Catering Concession Contract between The National Archives and BaxterStorey

FOI request reference: F0052619
Publication date: May 2018

Request

I would like to ask if I can get copy of the ‘contract’ which we have with catering company.

Outcome

Unsuccessful

Response

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

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with this information

We are unable to provide you with the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 43(2) of the FOI Act, which exempts information if disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

Please note that some information pertaining to this contract has already been published by The National Archives on the contracts finder website. Please use the following link to access this information.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/23e46538-91cc-4223-8fe1-36c44896f718?p=@8=UFQxUlRRPT0=NjJNT0

EXPLANATORY ANNEX

Section 43(2) – Commercial Interests
This section exempts information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person. In this case, the exemption applies because release would prejudice the commercial interests of BaxterStorey and future suppliers.

Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and must be released. In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it.

The public interest has now been concluded and the balance of the public interest has been found to fall in favour of withholding information covered by the section 43(2) exemption.

Considerations in favour of the release of the information included The National Archives’ commitment to openness and transparency in its commercial activities, to allow public scrutiny and to demonstrate that public funds are being used in an efficient and effective way. Furthermore private sector companies engaging in commercial activities with the public sector must expect some information about those activities to be disclosed.

Considerations against disclosure included the recognition that disclosure is likely to provide information to direct competitors within the market that would create an imbalance and a commercial advantage to those competitors. Furthermore disclosure of this information is also likely to affect The National Archives’ ability to negotiate contracts in the future and consequently generate revenue from non-public funds.

In conclusion, The National Archives have determined that it is not in the public interest to prejudice the commercial interests of BaxterStorey and future suppliers. As such this information has been deemed exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Act.

Further guidance can be found at:
http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/AWARENESS_GUIDANCE_5_V3_07_03_08.ashx