HR, payroll and finance software contracts

FOI request reference: CAS-68399-L4B9M0
Publication date: June 2021

Request

1) Name of Supplier: Can you please provide me with the software provider for each contract?

2) The brand of software: Can you please provide me with the actual name of the software. Please do not provide me with the supplier name again please provide me with the actual software name.

3) Description of the contract: Can you please provide me with detailed information about this contract and please state if upgrade, maintenance and support is included. Please also list the software modules included in these contracts.

4) Number of Users/Licenses: What is the total number of user/licenses for this contract?

5) Annual Spend: What is the annual average spend for each contract?

6) Contract Duration: What is the duration of the contract please include any available extensions within the contract.

7) Contract Start Date: What is the start date of this contract? Please include month and year of the contract. DD-MM-YY or MM-YY.

8) Contract Expiry: What is the expiry date of this contract? Please include month and year of the contract. DD-MM-YY or MM-YY.

9) Contract Review Date: What is the review date of this contract? Please include month and year of the contract. If this cannot be provide please provide me estimates of when the contract is likely to be reviewed. DD-MM-YY or MM-YY.

10) Contact Details: I require the full contact details of the person within the organisation responsible for this particular software contract (name, job title, email, contact number).

Outcome

Some information provided.

Response

1) Name of Supplier: Can you please provide me with the software provider for each contract?

Disclosing software systems, product names, vendors and versions may reveal information that would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and is exempt under section 31 (1) (a) of the FOI Act.

2) The brand of software: Can you please provide me with the actual name of the software. Please do not provide me with the supplier name again please provide me with the actual software name.

Disclosing software systems, product names, vendors and versions may reveal information that would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and is exempt under section 31 (1) (a) of the FOI Act.

3) Description of the contract: Can you please provide me with detailed information about this contract and please state if upgrade, maintenance and support is included. Please also list the software modules included in these contracts.

For contracts and agreements under £10,000, this information is covered by the exemption at section 43 (2) of the FOI Act.

Information about all contracts and agreements with a value over £10,000 are published in the public domain and is covered by the exemption at Section 21 of the FOI Act. The information is already published in the public domain as per the link below:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/

4) Number of Users/Licenses: What is the total number of user/licenses for this contract?

For our HR system we have a total of 650 user licenses. For our Finance system we have a total of 155 user licences. Our Payroll System is not managed by The National Archives.

5) Annual Spend: What is the annual average spend for each contract?

This information is covered by the exemption at Section 21 of the FOI Act. The information is already published in the public domain as per the link shared in question 3.

6) Contract Duration: What is the duration of the contract please include any available extensions within the contract.

This information is covered by the exemption at Section 21 of the FOI Act. The information is already published in the public domain as per the link shared in question 3.

7) Contract Start Date: What is the start date of this contract? Please include month and year of the contract. DD-MM-YY or MM-YY.

This information is covered by the exemption at Section 21 of the FOI Act. The information is already published in the public domain as per the link shared in question 3.

8) Contract Expiry: What is the expiry date of this contract? Please include month and year of the contract. DD-MM-YY or MM-YY.

This information is covered by the exemption at Section 21 of the FOI Act. The information is already published in the public domain as per the link shared in question 3.

9) Contract Review Date: What is the review date of this contract? Please include month and year of the contract. If this cannot be provide please provide me estimates of when the contract is likely to be reviewed. DD-MM-YY or MM-YY.

The National Archives has not set a date on which we plan to review this contract.

10) Contact Details: I require the full contact details of the person within the organisation responsible for this particular software contract (name, job title, email, contact number).

We are unable to provide you with this information because it would identify a junior member of staff and as such is exempt from release under section 40 (2) of the FOI Act. However, at The National Archives we apply the general principle that members of staff at Head of Department level and above are sufficiently senior for their names and/or job titles to already be in the public domain and are therefore not exempt from release.

The Head of IT Operations at The National Archives is Julian Muller.

The Head of Human Resources is Jane Craigie-Payne.

The National Archives’ full contact options can be found on our website
here: https://apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact/.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX

Exemptions applied.

Section 31: Law Enforcement

We are unable to provide you with information regarding software brands and specific contract start/end dates because this information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 (1) (a) of the FOI Act. Section 31 (1) (a) exempts information if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

Section 31 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 the information must be released. In the FOI Act 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 31 (1) (a) exemption. Considerations in favour of the release of the information included the principle that there is a public interest in transparency and accountability in disclosing information about government procedure and contracts.

However, release of this information would make The National Archives more vulnerable to crime. The crime in question here would be a malicious attack on The National Archives’ computer systems. As such release of this information would be seen to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime by making The National Archives’ computer system more vulnerable to hacking. There is an overwhelming public interest in keeping government computer systems secure which would be served by non-disclosure. This would outweigh any benefits of release. It has therefore been decided that the balance of the public interest lies clearly in favour of withholding the material on this occasion.

Further guidance on section 31 can be found here:
Section 31 – Law Enforcement | ICO.org.uk.

Section 43 (2) – Commercial Interests

Section 43 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 release. In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it.

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. It is also considered that disclosure would be likely to deter potential bidders for future contracts from competing and sharing commercially sensitive information with us. This would outweigh any benefits of release. It was therefore decided that the balance of the public interest lies clearly in favour of withholding the material on this occasion

Further guidance can be found at:
Section 43 – Commercial interests | ICO.

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:
Section 21 – Information readily available to the applicant by other means | ICO.

 Section 40 (2): Personal Information where the applicant is not the data subject

Data Protection Legislation prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.

In this case the exemption applies because this information represents the personal information of a junior member of staff at The National Archives.

Publishing the names and contact details of junior members of staff is considered an unfair use of personal data. Junior members of staff would have no expectation that information about their positions would be made available in the public domain; to do so would be unfair and contravene Art. 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation. As such, the names, positions and contact details of junior officials are withheld under section 40 (2) of the FOI Act.

Further guidance can be found at:
Section 40 – Personal Information | ICO.