The Request

Received on 24 December 2017

From: 
Sent: 24 December 2017 10:40
To: IG_Disclosures

Subject: Exams in Hong Kong and Macau

To whom it may concern,

I refer to the Cambridge English exams and IELTS operations in Hong Kong and Macau and would like to lodge a request for its related information. Cambridge English exams include YLE (Starters, Movers, Flyers), KET, KETfS, PET, PETfS, FCE, FCEfS, CAE and CPE. IELTS include IELTS (Academic, General Training) and IELTS for UKVI (Academic, General Training, Life Skills A1, Life Skills B1).

For each of the exams above, I would like to request:

1.    number of exam sessions in every month in 2017
2.    total number of candidates in every month in 2017

3.    number of exams irregularities reported in every month in 2017

An example of how the information could be organized is below:

Hong Kong   Jan 2017 Feb 2017 Mar 2017
YLE Starters Number of exam sessions      
  Total number of candidates      
  Number of exam irregularities reported      
YLE Movers Number of exam sessions      
  Total number of candidates      
  Number of exam irregularities reported      

I object to having this e-mail uploaded to the disclosure log.

Thank you for your kind assistance and I hope to hear from you soon. 

Yours faithfully, 

 

Our Response

Responded on 23 January 2018

From: IG_Disclosures 
Sent: 23 January 2018 15:22
To: 

Subject: RE: Exams in Hong Kong and Macau (FOI_2017_88)

Case Reference: FOI_2017_88

23 January 2018

Dear 

Thank you for your request for information dated 24 December 2017 concerning Cambridge English exams and IELTS operations in Hong Kong and Macau. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.

For your ease of reference, I have restated your request below in bold and have provided our response beneath each point.

I refer to the Cambridge English exams and IELTS operations in Hong Kong and Macau and would like to lodge a request for its related information. Cambridge English exams include YLE (Starters, Movers, Flyers), KET, KETfS, PET, PETfS, FCE, FCEfS, CAE and CPE. IELTS include IELTS (Academic, General Training) and IELTS for UKVI (Academic, General Training, Life Skills A1, Life Skills B1).

For each of the exams above, I would like to request:

1. Number of exam sessions in every month in 2017

2017 Hong Kong

Number of exam sessions Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Starters 6 7 13 9 8 12 14 4 3 6 6 6
Movers 6 7 13 9 8 13 13 4 3 6 6 6
Flyers 6 7 13 9 5 12 13 4 3 6 6 6
KET   1 1 2 3 4 1     1 2 1
KETfs     1   1 1       2 2 1
PET   1 1   3 4 1     1   1
PETfs         1 1       2 1 1
FCE       1 3         1    
FCEfs     1 1 1   1       1 1
CAE         1             1
CPE         1             1
IELTS Academic 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3
IELTS GT 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 2
UKVI Academic 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3
UKVI GT 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 2
Life Skills A1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Life Skills B1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2017 Macau

Number of exam sessions Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Starters                 1      
Movers                 1      
Flyers                 1      
KET                        
KETfs                        
PET                        
PETfs                        
FCE                        
FCEfs                        
IELTS Academic 1 1 1 1 1 2 1   1 1 2 1
IELTS GT     1 1   1 1       1 1

 

2017 Mongolia

Number of exam sessions Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
UKVI Academic           1           1
UKVI GT           1           1
Life Skills A1           1           1
Life Skills B1           1           1

2.    Total number of candidates in every month in 2017

3.    Number of exams irregularities reported in every month in 2017

The information you have requested under points 2 and 3 cannot be disclosed 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 this information would give our competitors and test takers an advantage in the IELTS market. If we were to release this information into the public domain competitors could then invest accordingly in activity to gain market share over British Council IELTS and test takers would have detailed knowledge of how the test is scored, which could give an unfair advantage.

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 the British Council’s IELTS business 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. 

We have noted your objection to having your email/request uploaded to our Disclosure Log however if we feel that the request and the information provided matches the criteria then it is our policy to publish it. Disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are considered to be disclosures into the public domain and not to a specific individual therefore any information we provide in response to a request is considered to be publically available. I would also like to point out that we do not publish the name of the person who submitted the request therefore there are no Data Protection implications. 

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
Manchester

M1 6BB 

Email: IGDisclosures@britishcouncil.org 

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
Wilmslow
Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113 

Website: www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures) | Information Governance and Risk Management Team

https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/transparency/freedom-informa...