HR, Payroll, L&D, Procurement, Finance and Contact Centre systems and services

FOI request reference: CAS-68068-P9N1C5
Publication date: May 2021

Request
Under the Freedom of Information Act, please could I request the following information:

1) Please advise what technologies (including version) you use for HR, Payroll, L&D, Finance, Procurement and Contact Centre.
2) Please advise if your HR, Payroll, L&D, Finance, Procurement and Contact Centre services are outsourced to third parties, and if so, when does the contract end?

Outcome
Some information provided.

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

We are unable to provide you with some of the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 31(1) (a) of the FOI Act, which exempts information if its disclosure would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

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

1) Please advise what technologies (including version) you use for HR, Payroll, L&D, Finance, Procurement and Contact Centre.
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) Please advise if your HR, Payroll, L&D, Finance, Procurement and Contact Centre services are outsourced to third parties, and if so, when does the contract end?
We outsource our Payroll services to a third party. The contract is due for renewal in Q2 FY 2021-2022.

Information regarding specific start and end dates is exempt under section 31 (1) (a) of the FOI Act.

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:
https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1207/law-enforcement-foi-section-31.pdf