FOI release

Request for names and formal complaints about Department for Education-employed academy brokers

Request for publication of 6 formal complaints about academy brokers and names of all brokers employed by the DfE since May 2010.


  • Date requested: 26 April 2013
  • Publish date: 25 July 2013


The schools minister, Elizabeth Truss, answered a question by Kevin Brennan MP on 25 April 2013. She said the Department for Education had received 6 formal complaints about academy brokers.

You requested:

  • these complaints be published in full
  • the names of all brokers employed by the Department for Education since May 2010


Providing any details about the nature of the complaints, aside from that already made public in the responses to parliamentary questions tabled by Kevin Brennan, which can be found on Hansard would risk identifying individual cases and therefore jeopardise the confidentiality afforded to the complainant and the subject, and would be prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs, and therefore it is being withheld under section 36(2) (c) of the Act, which exempts disclosure of information if in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a minister in the case of government departments) would otherwise prejudice, or be likely to otherwise prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

A minister has decided that, in her reasonable opinion, disclosure of the broker complaints would be likely to have this effect and therefore the exemption in section 36(2)(c) applies.

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore a public interest test has been carried out. In doing so the following factors have been taken into consideration. In favour of disclosure is that:

  • release of the information could be in the public interest on the grounds that the information would demonstrate that wrongdoing had been effectively dealt with

However this must be set against the disadvantage of disclosure:

  • such disclosure would make it more likely that individuals or companies that were asked to offer advice in the future would be unwilling to do so

The information you have requested above regarding publishing complaints against brokers in full is being withheld Section 36(2) (c). We have concluded that the balance of the public interest test comes down in favour of retention of the information you have requested because:

  • releasing this information could hamper the delivery of current government policy which the government has been democratically elected to deliver

Names of companies and individuals contracted by the department can be found on Contracts Finder