Dear Ministry of Defence,

I would like to request the following information under Freedom of Information legislation:

Could you please provide a list of all purchases (assets, services, rental etc) from Cohort Plc for the financial year 2011/12?

If this request exceeds the amount of hours allowable, please prioritise by it's subsidiaries in this order:

1.Mass
2.Sea
3.SCS

Yours faithfully,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

 

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached response to your Freedom of Information Request of 7
October 2012 on the subject of Ministry of Defence purchases from Cohort
Plc.

 

Kind regards,

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your response dated 25/10/12. In it you stated that 'all MOD Departmental expenditure data is released on a monthly basis' at the link you provided.

I have reviewed the financial information for the year requested and have concluded that this is innaccurate. Within the full year there were only two transactions mentioned which come into the category of what I have requested. These were both listed as being
to Mass Consultancy Ltd in September '11. The first for £77,826.47, and the second for £65,644.

I am obviously aware that the total spending to Cohort Plc is drastically larger:
http://www.cohortplc.com/media/pdf/Cohor...

You also specified that the entries in the released information 'give a description of what the payment was for.'.
An example of the description for both the above entries is:
'Equipment support non-project costs'.

This is a generic term which means something only to the person(s) who wrote it. I am dissatisfied with the complete lack of specificity and I think this is innappropriate for a public document which is meant to be demonstrating accountability and value for money.

I would ask that you do some research on the above and reconsider your response (and your monthly purchase releases).

In the immediacy you could provide specifics for the two transactions that were listed.

You will know that your spreadsheets have Transaction Numbers which make it easy to find copies of what was actually bought.

I appreciate that there are a lot of different constraints on the various departments at MOD. But I would encourage you to afford time for reflection and provide responses befitting and appropriate
for such requests in future.

Thanks again.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Donnie Mackenzie left an annotation ()

Updated link to Cohort Annual Report

http://www.cohortplc.com/media/pdf/Cohor...

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your response on Cohort PLC in separate request (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mo... which was sent on 30th October and recieved 6th November. In it you restate:

-------
QUOTE
As my previous response to you states, under the Government’s Transparency Agenda all Departmental expenditure data is published on a monthly basis
at [1]http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutD...
With reference to the Cohort data, the expenditure details are complete but the transactions are likely to be listed under the names of its subsidiaries. For example, in May 2011 there are four payments listed for
Systems Engineering and Assessment Ltd (SEA) and eight for Systems Consultants Services Ltd (SCS).
------

I have now taken a short while to check the information you provided, collate the raw info and upload here:

https://public.sheet.zoho.com/public/rad...

If my calculations and your entries are accurate, then the key figures for purchases to Cohort in 2011-12 are:

MASS-£143,470
SEA-£6,301,234
SCS-£1,392,309

COHORT TOTAL-£7,837,013

If however you look at page 24 of the Cohort Plc annual report referenced in the annotation above, it states:

'The Group’s single most important customer is the UK MOD. £30.7m of revenue came directly from this source in 2012 (2011: £27.7m), 41% (2011: 42%) of Group revenue. In addition £22.6m (2011: £16.5m) of Group revenue, 30% (2011: 25%) was sourced ultimately from the UK MOD but received via other contractors.'

Further to this on Page 46 it provides the following breakdown under 'Major Customers':

MASS-£9,966,000
SEA-£11,606,000
SCS-£9,167,000

COHORT TOTAL-£30,739,000

With a total of more than 4 times what was recorded on your csv sheets which I downloaded previously, I hope my response makes more sense to you.

I would like to now ask that reconsider what you wrote and provide full explanation.

May I request that you keep replies to specific FOI requests separate for the purposes of simplicity in future.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES SEC-Par (Boardman, Pauline), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached response to your FOI request of 15^th November
relating to published Government expenditure with Cohort Plc.

