Celebrate Aberdeen Finances and contractors

The request was partially successful.

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

1. Please provide the name of the contractor(s) who provided musical amplification, stage, sound, lighting, performance services for the Celebrate Aberdeen music events for each of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

2. Please for the same years advise how much was paid to each.

3. Please provide for the same years the financial balance sheets showing money paid to run the event, to what organisations were payments made, total cost of each year's event.

4. Please for the same years advise what bands were hired, whether they paid a fee or whether they performed for free.

5. Was a tendering process used for choosing the contractor(s) who provided the services in paragraph one above, and if so please advise how many tenders were received for each of the years and what the bids were. If no bidding process was used, please supply correspondence in which the need to forgo tendering exercise was recorded and agreed.

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

Dear Ms Kelly,

Information enquiry reference FOI-17-0526

Thank you for your recent request for information, which we received on 30 March 2017.

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on or before 28 April 2017.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the meantime.

Yours sincerely,

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North
Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/523602

Tel 03000 200 292

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in your mobile call plan.
Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p per minute (the same as 01224s).

www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Kelly,

 

Thank you for your information request of 30 March 2017.  Aberdeen City
Council (ACC) has completed the necessary search for the information
requested.

 

1. Please provide the name of the contractor(s) who provided musical
amplification, stage, sound, lighting, performance services for the
Celebrate Aberdeen music events for each of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. 

2013 – No musical amplification, stage, sound, lighting

2014 – D Events

2015 – D Events

2016 – D Events

 

2. Please for the same years advise how much was paid to each.

ACC is unable to provide you with information on how much was paid to each
as it is exempt from disclosure.  In order to comply with its obligations
under the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC hereby gives notice that
we are refusing your request under the terms of Section 33(1)(b) –
Commercial Interests - of the FOISA.

 

In making this decision ACC considered the following points:

 

Do commercial interests exist in relation to the information?

Yes, commercial interests exist in the information.  The information
requested is costs in the context of commercial trading activity.  Release
of this information will identify details regarding the pricing structure
of the contractor. Disclosure of this information is likely to weaken the
contractor’s business position in a limited, competitive environment by
revealing sensitive information which competitors may find useful. It is
important that ACC maintains good working relationships with reputable
companies in order to obtain value for money and so releasing commercially
sensitive information could potentially damage ACC’s reputation with such
third parties, dissuading the third parties from engaging with ACC.

 

Whose commercial interests will be damaged by the release of the
information?

The pricing information engages the commercial interests of both the
Council and our supplier.

 

What is the nature of those interests?

All information released under the Freedom of Information Act is
considered information released into the public domain regardless of the
intended recipient. Releasing these details would harm the contractor as
commercially sensitive details will be shared with another commercial
company and/or a potential market competitor. In turn, this information
could be used by other bidders to inform future work and contracts and
potentially compromise the Council’s ability to deliver best value. The
information will also be highly useful to competitors in looking to target
other customers using this pricing information to help them undercut
pricing with them too.

 

Please describe how disclosure of the requested information would cause
the level of harm required for this exemption? In what way will this harm
occur?

If the information is disclosed, the ability of the Council to drive out
value for money in future tender exercises will be substantially
prejudiced (because potential tenderers will price to beat the incumbent’s
pricing and not necessarily with their lowest bid).  Additionally, our
suppliers’ commercial interests will be damaged as competitors will know
their current pricing, so there will not be a level playing field on any
re-tender.  Additionally, if our suppliers’ pricing with the Council is
disclosed, their other customers may learn of it (as the information will
enter the public domain) and they will not be able to maintain their
prices with them if they know the prices agreed with the Council

 

How likely is it that this harm will happen?

Very likely.  The Council’s ability to conduct a re-tender which offers
the optimal outcome in terms of competitive outcome will be irrevocably
impaired and our suppliers’ ability to compete on a level playing field
will also be severely hampered because details of pricing will be in the
public domain and known by competitors.

 

ACC recognises that there is a public interest in being open and
transparent about its spending of public money. However, ACC is of the
view that in this case, the public interest lies in withholding the
information as disclosure would prejudice ACC’s commercial relationships
and future contractual negotiations with third parties.

 

There is a strong public interest in allowing normal market forces to
operate in a competitive environment and engage in a fair and transparent
process. On this basis, ACC is of the view that in all the circumstances
of the case, the public interest is best met by applying Section 33(1)(b)
– Commercial Interests – of the FOISA.

 

3. Please provide for the same years the financial balance sheets showing
money paid to run the event, to what organisations were payments made,
total cost of each year's event.

The total financial contribution by Aberdeen City Council to Celebrate
Aberdeen is as follows:

2013 - No funding

2014 - £19,546.00

2015 - £19,830.05

2016 - £39,588.35

 

Breakdown of Organisations

2013 2014 2015 2016
None D Events D Events D Events
  Aberdeen City Council Aberdeen City Council Aberdeen City Council
  British Red Cross British Red Cross British Red Cross
  Securigroup Specialized Security A – Line Audio Visual
  Nixon Hire Heilan Loos Showsec International
  John Brown Cater Hire John Brown Cater Hire Heilan Loos
      Nixon Hire
      John Brown Cater Hire
      Uppercrust
      NET
      46 Degrees

 

4. Please for the same years advise what bands were hired, whether they
paid a fee or whether they performed for free.

No bands were hired by Aberdeen City Council during this period.

 

5. Was a tendering process used for choosing the contractor(s) who
provided the services in paragraph one above, and if so please advise how
many tenders were received for each of the years and what the bids were.

