Open Source Schools Tender

Alan McMaon made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to British Educational Communications and Technology Agency

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 rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide a summary of the reasons why you awarded the open source schools project tender to the company Alpha Plus Consultancy. Please provide the minutes of the tender committed discussions or the records of any other discussions which lead you to conclude that Alpha Plus's bid was superior to those of other tenderers and that Alpha Plus's qualifications to carry out this project surpass those of the other offers you received.

Yours faithfully,

A. McMahon

Kathryn Billings, British Educational Communications and Technology Agency

Dear Alan

Thank you for your request for:

1. a summary of the reasons why [Becta] awarded the open source schools
project tender to the company Alpha Plus Consultancy.

2. minutes of the tender and committed discussions or the records of
any other discussions which lead [Becta] to conclude that Alpha Plus's:

a. bid was superior to those of other tenderers and

b. qualifications to carry out this project surpass those of the other
offers you received.’

Your request is being processed by Becta in line with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

Day 20 as specified by the Act is Monday 21st July although we would hope
to be in touch with you again before that date.

Kind regards, Kathryn

Kathryn Billings
Information Manager
Becta, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry CV4 7JJ Direct dial
02476 797259 Via switchboard 024 7641 6994 extn 3361 Main fax 024
7641 1418

Please note that I work part-time. I am usually in the office at the
following times: Tues 9.30am - 2.45pm, Wed 9.30am - 2.45pm, Thurs 9.30am -
2.45pm, Fri 9.30am - 2.45pm.
This varies over school holiday periods when I only work 14 hours over 2
full days.

-------------------------------------------
From: Alan McMaon[SMTP:[email address]]
Sent: 21 June 2008 16:44:53
To: Freedom of Information
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Open Source Schools Tender
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide a summary of the reasons why you awarded the open
source schools project tender to the company Alpha Plus
Consultancy. Please provide the minutes of the tender committed
discussions or the records of any other discussions which lead you
to conclude that Alpha Plus's bid was superior to those of other
tenderers and that Alpha Plus's qualifications to carry out this
project surpass those of the other offers you received.

Yours faithfully,

A. McMahon

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References

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Charlotte Ball, British Educational Communications and Technology Agency

2 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    Supplier Responses redacted pdfs.zip

    4.0M Download

  • Attachment

    Tender to award redacted pdfs.zip

    1.2M Download

Dear Mr McMaon

You wrote to us on 21 June 2008 to request:

1. a summary of the reasons why [Becta] awarded the open source
schools project tender to the company Alpha Plus Consultancy.

2. minutes of the tender and committed discussions or the records of
any other discussions which lead [Becta] to conclude that Alpha Plus's:

a. bid was superior to those of other tenderers and

b. qualifications to carry out this project surpass those of the other
offers you received.’

Your request has been dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and I am now in a position to respond to
you definitively.

I can confirm that we do hold the information which you have requested. 
The FoI Act does not require us to create documents in order to answer a
request and hence we have enclosed for you here those documents which we
believe contain the information you have requested. There are 48 documents
in all but one of these is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the
FoIA in that it is reasonably accessible to you and can be found at:
[1]http://www.theingots.org/community/node/...

Most of the documents have been redacted slightly but this has only been
done where there was information therein which we consider to be exempt
from disclosure under sections 40(2), 41(2)  or 43(2) of the FoI Act.

Section 40(2) of the Act provides an absolute exemption from the right to
know where the information requested comprises third party personal data.
We have had to consider whether disclosure of that personal data would be
incompatible with the purposes for which it was provided to us and whether
the individuals identified in the documents  understood that their
information would not be disclosed to others and consequently whether
disclosure would constitute unfair processing and be in breach of the
First Data Protection Principle of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Section 41(2) of the Act sets out an absolute exemption from the right to
know where the information requested was provided to the public authority
in confidence by a third party. Clearly the tender documents were provided
to Becta by third party bidders and some of the information was provided
on the clear understanding that it would remain confidential. The types of
information we would consider to fall into this category comprise day
rates, the division between fixed and variable costs, referees, curricula
vitae of individuals who would be on the team were the bidder to be
successful and also any intellectual property which may be contained
within the documents.

We have had to consider a. whether release of any part of the tender
submissions would risk revealing the confidential material provided by the
bidder and b. whether doing so could give rise to an actionable breach of
confidence by that bidder against us. We consider that there could be a
real risk, on both of these counts, were we to release certain elements of
information within the requested documents.

We have also considered Section 43(2) which provides that information may
be withheld if disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of any person, including the public authority holding
it.

In our opinion, parts of some of the documents you have requested fall
within this exemption because those parts contain information which could
be used by competitors. Examples of the types of information we have
considered in this light are listed above in the paragraph on Section 41.
In this particular instance several of the elements of information are
particularly relevant at this point in time, given that the winning bidder
is still in the process of sub-contracting some of the work under this
project. We believe that making public now the financial terms and work
packages will prejudice that winning bidder’s contract negotiations with
third parties.  This could result in reduced Value for Money for Becta.
This a qualified exemption and we have gone on to consider the balance of
public interest in disclosure, namely openness, accountability and
transparency in the dealings of a public authority and the spending of
public funds, as well as demonstrating commitment to fair and open
competition and seeking best value for the public purse.

After careful consideration, we have concluded that certain information
must be redacted in order to avoid prejudice to the commercial interests
of Becta and of those who entrusted their commercially sensitive
information to us. We believe that our future negotiating position with
the bidders could be weakened. In addition, we believe that disclosure of
the redacted sections would create a risk to each of the bidder’s
commercial interests as knowledge of the terms of their dealings with us
may put them at a disadvantage in the future. We are aware that several of
the bidders are currently involved in bidding for other government
contracts and disclosure of the redacted information could weaken their
position in a competitive environment. Accordingly, we believe that these
considerations outweigh the arguments in favour of disclosure and that the
public interest is best served by withholding the redacted sections.

I hope that you can understand our reasoning in all this and can accept
that we have given serious consideration to your request. We believe we
have now gone as far as we feel able in providing you with a response to
your request.

I am happy to discuss this with you, but if you are not satisfied with the
handling of your request, you may seek an internal review.

You may do this by writing to;
Executive Director Partnerships, Commissioning, Marketing and
Communications
Becta, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ.
Email: [2]mailto:[email address]>

A panel consisting of two Directors, not involved with consideration of
the initial request, will then undertake an internal review of the
decision overseen by a member of Becta's Board. You will be informed of
the outcome of the review in due course. Becta aims to complete such a
review within one month of receipt of your complaint.

In the event that you remain dissatisfied after the internal review, you
may make a complaint to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of
the Freedom of Information Act. His address is;

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK5 9AF

Kind regards,

Charlotte Ball

Information Manager

-------------------------------------------
From: Alan McMaon[SMTP:[email address]]
Sent: 21 June 2008 16:44:53
To: Freedom of Information
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Open Source Schools Tender
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide a summary of the reasons why you awarded the open
source schools project tender to the company Alpha Plus
Consultancy. Please provide the minutes of the tender committed
discussions or the records of any other discussions which lead you
to conclude that Alpha Plus's bid was superior to those of other
tenderers and that Alpha Plus's qualifications to carry out this
project surpass those of the other offers you received.

Yours faithfully,

A. McMahon

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[3]http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/about...

Is [Becta request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to British Educational Communications and Technology
Agency? If so please let us know by emailing
[WhatDoTheyKnow contact email] - we'll make sure future ones go to the
right place.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
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2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/about...