Dear Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust,

Please could you send me the following costs for Interpreting and Translation Services as used by your trust:

Face to Face Interpreting (cost per hour - present supplier)
Face to Face Interpreting (total spend 2014-15)
Translation Costs (per 100 words - present supplier)
Translation Costs (total spend 2014-15)

In addition please could you send me a copy of the successful suppliers tender document.

I believe under the terms of the FOI Act 2000 I should receive this
information within 20 working days from today's date. I am happy to
receive the information by email.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Johnson

FOI (SOUTHPORT AND ORMSKIRK HOSPITAL NHS TRUST), Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Thank you for your email received by the Freedom of Information team at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

We are now processing your request for information and will respond to you in full as soon as possible.

Under the Freedom of Information Act the Trust has 20 working days in which to respond to your request. If for any reason it becomes apparent that there could be a delay in responding to you, we will advise you accordingly.

If you have any queries then please contact me by return e-mail to [Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust request email] or by telephone to 01704 704868

Many Thanks

Jane Coupe
Information Assistant
01704704868

show quoted sections

FOI (SOUTHPORT AND ORMSKIRK HOSPITAL NHS TRUST), Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Dear Mr Johnson,

 

Re: FOI_1516_275

 

Please find below a response to your request for information submitted
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to Southport and Ormskirk
Hospital NHS Trust (SOHT), which for clarity I have included below.

 

Request:

 1. Face to Face Interpreting (cost per hour - present supplier)
 2. Face to Face Interpreting (total spend 2014-15)
 3. Translation Costs (per 100 words - present supplier)
 4. Translation Costs (total spend 2014-15)

 

In addition please could you send me a copy of the successful suppliers
tender document.

 

Response:

The total spend on interpretation and translation services is a combined
total. This is not recorded for each service type. The total spend for
2014/15 was approximately £87,000.

 

The individual costs (per hour and per word) are exempt from disclosure
under section 43 – commercial Interests – of the Freedom of Information
Act

 

Section 43. Commercial Interests

Section 43 sets out an exemption from the right to know if:

The release of the information is likely to prejudice the commercial
Interests of any person. (A person may be an individual, a company, the
public authority itself or any other legal entity.)

 

Information can only be withheld under this exemption if the public
authority is satisfied that to release the information would damage
someone’s commercial Interests. A commercial interest relates to a
person’s ability to participate competitively in a commercial activity.
Section 43 is subject to the public interest test.

 

The Trust has based its decision to withhold the information on the
following factors;

 

Commercial Interests of suppliers

o The disclosure of specific pricing information would prejudice the
suppliers’ commercial interests relative to competitors. This is
because the current suppliers’ information would be available but
reciprocal information from other competitors is not. The consequence
is that the current suppliers could face unfair price competition in
future tender exercises.
o Pricing structures are developed over time with experience, expertise,
innovation and compromise. The disclosure would allow firms to mirror
the offering without the equal development costs therefore providing a
commercial disadvantage to the current suppliers.

 

Commercial Interests of the Trust

o If current supplier pricing was disclosed, this would be likely to
level out the pricing of service offers and in cases bring down the
quality of service in order to reduce the price. This would adversely
impact the Trust’s ability to obtain the best value service.
o The current suppliers also provide interpretation and translations
services to organisations who are not subject to the provisions of
FOI. As outlined above, disclosing their pricing information would be
likely to put them at a disadvantage when competing with an
organisation who exclusively bid with private (not subject to FOI)
firms. This could deter interpretation service providers from bidding
with the NHS. A reduction in the number of bidders is likely to reduce
the competiveness of the process and adversely impact on the Trust’s
commercial interests.

 

Other Considerations

o Time sensitivity – it is acknowledged that the commercial sensitivity
of information diminishes over time. The information requested is from
the most current full financial year therefore attracts a larger
commercial sensitivity.
o Fairness of the tender process – the Trust recognises that there would
be a greater public interest in the disclosure of pricing structures
if the tender process was unfair. There is no reason to believe the
process was not undertaken in an open and fair manner. After the
contract was awarded there is an appeals process. No appeal to the
awarding of the contract was made. As a result, there is insufficient
reasoning that the public interest in favour of disclosure outweighs
that in favour of non-disclosure.
o The Trust has liaised with the suppliers and their opinions have been
considered in this response.

 

 

The successful tender document is also exempt from disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act; under section 43 and section 41 – Information
provided in confidence.

 

Commercial Interests of the Trust

o The tender submission documentation is a key deferential between
bidders; this may include the way information is presented and the
content. The Trust uses these to evaluate the commercial merit of
competing bidders to arrive at the most advantageous offer. Therefore,
if the documentation was publically disclosed, potential bidders would
be able to analyse successful documents. This would be likely to
result in numerous future bids being similar in the way information is
presented and what is being offered. This would harm the
competitiveness of the tendering process and the Trust’s ability to
achieve best value. This would adversely impact on the Trust’s
commercial interests.
o Bidders for the interpretation services are likely to also bid with
firms who are not subject to the provisions of FOI. By disclosing
their tender documentation, this may put them at a disadvantage when
competing with an organisation who exclusively bid with private (not
subject to FOI) firms as there is then an imbalance of information
about competitors. This could deter interpretation service providers
from bidding with the NHS. A reduction in the number of bidders is
likely to reduce the competiveness of the process and adversely impact
on the Trust’s commercial interests.