Tendering for the items listed in question one was through a Public
Contracts Scotland Quick Quote process and the number of respondents was
as follows:

 

2013 – Not Applicable

2014 - 3

2015 - 1

2016 - 2

 

If no bidding process was used, please supply correspondence in which the
need to forgo tendering exercise was recorded and agreed.

Not applicable.

 

We hope this helps with your request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Information Compliance Team

 

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANDLING OF YOUR REQUEST

 

ACC handled your request for information in accordance with the provisions
of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please refer to the
attached PDF for more information about your rights under FOISA.

 

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/523602

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
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Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

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2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Aberdeen City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Celebrate Aberdeen Finances and contractors'.

It is unacceptable that you are not disclosing what is paid to a contractor with public money; this principle has already been decided by the Information Commissioner - revealing the result of past bid exercises is good for future tenderers, good for the public to see how its money is spent, and will be very interesting for the many people in Aberdeen who can run the Aberdeen event to know that the city decides to give its money to a non-local company.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Foi Enquiries,

PS - you reply that 'D Events' has won the contracts for three years in a row: I cannot find a company with that precise name on the Companies House website, and neither can I find a company with that exact name on the internet. Please give the precise name of the company - such as 'D Events Equipment Ltd' or if a sole trader, then the name of the person - your answer is, I consider, incomplete. I will of course be asking for the invoices paid to the contractor, which by longstanding principle I will be allowed to see; am surprised that the council is trying to conceal this information from the public.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Foi Enquiries,

PPS - I was informed by several musicians that the firm hired was Dundee based, but if it is an Aberdeen firm, please do specify. Giving the full, correct name of the company would avoid this confusion.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Foi Enquiries,

My research has led me to discover that many reputable sound equipment hire / stage set up companies in the UK happily provide price lists and details of their costs on their website. In asking for you to reconsider hiding this use of public money, please bear that in mind, as well as the fact the taxpayer has the right to know how their money is spent, transparency, value for money. How can revealing past bid winners do anything except guarantee value for money - the idea of protecting a contractor from revealing their costs is risible - unless you are doing this at the expense of those who want to bid for services too. Three years in a row is a pretty interesting tendering win record for a company when we cannot see the cost breakdowns - the information needs to be publicised (as the Information Commissioner previously agreed when it came to the past tenders won by Stewart Milne). We need to also know if the company has any connections to the council - supplying the precise name of the company and/or sole trader you are giving public money to is crucial, and I am disappointed to have to ask you to be precise in your answer.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

Dear Ms Kelly,

 

Thank you for your request for a review, received on 24 April 2017, to
reconsider the information request FOI-17-0526 – Celebrate Aberdeen on the
basis that information was refused under Section 33(1)(b) – Commercial
Interests.

 

If required, a Review Panel will be convened by Aberdeen City Council
(ACC) to give a fair and impartial decision. The Review Panel will consist
of individuals who have not handled the original request and will consider
the matter afresh.

 

We wish to advise you that ‘D Events’ is the name of the company as per
our records. I have contacted one of our Events officers and they have
advised me that the full name of the company is D Events Equipment Ltd. I
apologise that this was not clear enough for you. Their address is:

 

Kairdson Business Centre

Hospital Road

Ellon

Aberdeenshire

AB41 9AW

 

Though I am further advised that for the last 12 months they have been
based at:

 

Unit 3

Mains of Tertowie

Aberdeen

AB21 0TS

 

The outcome of the Review will be relayed to you on or before 23 May 2017.

 

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries relating to
the review.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Grant Webster

On behalf of Review Panel Clerk

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your request for an internal
review, you can apply directly to the Office of the Scottish Information
Commissioner (OSIC) for a decision. Generally, OSIC cannot make a decision
unless you have been through the ACC’s review procedure. To make an
application to OSIC, please write or email OSIC at:

 

The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner

Kinburn Castle

Doubledykes Road

St Andrews

Fife

KY16 9DS

[1]www.itspublicknowledge.info 

 

An application to OSIC must be made in writing within six months of
receipt of ACC’s Review Decision Notice.  When applying to OSIC for a
decision you should give your name and address for correspondence.  Please
note that OSIC will not be able to investigate if you have not used your
real name to make your information request. You must also specify:

 

● which request for information your requirement for review relates to

● the reason that you asked ACC to carry out a review of your request

● the reason why you are not satisfied with ACC's review outcome decision

 

The Commissioner will contact ACC and invite its comments on your
application.  Thereafter (if no settlement has meantime been reached), the
Commissioner must reach a decision within 4 months of receiving your
application, or within such other period as is reasonable.  You will
receive written notice of the outcome of the Commissioner’s decision.

 

Should you wish to appeal against the Scottish Information Commissioner's
decision, there is an appeal to the Court of Session on a point of law
only. Any such appeal must be made within 42 days after the date of the
decision has been issued.

 

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[2][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/523602

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[3]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/
2. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
3. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

Dear Ms Kelly,

 

With regard to your review request which we received on 24 April 2017,
officers in our Events team have been in contact with D Events Equipment
Ltd in relation to their concerns about the information being released.

 

The Events team have advised me that they would be happy to release
information in relation to 2014 and 2015. I have provided that information
below. However, they remain concerned about releasing information
regarding 2016 for the reasons previously provided to you.

 

2014 - £11,575.41

2015 - £11,413.34

 

Please let us know if you would like us to review our response in relation
to 2016 only? Please note we will keep your request for review on file for
20 working days whilst we await your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

Information Compliance Team
Communications and Promotion
Office of Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]
01224 523827/523602

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Dear Foi Enquiries,

Please do send the information for 2014 and 2015 - I am glad we all agree this is reasonable data to supply.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Foi Enquiries,

thank you - I now see the 2014 and 2015 data.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

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