The Request (dated 14 February 2018)

Dear British Council,
I would be very grateful if you could forward a copy of the report carried out by Syndex on behalf of the workforce representative regarding the closure of business operations in Lyon and Marseille. The report is called
“Rapport de l’expert-comptable auprès du comité d’entreprise”
« Accompagnement des élus du comité d’entreprise dans le cadre du projet de réorganisation en cours et de ses conséquences sociales et du projet de plan de sauvegarde de l’emploi » Novembre 2016 It was prepared by Syndex and submitted to BC France in November 2016.
Yours faithfully,

Our Response (dated 13 March 2018)

Thank you for your request for information dated 14 February 2018 concerning a copy of the report carried out by Syndex on behalf of the workforce representative regarding the closure of business operations in Lyon and Marseille. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.
Please find attached a copy of the Syndex report and the annexes, which are titled:
•British Council rapport Syndex corrigé_Redacted
•annexes rectificatifs rapport expert comptable du CE (2)
We are withholding some of the information from within the report as the exemption under section 43 (Commercial interests) sub-section (2) applies. 
Section 43 (2) allows a public authority to withhold information where it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person, including the public authority holding it.
Disclosure of the redacted information would provide our competitors with details of our economic activity in Paris. If we were to release this information into the public domain competitors would be aware of which sectors of the market we currently have a presence, the extent of that presence and the financial viability of these sectors. Such information could be used by competitors to develop a strategy to attack us in specific sectors through targeted marketing activity.
The exemption for commercial interests is subject to the public interest test as stipulated by the Act, which means that the exemption can only be upheld if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in disclosure. 
Whilst we acknowledge that there is a public interest in understanding British Council’s operations and disclosure would facilitate transparency within our organisation in this case the damage to our commercial interests that would be caused from disclosing this information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
I hope the information provided has been useful. 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: 
Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures)
Information Governance and Risk Management 
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
M1 6BB 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner for a decision at: 
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Phone: 0303 123 1113 
Yours sincerely