 

Kind regards,

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

 

Dear DES SEC-Par (Boardman, Pauline),

Thank you for your response recieved on 28/11/12. In your response you stated:

QUOTE
----------
.......there is a blanket exemption on the publication
of details relating to ‘warlike stores’. We have reviewed the Cohort data and established that this
exemption applies to many of the company’s transactions. Taking the warlike stores and other
FOIA exemptions into account, as well as limiting the published data to that which is within scope
of the Transparency Agenda, explains the difference in figures.
----------

Referring back to my original request, I would like you to prioritize the information firstly in that order. Within that information, I would like you to prioritize the information on 'warlike stores'.

The reason I am contesting the exemption on warlike stores is because I believe that such technology is already being used unregulated within operations in the UK and probably outwith also.

I believe that the use of such technology as Electronic Warfare or Directed Energy for electronic attack on humans is in breach of multiple laws which cover illegal activity at a national and international level. With this in mind the public interest argument for the disclosure of such information strongly outweights any need for exemption.

I would appreciate a response within the duration of 10 working days.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached acknowledgement to your email of 20^th November.

 

Many thanks,

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

Your Ref:
29-11-2012-144822-004

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

The last response I sent should be classed as a clarification of what I asked for in the original request on 7th October 2012. So the target response time should be 10 working days.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your email of 30 November relating to your request for information on Ministry of Defence (MOD) purchases from Cohort Plc.

It is MOD policy to close requests for information once an answer has been provided. In accordance with this, your original case was closed on 25 October when we provided a response. Your subsequent request relating to Cohort, which was submitted on 15 November, was also then closed when we responded on 28 November. Your latest request, received on 29 November, is being dealt with as a new request with a response date of 31 December 2012.

I am sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

DE&S Secretariat

show quoted sections

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

In your correspondence of 29 November 2012 you expressed dissatisfaction
with a response given to you by the MOD to your request under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (Our reference: 29-11-2012-144822-004). Any
statement of dissatisfaction concerning a request under the Act should be
considered as a request for an internal review. As such, I have logged
this as an internal review and withdrawn the new request which was
submitted by DE&S on 29 ^ November 2012.

 

The Department's target for completing internal reviews is 20 working days
and we therefore aim to complete the review and respond to you by 31
December 2012. While we are working hard to achieve this, in the interests
of providing you with a realistic indication of when you should expect a
response, I should advise that the majority are currently taking between
20 and 40 working days to complete.

 

The review will involve a full, independent reconsideration of the
handling of the case as well as the final decision.

 

Yours sincerely,

FOI Internal Review Team

 

 

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Please see attached response to your email of 29th November relating to
MOD purchases from Cohort Plc.

Kind regards,

DE&S Secretariat

Donnie Mackenzie left an annotation ()

COPY OF CORRESPONDANCE FROM MOD WHICH WAS POSTED IN SEPARATE LINK BUT PERTAINS TO THIS FOLLOWS (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mo....

-------------
From: CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER)
Ministry of Defence

21 December 2012

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Following further consultation, it is the Department’s view that your Freedom of Information request (reference: 08-10-2012-130645-007) would be
best served by continuing to treat it at the initial response stage. This is due to the fact that the Department was not refusing to release information under the Act. The reference to an exemption for ‘warlike stores’ was an explanation as to why some information is not published online under the Transparency Agenda and therefore why the Cohort Annual
Report figures differed from those published by the Department. The information you had requested was not being withheld under the Freedom of Information Act. As such, your clarification has been re-logged as a fresh request and the Department will attempt to get a substantive response to you as soon as possible. Despite being logged as a new request the statutory twenty working days proscribed under the Act still commences from the original date of clarification (29 November 2012). You will, of course, be able to request an internal review if you are not content with
this further response.

I hope that this helps to clarify the Department’s position regarding your request.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Internal Review Team

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your responses from your Defence Equipment & Support Secretariat and the Internal Review Team. I have pasted the Review team response above because they sent it to a different, similar request.

