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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom Of Information question Number 9403’

Festival Funding – Or A Game Of Smoke & Mirrors?

21 May

I’ve been asked so often about food festival funding, so the easiest way to update you is to show you my Freedom Of Information question Number 9403 and the response.

ATISN 9403 Food Culture Grant Scheme – Food Festivals and Events 2015
Thank you for your request which I received on 22.04.15. You asked for:
1. I require a full list of all festivals that applied for Welsh Government funding for 2015 in both first and second tranches.
2. How much funding each festival has applied for and how much they received.
3. The festivals that applied for funding and were not successful. Also the amount they requested.
4. Date when second tranche will be awarded.
5. For second tranche of funding I require answers to questions 1, 2, and 3 above.

Please note that the Food Festival and Events grant process for 2015/16 is still currently ongoing. With that in mind, I set out the response to each of your questions below.
1 and 2
As the application process has not yet closed, the Welsh Government does not hold a full list of all festivals that applied for Welsh Government funding for 2015 (in both first and second tranches) or the amount they have applied for/received. At best we only hold partial information relating to the applications received to date and how much they applied for. I can confirm, however, that it is the Welsh Government’s intention to ultimately publish the outcome of the Food Culture Grant Scheme – Food Festivals and Events 2015 -2016 on the following page:
http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/foodanddrink/supportforfoodproducers/supportforfoodfestivals/food-culture-grant-funding-for-food-festivals-2015-16/?lang=en
Because of this, the partial information we hold is exempt under section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) – Information intended for future publication. Section 22 states:
(1)Information is exempt information if:
(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not).
(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and.
(c) it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).
As set out above, (a) and (b) have been satisfied and as far as (c) goes I believe it’s wholly reasonable to withhold the information until its formal publication so as to allow the established timeline of the process to run its course.
Section 22 is also subject to the public interest test; that is, in order to withhold the information it has to be shown that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs that in releasing it. The Welsh Government acknowledges the general public interest in openness and transparency that the release would engender. On the other hand, however, the information is incomplete and inappropriate for publication at this stage as it could be misleading. Your own interest in the information notwithstanding, I do not believe there is sufficient public interest in this information to warrant release of the information prior to the official publication.
3 – as the process is still ongoing, decisions regarding the success or otherwise of the applicants has not yet been made. Consequently, this information is not held by Welsh Government.
4 – All awards under the second tranche of funding will be made by 31 July 2015.
5 – In relation to this question please see the response to questions 1, 2 and 3 above.

So the outcome is please don’t ask me about festival funding because you now know as much, or as little, as me. But there really is no need for you to worry, because the link wag have kindly sent through is a great idea, well it would be if us outsiders have the slightest clue of WHEN to look for it! Guess that’s another wag secret.

Under the old regime – later than I or you would like, wag food would send to me the full list of festivals they were funding. I then had to go back to them to ask which festivals had been turned down and how much each festival had asked for, but that was just another email for me to do. Now wag foods’ latest system only makes life more complicated and really does feel like a government game of smoke and mirrors. Money matters should be in the public’s interest because it is our money wag is spending. Seemingly Welsh food and drink producers are classed as public and they of course have no interest in food festival funding at all………………………

Welsh food and drink are supposed to be important to Wales, which means that Welsh food and drink producers are important to. Which then means our Welsh  food festivals are also important too. But not being able to get even part of the information I;ve asked me for, is to say the least annoying. Did Welsh food and drink producers agree that it was a good idea to run two tranches of food festival funding this year? Well I think not, because wag food can’t be bothered engaging with their producers, by and large. I really don’t know how many times I have to tell wag food that this is one of their many problems is a puzzle. Were Welsh food festival organisers asked it they wanted two tranches? Perhaps they were now wag have agreed to have a food festival committee, but is that committee talking to all food festivals that are chasing funding? I’m not sure they are. Obviously the big three festivals have got a voice to wag food, hence they are all getting more cash this year, but not sure it applies across the board and that is my worry. I’m sure the big three festivals will survive anyway, but what of our smaller festivals? If they don’t where does our growth come from?

The first tranche of food festival funding has been sent out by wag and has been published here on welshfoodbites.co.uk so why I can’t have questions answered about that first tranche makes no sense to me an their explanation doesn’t help at all, but that’s so typical of wag.

Wag, why help if you can hinder?