Advice to BDUK on the drafting of the framework broadband procurement PQQ

Ian Grant made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The request was successful.

From: Ian Grant

1 July 2011

Dear Department for Culture, Media and Sport,

Please may I have a list of

1. All sources of advice and guidance on the drafting of the above
PQQ document, in particular

i. the clauses referring to the financial qualifications and
capacity/expertise thresholds required by bidders

ii. the decision to work mainly through county councils and
regional funding authorities for the actual procurement of
broadband infrastructure and related services

iii. the formation of consortia by bidders that do not meet the
qualification thresholds immediately

iv. the deadline imposed for the formation of the said consortia

2. The nature of the advice from the said source

3. Whether any money was paid for the advice

4. In each case where money was paid, how much was paid

Yours faithfully,
Ian Grant

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chris doyle left an annotation ( 1 July 2011)

Quote-marks Also, who decided that 'superfast' would be adequate instead of Next Generation Access, ie why we are stuck with 'up to' copper lines when the world moves on to gigabit fibres?

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From: CANNON RYAN
Department for Culture, Media and Sport

29 July 2011

Dear Mr Grant

Thank you for your request of 1 July for information under the Freedom of
Information Act. You asked:

"Please may I have a list of:

1. All sources of advice and guidance on the drafting of the above
PQQ document, in particular:

i. the clauses referring to the financial qualifications and
capacity/expertise thresholds required by bidders

ii. the decision to work mainly through county councils and regional
funding authorities for the actual procurement of broadband infrastructure
and related services

iii. the formation of consortia by bidders that do not meet the
qualification thresholds immediately

iv. the deadline imposed for the formation of the said consortia

2. The nature of the advice from the said source.

3. Whether any money was paid for the advice.

4. In each case where money was paid, how much was paid."

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I can confirm that BDUK referred to the following guidance in the drafting
of the PQQ document:

. The Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group's Procurement
Policy Action Note - Mandated use of core pre-qualification questions in
Central Government, available at:
[1]http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/PPN_PQQ_...

. The Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group's
Pre-Qualification Questionnaire Core Questions, available at:
[2]http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/Core_pqq...

. The Office of Government Commerce Supplier Financial Appraisal
Guidance, available at:
[3]http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/commodit...

BDUK also took account of:

. The financial evaluation approach used by our pilot projects in
the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire for their broadband projects.

. Advice from the European Competition (DG Competition) on the
need to ensure that as many capable suppliers as possible are able to bid
for inclusion within the framework, subject to a maximum of 12 suppliers
being selected to be taken through the dialogue process.

. Advice from consultants KPMG and The Bit Commons on supplier
capability required to undertake work to improve broadband in projects
serving more than at least 60,000 premises.

. Advice from legal advisors Pinsent Masons.

. Feedback from local authorities on the draft PQQ.

The decision to work mainly through county councils and the devolved
administrations for the procurement of broadband infrastructure and
related services was a policy decision, in line with the Government's
approach to localism. In addition, BDUK is also working with local
community projects in the pilot area of Cumbria, and has committed to
provide support for community projects through joint funding with Defra
via the Rural Development Programme for England.

On the treatment of consortia, BDUK referred to the approach set out in
the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group's Pre-Qualification
Questionnaire Core Questions document, and took account of financial and
legal advice from consultants KPMG and legal advisors Pinsent Masons. No
deadline is set for the formation of consortia. The process for consortia
which are not yet formed is set out in the PQQ.

The advice from KPMG and Bit Commons was provided as part of their
consultancy services to BDUK, whilst the advice from Pinsent Masons was
provided as part of their legal advisory services to BDUK.

Information on expenditure for advisors by BDUK is exempt under Section
22 of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 22 (intended for future
publication) provides an exemption against release where the information
will be made available to the public in the near future. For section 22
of the Act to apply, there is a requirement to conduct a public interest
test to determine where the balance of public interest lies for the
release of the information.

We consider that it is important to ensure publication of material takes
place in accordance with certain procedures to ensure accuracy and
consistency, and because the information is due for publication
imminently, the timescale is reasonable and within the public interest of
openness and transparency. In this instance, the information requested
will be published on the DCMS transparency website at:
[4]http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/c...
within the next two months. Therefore the Department considers the balance
of public interest to fall on the side of withholding the information, as
the information will be published in the near future.

If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact
me.

Yours sincerely

Ryan Cannon

Freedom of Information Team

Ministerial Support Team

Tel: 0207 211 6168

Complaints and comments

As is customary in our replies, I would like to explain that if you are
dissatisfied with any aspect of our response to your request for
information and/or wish to appeal against information being withheld from
you please send full details within two calendar months of the date of
this letter to:

FOI Team

Department for Culture Media and Sport

2-4 Cockspur Street, London,

SW1Y 5DH

You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to
investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is
likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted
before beginning his investigation.

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From: Ian Grant

30 July 2011

Dear Mr Cannon

Thank you for your reply. I look forward to the publication of
details of payments to the firms within the next two months, as
promised.

You say that KPMG and The Bit Commons conducted a review of
supplier capability. How many suppliers did they review, and what
were their names?

Yours sincerely,

Ian Grant

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From: CANNON RYAN
Department for Culture, Media and Sport

30 August 2011

Dear Mr Grant

Thank you for your follow-up Freedom of Information request of 1 August.
You asked:

"You say that KPMG and The Bit Commons conducted a review of supplier
capability. How many suppliers did they review, and what were their
names".

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The advice provided by KPMG and The Bit Commons regarding supplier
capability was advice on the capability that would be required for any
supplier in general, and not an assessment of specific suppliers. The
financial threshold chosen for the PQQ was benchmarked against an analysis
of suppliers' financial information gleaned from their publicly available
accounts, and the list of suppliers chosen in this instance were those who
attended the BDUK Framework Industry Day following the advertised Prior
Information Notice:
[1]http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publica...

Yours sincerely

Ryan Cannon

Freedom of Information Team

Ministerial Support Team

Tel: 0207 211 6168

Complaints Procedure

If you are unhappy with the way DCMS has handled your request you are
entitled to ask for an internal review of its handling within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. If you wish to make a complaint you
should contact:

FOI Complaints

Ministerial Support Team

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

2-4 Cockspur Street

London, SW1Y 5DH

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, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.

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From: Ian Grant

30 August 2011

Dear Mr Cannon,

Thank you for your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Grant

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From: Ian Grant

3 January 2012

Dear Mr CANNON,

I refer to your letter of 29 July 2011, in which you stated, "the
Department considers the balance of public interest to fall on the
side of withholding the information, as the information will be
published in the near future".

You also referred me to the DCMS web site where I could expect to
find the information requested.

I have once again searched the site to which you referred without
finding the requested information. I consider five months to exceed
"the near future".

Please provide me with the information I asked for, or a link to
the website where I might find it.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Grant

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Bill Lewis left an annotation ( 9 January 2012)

Quote-marks a lot of people are interested in the information you requested here Ian and it seems they are less than speedy in responding..

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Peter Shearman left an annotation ( 6 March 2013)

Quote-marks This is available for the 2011-12 financial year here: http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/2...

From this you can get:

- Analysys Mason: £67,920.00
- Local Partnerships: £543,265.17
- KPMG LLP: 2,147,964.72
- Pinsent Masons: 710,941.82
- The Bit Commons: 50,239.00

Making a grand total of £3,520,330.71 for the year.

Based on this I assume that the costs for 2012-13 will be available in June 2013.

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