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PR Expenditure

Disclosure date: 5 December 2013

Reference: FOI2013/114


1) For the financial years 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, a breakdown of the university expenditure on promotional material, including advertisements and open days.

2)  For the financial years 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, a breakdown of the university expenditure on any branding or rebranding exercises. This request may come under the promotional material in Q1, depending on how you define rebranding.

3) If applicable, for the financial years 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, the income generated from any advertising space sold within any university library premises.


Undergraduate and Post Graduate Prospectuses50425352
Brochures/Promotional Material32242612
Open Days (including student ambassador costs)*1061619

*Student ambassadors are students who are paid an hourly rate to work at SOAS open days.

Note that it is always difficult to provide accurate figures for this kind of request because of the necessity of interpreting what material falls under the definition of “promotional material” and the fact that budget codes may not fit readily into that description.

You indicated in a follow up email that you wanted a more detailed breakdown than that provided above. Unfortunately the only way to do this would be for a member of staff to review 397 invoices. Of these 192 invoices are archived. Each archived invoice would take approximately 10 minutes to retrieve from the archive. Other invoices would take 3 minutes to retrieve.  The information would then need to be entered onto a spreadsheet and collated to obtain the totals (2 minutes per invoice). This would take over 55 hours. In many cases (we estimate at least 20%) it will not be clear from the invoice what precise activity it related to, and so further research would be required. The appropriate limit over which public authorities are permitted to refuse requests is £450, with staff time calculated on the basis of £25 an hour. This means that the limit in terms of staff time is 18 hours. It is clear from this that to provide more detail would cost significantly more than the £450 limit. Therefore we will not be providing the more detailed information that you have requested. However, we hope that the information that we are able to provide is useful to you.

You also indicated in your follow up email that you wanted the figures provided to include staff time. With the exception of the student ambassadors, it is not possible to break down staff time in this way as staff do not complete timesheets. If it is helpful to you, SOAS has previously answered a request for the cost of marketing activities (which we interpreted more broadly than your request). We were able to include the cost of staff in that total figure as we have a Marketing team. You can see that response at http://www.soas.ac.uk/infocomp/foi/log/2013/marketing-expenditure.html on our website.
2)  Between 2009 and 2012, a rebranding and visual identity review was carried out. The costs of the actual promotional material and staff time are captured in the figures provided in answer to question 1. However, it has been calculated previously that the total cost of the rebranding exercise over the period, including expenditure on consultants, came to £110,702.

3) Advertising space has never been sold within the SOAS Library.