI requests also found that in 2012 the University of Oxford killed the second largest number of animals in scientific experiments after the University of Edinburgh.A spokesperson for the University of Oxford told Cherwell, “Oxford University fully supports the need for universities to be transparent: the University publishes more detailed information about its student body and admissions process than most other institutions, and is fully supportive of universities being subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty.“In its response to the higher education Green Paper the university noted concerns about the lack of a level playing field between universities and alternative providers with regards to the Freedom of Information Act. Alternative providers are not subject to the act, which puts universities such as Oxford at a competitive disadvantage, particularly in having to bear considerable costs in meeting the requirements of the Act.”Becky Howe, OUSU President, commented, “Freedom of Information requests helped students lobby their colleges to pay the Living Wage – they’re really vital in maintaining transparent and accountable higher education institutions. As outlined in OUSU’s response to the Green Paper, we are opposed to the Government’s proposal to make universities exempt from FOI requests. It just doesn’t make sense in a Green Paper which is largely about making universities more transparent and accountable — make your mind up, Jo Johnson.”last_img read more

Read More
Ministry of Cake ploughs through growth target

first_imgCake and desserts manufacturer Ministry of Cake has smashed its targets one year after becoming independent as it achieves 25% growth year-on-year. Managing director Chris Ormrod sold the Taunton-based business to convenience food producer Greencore in 2008 and last year bought it back, before opening a second site named Ministry of Pudding in Torquay in October.He told British Baker the business was in 25% growth year-on-year.“I think we will see similar growth this year,” he said. “We are looking at new contracts and have [recently] won a new contract.“I think we will be nearer £30m this year and mid-30s next year – we had expected to be closer to £25m this year. We thought that, over a four-year period, we’d get to £30m – we didn’t expect it to happen in one.”The business now employs around 285 people, which has risen from 220 a year ago.Market is recoveringOrmrod explained the company’s success: “We have good NPD, a good commercial team and strong customers. I think the market is coming back up and there are more people eating out. We are seeing some quite interesting growth in key customer areas, such as coffee shops. We took a big decision a year ago to invest heavily in NPD – probably more than the industry average – and that is showing now.”The business has also done more in Europe than before and is still considering the viability of exporting or investing in a base overseas. It regularly gets business enquiries from Europe, with customers coming from countries including Russia, Spain, France and the Netherlands.“The worry is that we might end up growing too fast and I want to make sure we grow at the speed we can manage.“We are actively looking at other businesses we might want to acquire going forward. There are lots of small bakery businesses that are at the stage where they are not going to grow any further, which we might be able to help them with.”Ministry of Cake and Ministry of Pudding have several major customers and covers most of the major chains in the UK.last_img read more

Read More