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Detailed breakdown of M4 relief road proposals

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Dear Welsh Government,

It has been reported that the proposal process for the recently axed M4 relief road cost around £114 million. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-poli...)

Within this figure is the £44 million for the public inquiry into the feasibility of the M4 relief road.

Please consider this email a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

**MY REQUEST**

As part of this request I would like receive:

1. A detailed breakdown of this £114 million figure. This should include such information as the contractors, consultants, companies, etc, who were employed with this money, what they were employed for, and what the outcome of their employment was (i.e. what did they achieve). This should include any contracting of both private and public services or goods. (For example, both the inclusion of private companies employed as well as money used for the use of public resources.)

2. This detailed breakdown should also include the details of the £44 million for the public inquiry to the same level of detail. This should include any contracting of both private and public services or goods. This should include any contracting of both private and public services or goods. (For example, both the inclusion of private companies employed as well as money used for the use of public resources.)

**POTENTIAL OBJECTIONS TO THE RELEASE OF THIS INFORMATION**

I would turn your attention to a comparable FOI request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

Some aspects of this request were rejected claiming that the information amounted to internal communications that were not subject to public disclosure, and "because publishing the information on a project by project basis would be likely to prejudice the Welsh Government’s commercial position when negotiating future contracts."

The internal communications argument strikes me as an odd one in general. Nonetheless, I do not believe it should apply to this request as it is standard practise in many instances for government to public financial records such as the ones I am requesting. If this objection proves an impediment to this request I will, after requesting an internal review, seek further advice from the ICO.

Regarding the commercial interests argument I would turn your attention to section 33 of the ICO guidance document titled pertaining to Section 43 (S43 henceforth) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

"Furthermore, it is not sufficient for a public authority to simply argue that disclosing details of a contract would prejudice the commercial position of an organisation, should that contract come up for retendering. It must also demonstrate that the contract is likely to be retendered."

As the M4 relief road proposal and the inquiry are one off activities they will not be subject to retendering. Therefore, in line with this aspect of the ICO's advice, they should not be barred from disclosure on commercial interests grounds.

Section 15 of the same document highlights that an authority must show why the release of said information is commercially sensitive. If a S43 exemption is invoked then a full justification must be provided (i.e. how would the release of a detailed breakdown of the costs of of the M4 relief road proposal and inquiry impact the Welsh Government?). Simply stating that this exemption has been invoked is inadequate.

There are many justifiable instances where a S43 exemption can be triggered but I would highlight that as the M4 relief road proposal process and inquiry are now over that the commercial sensitivity argument becomes more difficult to make in this instance.

Finally, to pre-empt the objection that the sensitivity of *some* of the requested information should be used to deny the release of *all* the requested information, I would draw your attention to section 34 of the above linked ICO advice relating to S43 exemptions:

"It is also important for a public authority to consider each clause within a contract, rather than view the contract as a whole. Arguments about the burden this may create are not relevant under section 43."

It is my belief that this would apply to all individual items within the information I am requesting.

Thank you very much for your time and effort.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Warne

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Gweler gohebiaeth ynghylch eich cais am wybodaeth.  Cyfeiriwch unrhyw
atebion at: [1]RhyddidGwyb.EconomiaThrafnidiaeth@llyw.cymru
 
Please find attached correspondence regarding your request for
information.  Please direct any replies to
[2]FOI.EconomyandTransport@gov.wales
 
Cofion/Regards,
 
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth / Department for Economy and Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
Sganiwyd y neges hon am bob feirws hysbys wrth iddi adael Llywodraeth
Cymru. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn cymryd o ddifrif yr angen i ddiogelu eich
data. Os cysylltwch â Llywodraeth Cymru, mae ein [3]hysbysiad preifatrwydd
yn esbonio sut rydym yn defnyddio eich gwybodaeth a sut rydym yn diogelu
eich preifatrwydd. Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn
anfon ateb yn Gymraeg i ohebiaeth a dderbynnir yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd
gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this
email was scanned for all known viruses. The Welsh Government takes the
protection of your data seriously. If you contact the Welsh Government
then our [4]Privacy Notice explains how we use your information and the
ways in which we protect your privacy. We welcome receiving correspondence
in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh
and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:RhyddidGwyb.EconomiaThrafnidiaeth@llyw.cymru
2. mailto:FOI.EconomyandTransport@gov.wales
3. file:///tmp/”https:/gov.wales/about/welsh-government-privacy-notice/?lang=cy”
4. https://gov.wales/about/welsh-government...

