Costs of www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk website

Simon Young made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Cheshire West and Chester Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to request information about the process of building
and delivering the council website www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk. Specifically
I would like to know:

1. The initial cost estimate of the work and the final cost paid to all parties involved.
2. Who is doing this work? (e.g. which unit, division, section,
agency, company,etc.)?
3. If any contracts are related to this job, copies of these
(including all indexes, appendices and supplements) and the bids to
tender.
4. All progress/status reports on this work.
5. The cost of any repeating contracts with third parties who are charged with the upkeep of the website.
6. The cost estimate for the upkeep of the website at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk for the financial year 2010/2011 including any web hosting costs incurred.

My preferred format to receive this information is by electronic
means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than
others, please send that information first followed by any
subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request
please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature
have already been asked could you please include your responses to
those requests.

Many public authorities release their contracts with private
vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption
for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified
exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in
the public’s interest. The public have an interest in knowing the
terms of contracts awarded by public authorities, whether or not
public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of
confidence) then I would like to know the following:
• When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
• All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality
agreements were discussed.
• The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord
Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of
Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and
services) specifically state that public authorities should not
enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the
spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the
Information Commissioner’s guidance on accepting blanket commercial
confidentiality agreements: ‘Unless confidentiality clauses are
necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of
a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.’

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public
interest test. Therefore, the contracts should be disclosed in
full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that
can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only
then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These
are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or
where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly
to charge its stakeholders.

I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have
received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you
within the 20-working day statutory time period.

Regards,

Simon Young

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Young

Thank you for your email. It will be treated as a request within the meaning of the Act: this means that we will send you a full response within 20 working days, either supplying you with the information which you want, or explaining to you why we cannot supply it. If we need any further clarification or there is any problem we will be in touch.

In the meantime if you wish to discuss this further please contact me. It would be helpful if you could quote the log number 400843.

Yours sincerely
FOI West Team

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Young

Thank you for your enquiry under the Freedom of Information act 2000.

Cheshire West and Chester Council confirms that it does hold information covered by your request and are able to provide answers to all your questions except Question 3. We believe that we need further time in which to consider whether we can provide you with a response to Question 3.

We consider that the exemption 'Commercial Interest' in section 43 of the Act may apply to the information you have requested as some of it may be commercially sensitive. We now need further time in which to consider the public interest in disclosing the information. We estimate that we will have reached a decision by 30 July and we will write to you then.

In the meantime, the answers to your other questions are:

Cheshire West and Chester Council, and its website, came into existence on the 1st of April 2009. The information and content of the site has been created in different ways - sometimes by transferring the website information from the councils that merged to form the new council and sometimes by creating information relevant to the new council. In many cases the information has been drawn from existing documentation or documentation that would be created as part of the work of the council.

Q1. The setting up of the new website incurred the following costs:

Purchase of the Content Management System: £59,975
Design and consultancy services to deploy the website: £11,950

Q2. The maintenance/development of the website is broken down as follows:

• Content authoring is devolved down to Directorates/Services
• Design and management is provided by the Online Services Team within the Community and Environment Directorate of Cheshire West and Chester Council.
• Support and development is provided by the Cheshire Shared Services Team
• Support and Hosting is provided by Alterian Software

Q3 As Explained, we need more time to consider releasing this information.

Q4. We did not receive any status reports from the chosen contractor during its development.

Q5. The upkeep of the website is done in-house so there are no repeating contracts with third parties.

Q6. The licensing support and hosting costs for the website for 2010/11 is broken down as follows:

• Hosting £9,120
• Support £12,233.70

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request a review by writing to:

Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council
HQ
58 Nicholas Street
Chester
CH1 2NP

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely

M Wallace

Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Young

Further to my email dated 5 July 2010 I am writing to inform you of our decision on releasing the information you requested under Question 3. We sought objections from the companies who supplied contracts/bids to build and deliver the Council website. After considering their responses and applying the public interest test we are minded to release the information to you. We have informed the companies of this intention and they now have 7 further days to seek legal advice. If we receive no further objections or injunctions we will release this information to you on 9 August 2010.

Yours sincerely

M Wallace
Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Young

Further to my email to you dated 3 August 2010, in which I confirmed that we intended to release all the information you requested under the Freedom of Information Act to you on 9 August 2010, I am writing to apologise for our continued delay in doing so. This is because we have received a further objection relating to the release of this information. Whilst we are of the opinion that none of the information provided could be considered commercially sensitive we must now allow the concerned party time to issue and serve an injunction on us to prevent us from disclosing it. We have therefore advised them that, unless we hear back from them, we will release all information to you on Friday 13 August 2010. Once again, I apologise for this delay and would ask you to bear with us a little longer. I will contact you again on Friday 13 August 2010 to update you on the situation.

Yours sincerely,

M Wallace
Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

Miriam

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Miriam,

Thank you for your continued updates on the progress of my request under the Freedom of Information Act. I look forward to hearing from you with further information on Friday 13 August 2010.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Young

WALLACE, Miriam, Cheshire West and Chester Council

5 Atodiad

Dear Mr Young

Further to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and my email to you dated 11 August 2010, I am writing to inform you that I am able to release to you today 4 out of 5 of the documents that you requested under Q3 of your original request. These are responses to tender and they are attached, in full, above. Please note that one is still outstanding as we are still considering objections to the release of this information. I will update you with progress on this as soon as possible and would ask you to continue to bear with us whilst we consider these objections. In the meantime, I hope you find this partial response helpful.

Yours sincerely

M Wallace
Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ms Wallace,

Thank you for your response and for the 4 documents released under Q3 of my original request. As these are responses to tender I assume that the final documents relate to the successful bidder and look forward to the release of this information in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Young

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

9 Atodiad

Dear Mr Young

Further to my email dated 13 August 2010 I can confirm that I am now able to release the final documents you requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

These relate to the fifth response to tender we received and I attach this, and all supporting documents supplied with it, unredacted. I can confirm that these documents do relate to the successful bidder.

Yours sincerely

M Wallace
Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir