IP Telephony procurement

FOI request reference: F0047829
Publication date: January 2017

Title: IP Telephony procurement
FOI request reference: F0047829
Response sent: January 2017

Request:

Could I please request the names of the successful and unsuccessful suppliers of your recent IP Telephony procurement? I require the company names and if possible the contact names for each.

Outcome: Partially successful

Response:

Thank you for your enquiry of 4th January 2017, in which you asked for the following information about IP Telephony procurement at The National Archives:

Could I please request the names of the successful and unsuccessful suppliers of your recent IP Telephony procurement? I require the company names and if possible the contact names for each.

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. The FOI Act gives you the right to know whether we hold the information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions which may apply.

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

Section 21 of the FOI Act exempts us from providing you with information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means. Information relating to the successful supplier of The National Archives’ 2016-2019 IP Telephony contract is considered reasonably accessible via the Crown Commercial Services search engine Contracts Finder.

Section 16(1) of the Act states that public authorities are required to provide requesters with advice and assistance, as such please use the following link to access the requested contractual information:
https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/195a7ccd-7715-4df0-a292-5464bc7959a8?p=@08=UFQxUlRRPT0=NzBNT

We are unable to provide you with some of the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 43(2) of the FOI Act, which exempts information if . Information relating to the unsuccessful suppliers of The National Archives’ 2016-2019 IP Telephony contract is considered exempt under section 43(2) of the Act.

Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and as such the National archives is required to conduct a public interest test. For further information about why these exemptions have been applied and the outcome of the public interest test, please see the explanatory annex at the end of this letter.

The IP Telephony contract was competed via the Crown Commercial Service framework RM1045, Lots 1 and 10.

In the interests of providing advice and assistance in accordance with section 16(1) of the Act please use the following link to access a list of the suppliers within those lots of the framework: http://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contracts/rm1045

Please note that this list only indicates that these suppliers were given the opportunity to bid for the contract but not that they necessarily bid for it.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX

Your request in full

Could I please request the names of the successful and unsuccessful suppliers of your recent IP Telephony procurement? I require the company names and if possible the contact names for each.

Exemptions applied

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. Information relating to the successful supplier of The National Archives’ 2016-2019 IP Telephony contract is considered reasonably accessible via the Crown Commercial Services search engine Contracts Finder.

Further guidance on section 21 can be found at:
http://ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/information-reasonably-accessible-to-the-applicant-by-other-means-sec21.pdf

Section 43(2) – Commercial Interests

Section 43(2) exempts information if its disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).

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 release. In the FOI Act 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 may cause damage to an unsuccessful supplier’s reputation, affecting the supplier’s competitive position in their respective market and confidence that its customers, suppliers or investors may have in its commercial operations. Disclosure would be likely to deter potential bidders for future contracts from competing and sharing commercially sensitive information with us, which would negatively impact upon the quality and quantity of Governments’ supplier base. The National Archives must retain commercial confidence of third party bidders when they choose to engage in commercial activities with us. The release of this information may jeopardise this commercial confidence.

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

Further guidance on section 43 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