Consultancy Contracts

Aaron Law made this Freedom of Information request to Tameside College

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Tameside College.

Dear Tameside College,

I am aware that the college uses Tenet Education Services to outsource it's current procurement. I wish to enquire as to the details of this contract. Namely;

- The annual value of the contract
- The term of this contract
- When the College expects to tender this contract
- Where such an advertisement of this contract opportunity will be expected to appear
- Any information you may be able to share about the scope of this contract

Yours faithfully,

Aaron Law

Nils Elgar, Tameside College

Dear Mr Law,

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated 25 June
2020.

 

College Response

 

I can confirm that the College holds some of the information that you
request.

 

1) Annual contract value: Withheld – Section 43(2)

2) Contract term: 3 years

3) When the College expects to tender this contract.  The next review date
is February 2023

4) Tendering/Advertisement:   We do not hold this information at the
current time

5) Any information you may be able to share about the scope of the
contract:  The contract is to supply procurements services.

 

Under FOIA, the College has two duties to individuals requesting
information:  firstly to confirm whether or not it holds the information
requested and secondly to provide a copy of that information.  The College
must comply with both of these duties, unless one of the exemptions
contained within FOIA applies.

 

The College considers that an exemption under FOIA applies to your request
in relation to the annual contract value.  We have set out the relevant
exemption the College is relying upon below

 

Section 43(2) – Prejudice to commercial interests

 

Information about the procurement of goods and services by a public
authority is usually considered to be commercially sensitive. This can
include information provided during a tendering process and also details
of a contract or transaction with a third party. It can be the case that
disclosing information about a public authority’s financial transaction
with one third party would prejudice its commercial interests in
subsequent negotiations with another third party. In considering how
likely it is that commercial interests of the public authority might be
prejudiced in such circumstances, both the nature of the information and
the degree of similarity between the transactions should be taken into
account. Further the public authority must demonstrate that the contract
is likely to be retendered.

 

The word ‘prejudice’ is commonly understood to mean harm. To say that
disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the interests specified
in the exemption implies that it would (or would likely) to harm the
interests.  A commercial interest relates to the ability to participate
competitively in a commercial activity.

 

I did ask the supplier of the current contract to ascertain their views on
the disclosure.  The contractor has stated that it does not wish the
information to be released on grounds that it is commercially sensitive. 
I have considered the contractor’s view and accept that disclosure should
not be made.  The contractor must be able to negotiate contracts with
others without hindrance or prejudice because of information being in the
public domain regarding contractor price information with other clients. 
I also conclude that the College must be able to negotiate in any future
tendering/procurement process without knowledge of a previous contract
price being in the public domain. 

 

Section 43 is a qualified exemption.  This means that a public authority
has to consider the public interest if the exemption is engaged.  It has
to decide whether the balance of the public interest in maintaining the
exemption outweighs that of disclosing the information. Although there is
a strong public interest in openness, this does not necessarily override
all other arguments.  Arguments in favour of maintaining the exemption
relate to the public authority’s ability to negotiate or compete in a
commercial environment.  The prejudicing of commercial interests of one
player in the market could distort competition in that market, which in
itself would not be in the public interest.   It is my view that the
public and more specifically the College’s customers are better served by
non-disclosure.

 

If you would like a review of our response, please write to the address
below, enclosing a copy of your original request and explaining your
complaint:

 

Principal

Tameside College

Beaufort Road

Ashton-under-Lyne

Greater Manchester

OL6 6NX

 

E-mail:  [Tameside College request email]

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the above, you may then
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a review of our
response.  Generally, the Information Commissioner will only carry out a
review once you have exhausted the internal Tameside College review and /
or complaints procedure.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted
at:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Nils Elgar

 

Clerk to the Corporation

Tameside College

Beaufort Road

Ashton-under-Lyne

OL6 6NX

 

Tel. (0161) 909-5767

Email. [1][email address]

 

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