Date as email
Dear Paul ThorntonFOI-19-3379
Thank you for your information request of 06 September 2019. Your request has been
considered under the Freedom of Information (FOI) 2000 Act (“the Act”).
In your email you requested the fol owing information:
The redacted HS2 report is linked off his statement at this link
Under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations,
please urgently provide the full unredacted version of the HS2 Chairman’s
Under the Act you have the right to:
• know whether we hold the information you requested
• be provided with that information (subject to any exemptions under the Act which
I can confirm that HS2 Ltd holds the information that you have requested.
We are refusing to release the redacted parts of that report under Section 43(2) (Commercial
), of the ActSection 43(2) - Commercial interests
Section 43(2) exempts information whose disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice
the commercial interests of any person (an individual, a company, the public authority itself or
any other legal entity). The legislation is available via the fol owing link:
Under the Act, Section 43 is subject to a Public Interest Test which means that we need to
consider whether “in al circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the
exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information”. We have weighed up
the benefits to the public of releasing the information against the factors for not releasing it.
HS2 Ltd considers the redacted information to be commercial y confidential and furthermore
that the release of this information would cause harm to our commercial interests. We also
consider that disclosure of detailed information would prejudice our commercial interests in
respect of our ability to negotiate future contracts for similar work.Public interest in disclosure
There is a general public interest in the disclosure of information to ensure transparency and
visibility of public bodies being held to account regarding decisions made and use of fundsPublic interest in maintaining the exception
The information relates to legitimate economic interests;
• some of the information is relevant to live procurements (which, if published, could
jeopardise the fair and equal competition between bidders);
• some of the information is relevant to future negotiations that wil likely be conducted
in 2020 with the South Construction Partners (which, if published, could jeopardise the
outcomes of such negotiations);
• other information is relevant to upcoming procurements (which, if published, could
jeopardise the fair and equal competition between bidders).
Release of this information would damage HS2 Ltd’s commercial bargaining position for both
current and future procurements and contracts.
There is a public interest in HS2 Ltd being able to maintain the trust and confidence with
tenderers in order to negotiate for favourable contracts and rates in future. Releasing this
information may damage the trust such companies place in HS2 Ltd as a client and may
discourage them from tendering in future.
We further consider that the information sought would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of the potential providers if identified from the response in respect of
their ability to participate effectively within an open market.Balance Test
While we acknowledge the public interest in being open and transparent, placing the
information in the public domain at this time would undermine HS2 Ltd’s commercial position
by weakening its ability to negotiate effectively.
The information relates to legitimate economic interests and releasing the information would
undermine HS2 Ltd’s commercial bargaining position in both current and future negotiations
and adversely affect the finances for the HS2 Project and thus the public purse. It is in the
public interest to protect HS2 Ltd’s ability to secure the best value outcome for the taxpayer.
Therefore in this instance, at this time, the information has been withheld.
Right to Review
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request or with the decisions made in
relation to your request, you may complain in writing to HS2 Ltd at the address below. Please
also see attached details of HS2 Ltd’s complaints procedure and your right to complain to the
Please remember to quote reference number FOI-19-3379
in any future communication
relating to this request.
Briefings, Correspondence and FOI Adviser
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited
Your right to complain to HS2 Ltd and the Information Commissioner
You have the right to complain to HS2 Ltd within two calendar months of the date of this
letter about the way in which your request for information was handled and/or about the
decision not to disclose al or part of the information requested.
Your complaint wil be acknowledged and you wil be advised of a target date by which to
expect a response. Initial y your complaint wil be re-considered by the official who dealt with
your request for information. If, after careful consideration, that official decides that his/her
decision was correct, your complaint wil automatically be referred to a senior independent
official who wil conduct a further review. You wil be advised of the outcome of your
complaint and if a decision is taken to disclose information original y withheld this wil be
done as soon as possible.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office