Publication - FOI/EIR release

Strathclyde University questions concerning economic investment: FOI release

Published: 16 Dec 2020

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
16 Dec 2020
Strathclyde University questions concerning economic investment: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000110935
Date received: 12 Nov 2020
Date responded: 14 Dec 2020
Information requested

1. How much money Strathclyde University stand to make from the public purse and private dealings in relation to the economy and the corona virus pandemic?

2. Why is a university being given so much power over Scotland’s future and its money.

3. How is this financial conflict of interests between the Scot Gov and Strathclyde Univ not being investigated.

4. Strathclyde Univ are selling their surplus greenbelt lands in rushed through planning applications for greenbelt land in PPP construction deals with you and Miller homes. Dorlin Road Cardowan for one. Have you all discussed a private public partnership for this and other sites?

5. How much involvement has Strathclyde uni has in Ravenscraig and how much investment are they planning re the £200 million Russell Group plans?

6. I would also like to know why strathclyde university has two people on the board for the new national investment bank.

Response

1. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because the University of Strathclyde is a separate authority from the Scottish Government and we do not hold detailed information about their research or other funding streams. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

As a Scottish public authority in its own right the University of Strathclyde is subject to FOISA. You may therefore wish to seek this information from the University itself. Information about how you can make a Freedom of Information request to the University of Strathclyde is available on the University's website: Freedom of Information | University of Strathclyde.

2. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because we do not have any need to record information relating to matters of opinion regarding the role of the University of Strathclyde or other universities in Scotland. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because we are not aware of any conflict of interests between the Scottish Government and the University of Strathclyde, and therefore we do not have any recorded information on this subject. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

However, if you wish to write to us further, with a fuller explanation of why you consider there may be a conflict of interests between the Scottish Government and the University of Strathclyde we will be happy to consider and respond to any points made.

4. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because we are not aware of any discussions involving Strathclyde University and Miller Homes about a private public partnership for Dorlin Road, Cardowan and other sites. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

5. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because we have not received any information about involvement by the University of Strathclyde in Ravenscraig or about any planned investment. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

You may wish to seek further information on this subject from the University of Strathclyde directly. I can advise that Transport Scotland, as a public body likely to have an interest, received notification from North Lanarkshire Council (NLC ref 20/01440/CNS) on 26 November 2020 of the Russell Group’s intention to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for proposals for a New Rail Head and Logistics Hub at Ravenscraig. The purpose of the notification was to remind Transport Scotland of their obligation under Regulation 19(4) of the applicable Act to make available, if requested, any relevant information in their possession. It was confirmed that Transport Scotland will be consulted once the EIA Planning Application is received in the new year.

Transport Scotland attended an initial discussion with Ken Russell of the Russell Group on the 2 September 2019 to discuss the proposal for a potential new freight terminal at various locations, which included the proposed site at Ravenscraig.

6. On 3 November 2020 the Scottish Government announced the appointment of the non-executive directors to the Board of the Scottish National Investment Bank. The news release for this is otherwise available publicly at: 

https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/factsheet/2020/03/public-appointments-news-releases/documents/scottish-national-investment-bank/new-scottish-national-investment-bank-board-appointments/new-scottish-national-investment-bank-board-appointments/govscot%3Adocument/Non-Executive%2BDirectors%2B-%2BAppointments%2B-%2BNews%2BRelease%2B-
%2BEmbargoed%2Buntil%2B11am%2B3%2BNovember%2B2020.docx

These appointments were made following a robust and highly competitive public appointments process. The appointments were regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner and followed the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland. A Public Appointments Adviser, appointed by the Commissioner, was also a member of the selection panel. We also consulted on the criteria for the roles in advance with businesses and trade unions.

Scottish Ministers appointed non-executive directors with a wealth of skills and experience to the Bank’s Board. The board brings together extensive knowledge and experience of the issues facing businesses in Scotland and of impact investment. They have the skills necessary in development banking, working with the third sector, and in supporting businesses to scale up.

It is crucial that the right individuals are appointed to ensure that that money is invested and managed responsibly, and that the Bank’s investments deliver a range of environmental, social and economic returns. Scottish Ministers believe the right people have been appointed to guide the mission-led approach of the Bank. The Bank’s mission-led approach will be key to its success. Ministers therefore incorporated mission-based investment into the criteria for the roles. The non-executive directors Ministers have appointed have the experience to speak to each of the proposed missions for the Bank, and a significant number of the appointees have direct experience of investing in low and net zero carbon projects. This includes the former head of the green agenda for the European Investment Bank, and senior leaders at the Green Investment Bank.

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Edinburgh
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