Information Commissioner in U-turn over Tate’s BP secrecyMay 11, 2016 • 5:51 pm
* Information Commissioner argued in court hearing today that Tate failed to show how disclosing sponsorship details would harm its commercial interest.
Contact: Anna Galkina, Platform / @platformlondon / [email protected]
The Information Commissioner, who previously supported Tate in its refusal to disclose BP sponsorship fees for 2007-2011, today concluded at a court hearing that Tate had not shown how the disclosure would harm its commercial interest. London arts group Platform, represented by law firm Leigh Day and Monckton Chambers, and supported by information rights group Request Initiative, took forward the appeal heard at the Information Tribunal in London.
Platform’s Anna Galkina said:
“Tate’s insistence on commercial confidentiality is symptomatic of a broader creeping commercialisation of our public cultural institutions. It’s only right that the Information Commissioner changed his position. As Tate’s deal with BP ends, the oil company can no longer use Tate’s spectacular displays to distract the public from its destructive business. Tate should review its funding in relation to its climate impacts, rather than continuing to fight on behalf of BP’s interests. And the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and Royal Opera House should join Tate in breaking free from oil branding.”
British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery both previously voluntarily disclosed recent or current amounts that BP paid them as sponsor .
 The end of the sponsorship relationship was announced in March 2016 via an article in the Independent. According to a BP spokesperson, the decision to end the sponsorship was taken by BP, due to “challenging business environment”. http://platformlondon.org/
 The previous Tribunal considered that the 2006-2011 figures were sufficiently recent at the time they were originally requested – in 2012 – that their release could have harmed Tate’s commercial interests. Campaigners argue that in 2015 (and now in 2016), these figures are no more likely to harm Tate’s interests than the figures from 2006. This accords with the reasoning of the Tribunal in its judgment where it drew a distinction between: (a) current and recent figures (assessed as at the time of the request; and (b) historic figures.