I take the response from the Internal Review team to be the authoritative one which indicates that the communications on 7th October and 29th November are to be treated as separate requests.

Thank you for providing part of the information requested which you have categorised as being part of the later correspondence (warlike goods). I await further communication and would like to request that where you categorise any information as being exempt from disclosure, you provide indication of the type of information withheld (eg. hardware/software/services etc) and the total spending on it.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached response to your FOI request regarding MOD purchases
from Cohort Plc.

 

Kind regards,

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

 

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for the response. In your letter you advise that in the first instance, solutions should be sought with you before moving to internal review.

I am looking for clarification on a few things. You mention that the redacted information is removed because it could allow innappropriate access. I'm not sure how the name of a contract would constitute information which would enable such activity; unless it included network addresses/usercodes or passwords? Please elucidate me on this.

Can you tell me whether this list is one which was assimilated for the purposes of this request or whether it already existed?

I am unhappy about the withheld information especially as it covers a large proportion of the transactions. I am also unhappy about the lack of specificity provided on the transactions, although I do appreciate that it might have been difficult to provide as many generic entries otherwise.

I would appreciate if you could read this over and respond soon. As an optional aside, can you tell me what the purpose is of the "Exodus Control System" which was refernced on page 4.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your email of 23 January. I am happy to clarify where I can.

The redacted information within the list of transactions was subject to a Public Interest Test (PIT) in accordance with FOI legislation. After considering the public interest, the Department concluded that part of one contract title (which related to a number of transactions) was exempt from release under Section 26 (1) - Information likely to prejudice defence of the British Isles or any colony. This is because that part of the contract title would release sensitive information about UK Armed Forces capability into the public domain, and that information could therefore assist an enemy or potential enemy.

I can confirm that the list of transactions was assimilated for the purposes of your request and that, within the cost limit, we have provided all the information we are able to about 'warlike stores' transactions with MASS for financial year 2011/12.

DE&S Secretariat

show quoted sections

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your prompt response.

I have already spent time typing about the use of Electronic Warfare in another post on 4th August and 5th October :

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/us...

Notably the MOD claimed not to have any information on whether or not such attacks were being carried out on people in the UK. But their documentation implicitly states that they are and that it is a key part to operations.

I have already spent time above on 29th November iterating that the misuse of such technology breaks multiple laws.

I view the generation of such generic and non-specific information for the purposes of this request as an attempt to evade exposure of such activities.

Generally foreign powers will have a fair idea about the capability of countries such as the UK, because they have the capability to detect and examine such devices.

It is the British public which is largely unaware of the capability and how it is being used/misused. They are the vulnerable ones and it is they who deserve to know exactly how such technology has been and is being used.

The ex industry experts such as the EW consultants and ex RAF Electronic Warfare staff refuse to be drawn on the decades of activities in this area.

The use of the invisible part of the spectrum to interfere in people's lives amounts to playing god.

Please refer this to an Internal Review.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

I should specify that what I am seeking is the information from which this documentation was taken from without redactions which would hide activity or capability.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Acknowledgement of Request for a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Internal Review

 

The Deputy Head of Corporate Information has asked me to acknowledge your
email received here yesterday (27 January 2013) in which you applied for
an internal review of your request for information under the FOIA, our
reference 29-11-2012-115638-005.

 

The Department's target for completing internal reviews is 20 working days
and we therefore aim to complete the review and respond to you by 22
February 2013. While we are working hard to achieve this, in the interests
of providing you with a realistic indication of when you should expect a
response, I should advise that the majority are currently taking between
20 and 40 working days to complete.

 

The review will involve a full, independent reconsideration of the
handling of the case as well as the final decision.

 

Yours sincerely,

FOI Internal Review Team

 

 

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached for the internal review for your request made under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, our reference 29-11-2012-115638-005.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

FOI Internal Review Team

Donnie Mackenzie

Dear Mr Tranham,

Thank you for your most thorough response pointing out a number of facts and ruling that the undisclosed information be released.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

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