IT Health Check contract

FOI request reference: F0061521
Publication date: March 2020

Request

I would be most grateful if you would provide me, under the Freedom of Information Act, details in respect to the contract below.

Ref: IT Health Check Tender Award

The details we require are:

• A copy of the winning tender
• A list of suppliers who were unsuccessful at the final stage

 

Outcome

Not successful

 

Response

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with this information because it is covered by the exemption at section 43 (2) of the FOI Act, which exempts information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice or harm the commercial interests of any person. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

 

Explanatory Annex

Exemptions applied
Section 43(2) – Commercial Interests

This section exempts information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person. In this case, the exemption applies because it would be likely to harm or prejudice the commercial interests of our current and potential future suppliers.

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 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:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1178/commercial-interests-section-43-foia-guidance.pdf