SOAS University of London

Credit/purchasing cards

Disclosure date: 22 December 2011

Reference: FOI2011/100


1) Who has the use of an institutional credit card?

2) In August 2009- July 10, how much did each official spend on their credit card?

3) In August 2010- July 11, how much did each official spend on their credit card?

4) For August 2010- July 11, please provide itemised credit card statements in their original format for each official, stating clearly which official each statement refers to. If this is not possible under the appropriate limit, please provide them for as many officials as possible, including the vice-chancellor (or similar) and registrar (or similar).


1) Please see attached spreadsheet listing the posts of those who hold purchasing cards as of 14 December 2011, and the Directorate or Faculty to which they belong.

2 & 3) Please see attached spreadsheet which shows spend by post during these financial years.

4) It would cost significantly more than the cost limit of £450 to provide copies of statements for each official. Therefore this is being refused under s.12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act which allows authorities to refuse requests exceeding the ‘appropriate limit’.

Itemised credit card statements that we are able to provide within the cost limit.

These are statements for the Director of SOAS, the Pro-Director (Learning & Teaching), the Dean of the Faculty of Languages & Cultures, together with the Professional Services Directors in charge of External Relations & Development, Human Resources and Research & Enterprise. 

Please note that personal details such as home addresses and card numbers have been redacted from the statements. These details are exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act as disclosure would breach the first Data Protection principle, in that the data subjects would not expect these details to be disclosed by SOAS, and disclosure may cause them significant inconvenience and/or distress, and it would therefore be unfair to do so.

It should be stressed that all expenditure on these cards is business related. In some cases, some of the amounts showing on statements have been reimbursed to the School at a later date, so the figures shown here and in the previously released spreadsheet may not fully reflect the net expense incurred by SOAS. I am providing some specific examples below to demonstrate these general points.

The statements relating to the Director of External Relations & Development include payments to Bloomsbury Bowling, in London. These payments relate to a social event to thank staff from across SOAS who had worked long hours to support SOAS graduation ceremonies in the summer of 2010. A significant proportion of the expense was later reimbursed to the School by the Chair of the Governing Body. The statements also include a payment to Worth Bros. in January 2011 which relates to thank you gifts purchased to thank volunteers.

The statements relating to the Director of Human Resources, Mr Peter Mitchell, show payments for visa fees for overseas staff recruitment, and a hotel booking for a shortlisted applicant to SOAS. Mr Mitchell’s card is used to pay for such recruitment related expenditure where it is the only or the most practical method of payment.