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com 7 November 2012
Dear Mr Kemp, Thank you for your request for information, which the Medical Research Council (MRC) has handled under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In your e-mail of 14 October 2012 you asked: Please supply or direct me to a copy of the financial accounts for: The MRC PACE Trial, White, P., et al, The Lancet, Feb 2012. The research project that you have requested information on is: MRC Reference: G0200434 Title: The PACE trial: a RCT of CBT, graded exercise, adaptive pacing and usual medical care for the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Principal Investigator: Professor P D White Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London I can confirm that the MRC holds information relating to planned and realised spend for the PACE trial. Typically the MRC holds this information in the form of an award letter, a payment profile, and interim and final reconciliation statements. In this instance the interim statement is held, in the form of an electronic file on the MRC’s systems, but unfortunately it is not accessible. However, the final reconciliation statement is available and is provided. I have attached a number of documents to this response. These are listed below along with a description of their contents. The documents fall into three categories; those associated with the original award, those associated with the supplemental funding, and those associated with the final reconciliation of expenditure. The information contained within these documents is presented at a high level, e.g. total expenditure by category. If you have any questions on the detail on these figures, I would advise you to contact the Research Organisation, Queen Mary University London (QMUL), with your questions. Some information has been withheld from the documents listed below under Section 40(2) and (3) of the FOIA (Personal Information). The documents that this applies to are marked with ‘R’. Further information on this can be found in the section ‘Section 40(2) and (3) of the FOIA: Personal Information’ below.
Medical Research Council, 2nd Floor David Phillips Building, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FL telephone +44 (0)1793 416200 www.mrc.ac.uk
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Documents associated with the original award Document 1: R - G0200434 award letter This is a copy of the award letter sent by the MRC to QMUL on 31/03/2004 confirming the original research funding award. This letter includes: o Information on how the research funding will be spent, by expenditure area e.g. salaries, equipment etc. o Details of the quarterly payments that were to be made by the MRC to QMUL. o A breakdown of the salary costs by post. Documents associated with the supplementary funding Document 2: R - White award letter 26 04 2007 G0200434 This is a copy of the award letter sent by the MRC to QMUL on 26/04/07 confirming the supplementary funding that was allocated to this grant. As per document 1, this letter includes information on how the funding will be spent, by expenditure area. Document 3: White, Prof D Payment Schedule G0200434 26 04 2007 This document details the quarterly payments that were to be made by the MRC to QMUL following the award of supplementary funding. This information relates only to the supplementary funding. Document 4: G0200434 Payment Schedule This document details all of the payments that were to be made by the MRC to QMUL for both the original award and supplementary funding. It includes detail on payments made up to the date on which it was issued, and details on future payments. Documents associated with the final accounts Document 5: G0200434 Payment Schedule Screen Print This is a series of screen shots taken from the MRC’s grant system showing the payment profile for the original and supplemental funding. These screen shots were taken on 17 October 2012. The information for the original and supplemental funding is shown separately. Document 6: G0200434 Paid to date total This is a report showing payments that were made by the MRC to QMUL between the second quarter of the 2004/05 financial year (when payments for this research project started) to the fourth quarter of the 2010/11 financial year. Note: This document does not show the final payment made, which took place during the second quarter of the 2012/13 financial year. Document 7: R - G0200434 FSE This is the final statement of expenditure for this research project, and includes: o Information on how the research funding was spent, by expenditure area. o A breakdown of the salary costs by post. Section 40(2) and (3) of the FOIA: Personal Information Section 40(2) of the FOIA states that: (2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt if: (a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1), and (b) either the first or second condition below is satisfied. (3) The first condition is -
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(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to (d) of the definition of “data” in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene – (i) any of the data protection principles, or (ii) section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress), and (b) in any other case, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene any of the data protection principles, if the exemptions in Section 33A(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (which relate to manual data held by public authorities) were disregarded. This is an absolute exemption and therefore no public interest test needs to be carried out. However, recent Tribunal decisions have set an expectation that the legitimate interests of the public and the individuals concerned would be taken into account to determine whether disclosure would be fair and lawful i.e. the disclosure complies with Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act (1998) (DPA). This has been considered by the MRC and is addressed here. The information that has been withheld relates to: o Names of some junior members of administrative staff at QMUL and the MRC. o Salary details for members of the research team. Factors in favour of disclosure: o The MRC’s aim to be open and transparent about the research that it funds. o There is a high level of public interest in this research grant. o Providing detailed information would support public debate around the funding decision for this research project. Factors against disclosure: o Members of the research team would be expected to be associated publicly with the PACE study, either in research papers or other publicly available information. However junior members of the research team and junior members of administrative staff, who would only been involved in the administration of research grants, would not expect their names to be released in connection with those grants. o Anyone involved in a research project would not expect their salary information to be disclosed. Having weighed up the factors for and against disclosure the MRC is of the opinion that publication of this information in response to this request would not be fair and therefore disclosure of this information would breach Principle 1 of the DPA.
I hope that you find this response to be helpful, if you are not satisfied that this response has been handled appropriately; you may appeal using the MRC's complaints procedure. Details are on the MRC website at: www.mrc.ac.uk/index/about/about-contact/aboutcomplaints_procedure.htm. You may contact the MRC Complaints Officer at: The Complaints Officer Medical Research Council 14th Floor, One Kemble Street London, WC2B 4AN. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone: 0303 123 1113 Website: www.ico.gov.uk There is no charge for making an appeal. Yours Sincerely,
Tiffany Lay Senior Information Officer email: email@example.com
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