November 2013


1. Please can we have a copy of the TNA collections download information figures which identifies the information packages contained within each of the collection and the names of the collections?

2. Please can we see information held related to the gross revenue earned by the prime partners for the 1911 census during the primacy period for Jan-March 2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012? As this is historic data and we do not have an idea of their costs, it should not act to harm the contractors commercial interests.

3. Is there information held which estimates or confirms the actual proportion of downloads within each collection which is paid for and which has been downloaded for free (through the TNA reading rooms)?

4. Are you able to provide information on the breakdown of royalty paid to TNA by year for each of the collections?

5. What was the cost for purchasing/licensing the complete 1911 scans collection at the end of the primacy period?

6. Are there figures for the 1911 census by month by searches made?

7. How many image downloads of the 1911 census were pay as you go and how many were subscribers (existing and new).

8. Of the subscriber downloads, what proportion of subscriber revenue was allocated to 1911 census.

9. What revenue did you receive from pay as you go downloads and what revenue did you receive from subscriptions.

10.  Are you able to say what proportion of downloads for 1911 census came via the different channels through which í was available i.e. 1911 dedicated site, prime contractors own site, via the TNA site, through other channels?




The National Archives publish download statistics within our Annual Reports.The latest report can be found on our website -

If you require clarification on these statistics please see a previous FOI response, which explains how these are represented on the Annual Report 

In terms of the specific questions you have raised in your FOI request The National Archives can confirm that we hold information that falls within the scope of this request , however all the requested information is considered exempt under section 43 (2) - (prejudice to commercial interests).

Section 43 is a qualified exemption and as such requires a public interest test to determine if the exemption does apply. We have now completed this test and the outcome determined that Section 43 (2) applies to some of the information requested.

Public interest test:
Section 43(2) exempts information where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any individual or organisation and protects not only the commercial interests of third parties but also the commercial interests of the public authority that holds the information. 

When considering the balance of the public interest we acknowledge that there are arguments in favour of disclosure of commercial information to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the allocation and spending of public money.

Through consultation with those involved in the process it has been determined that to supply detailed technical information on how a company delivers the necessary products and services and how they will successfully achieve implementation, would provide competitors with enough knowledge to win bids from them in the future. Thus to release the technical solutions or calculations outlined in existing contracts would prejudice the commercial interests of this organisation and those third parties.

To affect future competition for any organisation hoping to win a bid would not be in the public interest. This is because it is in the interests of the public that any tender/bid for a public sector contract is conducted with fair competition in order to negotiate the best service for the best price. Organisations which are involved in public sector contracts need to have confidence that information they supply, which would affect their ongoing commercial interests, will not be shared by the public authority. If this confidence is lost, it could affect the ability of the public sector to attract enough businesses who want to work with them, thus reducing competition.

Further to these arguments, the balance of the public interest for this information is also weighted more towards non disclosure at this current time, given that The National Archives is in the process of considering bids for the commercial digitisation of the 1939 General Register. The prejudice likely to be caused by the release of this commercial information is greater when it is highly likely to impact on current commercial negotiations.

As the release of the above information would prejudice the commercial interests of those third parties involved, by adversely affecting their position during any current and future contractual negotiations; the arguments in favour of withholding the information outweigh the arguments for disclosure at this current time. Thus the balance of the public interest test lies with maintaining the use of this exemption and non-disclosure of the information requested.

Please see the below links that provide further guidance on the exemptions applied:

Section 43 - Commercial Interests:   

MOJ - Working Assumptions for Procurement: