Argos as an approved supplier

Paul W Sullivan made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,
In most prisons the only 'approved supplier' is the Argos catalogue.
1: Is there a formal agreement between NOMS, the Prison service or the Home Office with Argos or its holding company?
2: Does NOMS, the Prison Service, the Home Office or individual 'canteen' supplier gain any financial reward from Argos or it's parent company for (a) access to prisoners or (b) for each order or total cost of orders placed?
3: If your answer is that individual governors decide to use Argos as a supplier are there any incentives or rewards offered to governors either for personal reward or towards that individual prison's funds, or to the canteen supplier at that prison?
4: What checks are in place to ensure that prisoners have access to fair and reasonable prices where Argos is the sole 'catalogue' supplier?

Yours faithfully,

Paul W Sullivan

Gadawodd Paul W Sullivan anodiad ()

For many years prisoners have been a source of 'rip off' be it exhorbitant telephone charges, sky high canteen charges and access to only a single or limited companies for larger purchases (radios, electronic games, clothing etc). In most prisons the sole catalogue supplier is Argos and, increasingly, the amount of items friends and families are allowed to post in has been reduced to almost nothing, thus Argos mops up practically all external purchasing. For Argos to be in such a position, nationwide, it beggars belief that someone, somewhere, isn't getting a 'bung' or percentage. Some prisons even charge for Argos's free delivery.

Data Access & Compliance Unit, Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Sullivan,

Please find attached your acknowledgement to your Freedom of
Information request.

Yours sincerely

Hannah Law

(sent on behalf of Darren Over)

Hannah Law

Data Access & Compliance Unit

Postal Point 1.41, Zone C

102 Petty France

London SW1H 9AJ

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Paul W Sullivan

Dear Data Access & Compliance Unit,

My request for information Ref: FOI/58942/09/DO is now overdue. Could you please give me an indication of the reason for the delay and when I might expect a response.

Yours sincerely,

Paul W Sullivan

Data Access & Compliance Unit, Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

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Over, Darren (ARU), Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

Dear Mr Sullivan,

Thank you for your email dated 7th May 2009. In relation to your Freedom
of Information request of:

In most prisons the only 'approved supplier' is the Argos catalogue

1) Is there a formal agreement between NOMS, the Prison Service or the
Home Office with Argos or its holding company?

2) Does NOMS, the Prison Service, the Home Office or individual 'canteen'
supplier gain any financial reward from Argos or its parent company for

a) Access to prisoners
Or
b) For each order or total cost of orders placed?

3) If your answer is individual governors decide to use Argos as a
supplier Are there any incentives or rewards offered to governors either
for personal rewards or towards the individual's prison funds, or to the
canteen supplier at that prison?

4) What checks are in place to ensure that prisoners have access to fair
and reasonable prices where Argos is the sole 'catalogue' supplier?

I can inform you that we are considering the exemptions under the Freedom
of Information Act in relation to your Freedom of Information request, and
will inform you of the latest developments in relation to your request.

Regards

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deciding whether to send material in response to this message by e-mail.

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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Paul W Sullivan

Dear Over, Darren (ARU),

Thank you for your email. I am of the opinion that if everything is straight and above board, then you have nothing to hide and so should not be looking for loopholes to avoid answering my questions which were carefully considered so ans not to impinge on any commercial sensitivity. I think that when I publish your answers; if you duck the questions, more deep questions will be raised about the ethical questions around Argos and HMPS

Yours sincerely,

Paul W Sullivan

Over, Darren (ARU), Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Sullivan,

Thank you for your email dated 3rd April 2009, please see the attached
letter in relation to your Freedom of Information request.

Regards
<<Paul Sullivan 58942.doc>>

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addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
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Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message could be
intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in mind when
deciding whether to send material in response to this message by e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be
monitored, recorded and retained by the Ministry of Justice. E-mail
monitoring / blocking software may be used, and e-mail content may be read
at any time. You have a responsibility to ensure laws are not broken when
composing or forwarding e-mails and their contents.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Gadawodd Paul W Sullivan anodiad ()

There is more to this than meets the eye.

Paul W Sullivan

Dear Over, Darren (ARU),

I have four further simple questions arising from your answers.

1: Are the purchases, for prisoners, made under the OGC Buying Solutions Framework using a Government Procurement Card?

2: Although the Canteen Supplier (now DHL) administers orders are these actually done on behalf of the Prison Service (ie. Is it the Prison Service who are the actual purchasers?)?

3: Much greater discounts are available from Argos under the OGC scheme. Does the Prison Service take advantage of these when purchasing orders for prisoners?

4: Are prisoners informed of the 5% skim, and if not, why not?

Yours sincerely,

Paul W Sullivan

Over, Darren (ARU), Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

Dear Mr Sullivan,

In line with office procedures, this email is being forwarded onto the
Data Access and Compliance Unit email inbox, as this is a new Freedom of
Information request. You will receive notification of the new reference
number and case worker.

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Gadawodd Christopher Stacey LL.B, LL.M anodiad ()

I would be very interested to find out their response to the further questions here. It is quite clear that the first response did not elicit the full facts of the situation. Hopefully the further FOI request will clarify the situation.

Data Access & Compliance Unit, Gwasanaeth Carchardai a Phrawf Ei Mawrhydi

1 Atodiad

<<59713 Sullivan.DOC>> Dear Mr Sullivan,

Please find attached your acknowledgement to your Freedom of Information
request.

Yours sincerely

Hannah Law

(sent on behalf of Darren Over)

Data Access & Compliance Unit

Postal Point 6.25, Zone B

102 Petty France

London SW1H 9AJ

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of the addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all copies and inform the sender by return e-mail.

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of the addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all copies and inform the sender by return e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be monitored, recorded and retained by the Ministry of Justice. E-mail monitoring / blocking software may be used, and e-mail content may be read at any time. You have a responsibility to ensure laws are not broken when composing or forwarding e-mails and their contents.

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Gadawodd M Bimmler anodiad ()

Ever heard anything here again !?

Gadawodd Paul W Sullivan anodiad ()

Finally after a lot of digging and researching further it was shown that HMP buy from Argos at reduced 'corporate rates' and resell to prisoners at higher rates. As far as 'canteen' items go HMPS bulk buy, and pay DHL to pack and deliver (using prisoners as cheap labour. Not sure if HMP pay the added VAT to C&Ex. They say this profit is to help pay for the admin involved but they also charge prisoners for ordering from Argos at many prisons, a practice which HMCIP say should cease.
Paul Sullivan