Dear Government Business Unit,

Thank you for the response. However, I do not believe that your response includes the level of detail I requested. I refer you again back to the following from my original request where I request,

1. A detailed breakdown of this £114 million figure. This should include such information as the contractors, consultants, companies, etc, who were employed with this money, what they were employed for, and what the outcome of their employment was (i.e. what did they achieve). This should include any contracting of both private and public services or goods. (For example, both the inclusion of private companies employed as well as money used for the use of public resources.)

2. This detailed breakdown should also include the details of the £44 million for the public inquiry to the same level of detail. This should include any contracting of both private and public services or goods. This should include any contracting of both private and public services or goods. (For example, both the inclusion of private companies employed as well as money used for the use of public resources.)

Your response employs very sweeping categories that do not offer much information as to who was paid for what, how much, who contractors/etc. were, etc.

I would be very grateful if you could update your response to provide this information. If you do not deem this possible I would like to flag this request for an internal review, please.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Warne

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    ATISN 13216 Harry Warne M4 relief road project costs internal review acknowledgement.pdf

    312K Download View as HTML

Gweler gohebiaeth ynghylch eich cais am wybodaeth.  Cyfeiriwch unrhyw
atebion at: [1]RhyddidGwyb.EconomiaThrafnidiaeth@llyw.cymru
 
Please find attached correspondence regarding your request for
information.  Please direct any replies to
[2]FOI.EconomyandTransport@gov.wales
 
Cofion/Regards,
 
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth / Department for Economy and Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
Sganiwyd y neges hon am bob feirws hysbys wrth iddi adael Llywodraeth
Cymru. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn cymryd o ddifrif yr angen i ddiogelu eich
data. Os cysylltwch â Llywodraeth Cymru, mae ein [3]hysbysiad preifatrwydd
yn esbonio sut rydym yn defnyddio eich gwybodaeth a sut rydym yn diogelu
eich preifatrwydd. Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn
anfon ateb yn Gymraeg i ohebiaeth a dderbynnir yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd
gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this
email was scanned for all known viruses. The Welsh Government takes the
protection of your data seriously. If you contact the Welsh Government
then our [4]Privacy Notice explains how we use your information and the
ways in which we protect your privacy. We welcome receiving correspondence
in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh
and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:RhyddidGwyb.EconomiaThrafnidiaeth@llyw.cymru
2. mailto:FOI.EconomyandTransport@gov.wales
3. file:///tmp/”https:/gov.wales/about/welsh-government-privacy-notice/?lang=cy”
4. https://gov.wales/about/welsh-government...

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    ATISN 13216 Harry Warne M4 relief road project costs internal review reply.pdf

    424K Download View as HTML

Gweler gohebiaeth ynghylch eich cais am wybodaeth.  Cyfeiriwch unrhyw
atebion at: [1]RhyddidGwyb.EconomiaThrafnidiaeth@llyw.cymru
 
Please find attached correspondence regarding your request for
information.  Please direct any replies to
[2]FOI.EconomyandTransport@gov.wales
 
Cofion/Regards,
 
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth / Department for Economy and Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
Sganiwyd y neges hon am bob feirws hysbys wrth iddi adael Llywodraeth
Cymru. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn cymryd o ddifrif yr angen i ddiogelu eich
data. Os cysylltwch â Llywodraeth Cymru, mae ein [3]hysbysiad preifatrwydd
yn esbonio sut rydym yn defnyddio eich gwybodaeth a sut rydym yn diogelu
eich preifatrwydd. Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn
anfon ateb yn Gymraeg i ohebiaeth a dderbynnir yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd
gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this
email was scanned for all known viruses. The Welsh Government takes the
protection of your data seriously. If you contact the Welsh Government
then our [4]Privacy Notice explains how we use your information and the
ways in which we protect your privacy. We welcome receiving correspondence
in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh
and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:RhyddidGwyb.EconomiaThrafnidiaeth@llyw.cymru
2. mailto:FOI.EconomyandTransport@gov.wales
3. file:///tmp/”https:/gov.wales/about/welsh-government-privacy-notice/?lang=cy”
4. https://gov.wales/about/welsh-government...

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Harry Warne please sign in and let everyone know.