 

Commercial Interests of Bidders

o The disclosure of documents relating to this tender would prejudice
the bidder’s commercial interests relative to competitors who did not
bid in this instance. This is because in this case a bidder’s
information, including the manner and content of a tender submission,
would be available but reciprocal information about how tenders are
completed by competitors who did not bid on this tender would remain
confidential.
o Tender submissions are developed and improved over time with
experience, investments in training and marketing, individual
expertise, innovation, compromise and intellectual property. They
contain unique selling points and trade secrets of the submitting
party which are crucial to their ongoing business prospects. The
disclosure would allow firms to mirror the offering without the equal
development costs therefore providing a commercial disadvantage to the
bidders of this tender.

 

Other Considerations

o Time sensitivity – it is acknowledged that the commercial sensitivity
of information diminishes over time; the rate of which is dependent
upon a number of factors including the dynamic state of the industry,
any substantial technological advances and the competitiveness of the
market. The interpretation services market is relatively static; there
are not any new technologies or market changing advances. As a result
the substance of the tender submissions is likely to remain
commercially sensitive at the present time.
o An organisation’s bid for the interpretation service at the Trust is
likely to be similar to those made at other NHS organisations. These
other contracts will include more recent submissions therefore the
time from the Trust’s contract initiation must be considered alongside
more recently awarded contracts of a similar nature.
o Fairness of the tender process – the Trust recognises that there would
be a greater public interest in the disclosure of tender documents if
the initial process was unfair. There is no reason to believe the
process was not undertaken in an open and fair manner. After the
contract was awarded there is an appeals process. No appeal to the
awarding of the contract was made. As a result, there is insufficient
reasoning that the public interest in favour of disclosure outweighs
that in favour of non-disclosure.
o The First-tier tribunal for FOI appeals recently ruled in a similar
case for tender submissions. This supported non-disclosure of
information under section 43. You can access this ruling from the
following link –

[1]http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

o The Trust contacted the organisations who submitted a PQQ and / or ITT
for their consideration for disclosure. The consensus was that section
43 of the FOIA is engaged and justified reasoning was provided.

 

Section 41 – Information Provided in Confidence

Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act states

41.—(1) Information is exempt information if —

(a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person
(including another public authority), and,

(b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than under
this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of
confidence

 

When determining whether the exemption applies the Trust considers:

o Whether the information has the quality of confidence
o Whether it was imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of
confidence, and
o Whether disclosure would be an unauthorised use of the information to
the detriment of the confider.

 

Whether the information has the quality of confidence:

Guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office states that
information will possess the quality of confidence if:

o It is more than trivial; and
o Not otherwise accessible.

 

The information is not otherwise available to the requestor. It concerns
the commercial information of the bidding organisations therefore would be
more than trivial to them. This is supported by responses received from
the organisations in consultation of this request.

Whether it was imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of
confidence:

Tender processes are undertaken in order to obtain the best value for
money by requesting interested parties to make a submission of what they
can offer. If this process was not confidential, it would defeat the
object of the tender. As reasoned above, the information is commercially
sensitive therefore an assumption of confidence is reasonably implied

 

Whether disclosure would be an unauthorised use of the information to the
detriment of the confider:

As reasoned above, there is clear detriment to the confider (the bidding
organisations) if the information was disclosed.

 

The Trust is satisfied that the information engages section 41 of the FOIA
as the information was provided in confidence and the confider would have
an actionable breach of confidence should it be disclosed. Consultation
with bidders in relation to the request supports this view.

 

 

 

 

 

We hope that you will find the information provided both informative and
helpful.  We also hope that you will be satisfied with the manner in which
we have dealt with your Freedom of Information request.  If not, please do
let me know or you may ask for a formal review under the FOI internal
review procedure at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust. If you
would like a formal review please write to:

 

Mr J Parry

Chief Executive

Southport and Formby DGH

Town Lane

Kew
Southport
PR8-6PN

Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date
of receipt of this response. 

 

If you remain dissatisfied after the internal review, you may make an
approach to the Information Commissioner.

 
Further Information about your rights is available from the Information
Commissioner at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane,

Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF,

Telephone: 01625 545 700 [2]www.ico.gov.uk

 

 

If there is anything you need clarification on, please do not
hesitate to contact me [3][email address]  or 01704 704868,
quoting your FOI reference number.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

 

Ian Garratt

01704 70 (4868)

Information Governance Manager

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Southport District General Hospital | Town Lane | Southport | PR8 6PN

[4][email address]

 

show quoted sections

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org