ICT contracts

FOI request reference: F0043594
Publication date: November 2015

Request:

Please could you provide me with the following information about your current contracts with third party suppliers.

1.If another organisation routinely manages procurement and contracts on behalf of your organisation, please could you provide me with its name:

2.If your organisation routinely manages procurement and contracts on behalf of another organisation(s), please could you provide me with their names:

3.If your organisation handles its own procurement and contracts, please could you provide me with a list of all of your current contracts for ICT services, with the following information for each one:

Contract name/short description

Supplier

Start date (or last renewal date, if applicable) End date Estimated contract value (ie for services provided between start and end date) If this contract was called off a central framework agreement (e.g. from the Crown Commercial Service, G-Cloud, etc) please say which one

Outcome:

Partially successful

Response:

We can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request. Please see attached a list of ICT contracts that were active at the time of your request.

The start date for each contract is the date the contract was first entered into or the date of the most recent contract extension (whichever is the most recent).

Unfortunately, due to the volume of ICT contracts and that some are over 7 years old, it would take longer than three working days to provide the total contract value in each case and to do so would exceed the appropriate cost limit for responding to requests under the FOIA.

However, we are able to provide you with the budgeted amount in the 2015/2016 financial year for each contract and we hope you find this information useful.

For central government departments like The National Archives, the cost limit 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 it. Section 12 of the FOIA sets out the criteria by which a public authority can refuse such requests.

Some of the information you have requested is also covered by the exemption at section 31(1) (a) FOIA. This exempts information if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and relates to specific expiry and renewal dates as well as specific hardware versions of the contracts detailed in the attached spreadsheet.

Exemptions applied

Section 12 – 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, the majority 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

Section 31: Law Enforcement

(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—
(a) The prevention or detection of crime

Section 31 is a qualified exemption. 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 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 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 through disclosure of information about government procedure and contracts.

However, release of this information would make The National Archives more vulnerable to crime; namely, a malicious attack on The National Archives’ computer systems. As such release of this information would rejudice the prevention or detection of crime (section 31(1)(a)) 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 was therefore 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

Attachments: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/f0043594-ict-contracts.xls