Spending on government procurement cards at The National Archives

FOI request reference: F0048417
Publication date: April 2017

Request

1. Please provide me with a breakdown of the department’s spending via government procurement cards, in annual breakdown over the years 2015/2016/2017; listing how much was spent in each year.

2. Please include in this breakdown the amount charged on each occasion over 2015/2016/2017, when it was charged, and what it was for. Please include detail like if any department trips, what the name of the hotel was, or any food – what the brand/restaurant was, as is feasible within cost/time limits.

I should add that I am conscious of the government’s programme of publishing GPC spending monthly when the transactions are above £500. However I should make clear as regards any overlap of my request with already publicly available information, that I would be interested in the information below £500.

Outcome

Successful

Response

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request.

We are pleased to be able to provide some of this information to you.

We are unable to provide you with some of the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 12 of the FOIA. This exempts information if the cost of locating, retrieving and extracting the information exceeds an appropriate limit. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

1. Please provide me with a breakdown of the department’s spending via government procurement cards, in annual breakdown over the years 2015/2016/2017; listing how much was spent in each year.

Section 21 of the FOI Act exempts us from providing you with information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means. Information relating to GPC spend between 2015 and 2017 is reasonably accessible via the National Archives’ transparency pages. Please use the following link to access this information.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-role/transparency/how-we-spend-public-money/

2. Please include in this breakdown the amount charged on each occasion over 2015/2016/2017, when it was charged, and what it was for. Please include detail like if any department trips, what the name of the hotel was, or any food – what the brand/restaurant was, as is feasible within cost/time limits.

I should add that I am conscious of the government’s programme of publishing GPC spending monthly when the transactions are above £500. However I should make clear as regards any overlap of my request with already publicly available information, that I would be interested in the information below £500.

Please find attached an excel spreadsheet detailing GPC spend under £500 at the National Archives between 2015 and 2017.

We are unable to provide you with the additional detail you have requested pertaining to departmental trips, names of hotels and names of restaurants as the cost of locating, retrieving and extracting the information exceeds an appropriate limit. Please see the explanatory annex for further information.

In the interests of providing advice and assistance we have instead included information which identifies the account codes under which the purchases were made. This information offers a basic description of what product or service was purchased.

The majority of the account code descriptions are self-explanatory but a few require further explanation.

Document moves: This account code relates to the transport and delivery of documents

Miscellaneous (non project): This account code relates to infrequent purchases of good and services which cannot be easily categorised within existing account codes

Personnel Related Costs: This account relates to procuring items related to the security checking and visa sponsorship of staff

If you have any further queries concerning the definitions of account code descriptions please let us know.

Explanatory annex

Exemptions applied

Section 12: Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central government departments like The National Archives, is set at £600.  This represents the estimated cost of one person spending just over three working days determining whether the department holds the information, as well as locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

We estimate that it will take us in excess of this to identify the appropriate information, and locate, retrieve and extract it in response to your request because it is so wide ranging.  Therefore, this section of your request will not be processed further. You may wish to consider refining your request. Further guidance can be found at:

http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/costs_of_compliance_exceeds_appropriate_limit.pdf

We are unable to guarantee that any refined requests would fall within the cost limit.

Section 21: Information readily available to the applicant by other means

Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) does not oblige a public authority to provide information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means. In this case the exemption applies because the information is already available.

Further guidance can be found at:

http://ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/information-reasonably-accessible-to-the-applicant-by-other-means-sec21.pdf

Attachment: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/f0048417-spending-on-government-procurement-cards-attachment.csv