ICT Contracts

FOI request reference: F0047104
Publication date: November 2016

Title – ICT Contracts

FOI request reference: F0047104

Response sent: November 2016

Requests

  1. Please provide details of expenditure on perpetual software licences for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16 broken down by software supplier.
  2. Please provide details of software contracts due to expire before 31st December 2017, broken down by supplier and date.
  3. Please provide details of expenditure on software for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16 broken down by software supplier.

Response
1. Please provide details of expenditure on perpetual software licences for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16 broken down by software supplier.

2014/2015

  • Freedom Communications (IUK) Ltd., £3,416.00
  • Insight Direct (UK) Ltd., £21, 984.00

2015/2016

  • Somerford Associates Ltd., £66,616.00

2. Please provide details of software contracts due to expire before 31st December 2017, broken down by supplier and date.

Please see attached spreadsheet for a list of software contracts due to expire before 31 December 2017, broken down by contract name, supplier, and the quarter in which the contract will expire.

We are unable to provide you with specific details of expiry dates for these contracts 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 at a given time. 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

3. Please provide details of expenditure on software for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16 broken down by software supplier.

We have determined that we will not be able to answer your third request because to do so would exceed the cost limit provision under section 12 of the Act. Section 12 (1) of the Act, makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for The National Archives (as a central government department) is set at £600. This equates to 25 hours staff time (or one person spending 3 and a bit working days) purely on 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. This is because we do not hold the information you have requested broken down into the categories you have specified. To retrieve the large amount of information you have requested, we estimate it would take over 36 hours of staff time, from various staff members, across a number of business areas. Therefore we will not be processing your third request any further.

Further guidance on section 12 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

Section 16 – Advice and Assistance
You may find it useful to consult our annual accounts, which can be found here on our website: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-role/plans-policies-performance-and-projects/our-performance/

Or you may wish to consult Contacts Finder for information about specific contracts: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

If you were to refine your third request by narrowing its scope, perhaps identifying specific areas of interest, rather than a broad range of software contracts, we may be able to provide further assistance. For example, you could try reducing the scope of your request to a specific software type or contract that you are interested in. Although we are unable to guarantee that any refined requests would fall within the cost limit.

You may find this guidance on making an FOI request useful to narrow the scope of your request: https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/official-information/