FS50164262

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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50164262
  • Date: 27 May 2009
  • Public Authority: Bristol City Council
  • Summary: The complainant requested information concerning the council’s agreement to build new secondary schools under the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF). He initially requested information concerning the procurement of information technology services (ICT) for the schools but details of the costs were withheld by the council via section 41(1) (information provided in confidence) and section 43(2) (commercial interests) of the Act. Because the council maintained that it was bound by a confidentiality agreement with the contractor to withhold details of the ICT costs, the complainant requested evidence of the council’s consideration to accept confidentiality requirements in the contract. The council refused that request via section 12(1) (appropriate limit) of the Act. The council later submitted that it did not have an agreement with the contractor but that it had one with the local education partnership (LEP) instead. The complainant therefore asked for a copy of that agreement. This request was also refused via section 41(1) and section 43(2) of the Act. The Commissioner decided that the council’s agreement with the LEP to manage the delivery of the BSF programme was environmental information. Consequently, the council withheld details of the agreement via the Environmental Information Regulations, namely, regulations 12(5)(e) (commercial confidentiality) and 12(5)(f) (information provided in confidence). In relation to the initial request the Commissioner ascertained that the council did hold the information concerning the ICT procurement costs for its schools and that it incorrectly applied the exemption at section 41(1) of the Act. He decided that the exemption at section 43(2) applied in relation to some of the information but that the public interest favours disclosure. In relation to the request for evidence of the council’s acceptance of a confidentiality agreement with the contractor, the Commissioner decided that the council incorrectly applied the exemption at section 12(1). In relation to the request for a copy of the council’s agreement with the LEP, the Commissioner decided that the council incorrectly applied the exceptions at regulations 12(5)(e) and 12(5)(f).
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]