I would like to know if you could tell me which companies (unsuccessful) bid on the below tender:
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.
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 our own commercial interests as well as those 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 released. 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. Greater transparency about the tendering process and the negotiation of public sector contracts may also encourage companies to take part in the process and help them improve their bids, thereby increasing competition and helping public authorities to get value for money. 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 disclosing the information requested to direct competitors within the market would create an imbalance and put such competitors at a commercial advantage. As such, it is considered that disclosure would be likely to deter potential bidders for future contracts from competing and sharing commercially sensitive information with us.
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. 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: