MOD purchase information request

The request was partially successful.

Dear Ministry of Defence,

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

Please could you provide me with an itemized list of all purchases(assets, services, rental etc) from Selex Galileo for the financial year 2011/12?

Yours faithfully,

Donnie Mackenzie

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached response to your FOI request of 7 October 2012
regarding Ministry of Defence purchases from Selex Galileo.

 

Kind Regards,

 

 

Dear DES SEC-Par (Boardman, Pauline),

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 ()

This is a duplicate which is from similar request. My apologies, actual response to follow shortly.

Dear DES SEC-Par (Boardman, Pauline),

Thank you for your response dated 25th October 2012. Having reviewed the information I would like to report my dissatisfaction with the content.

According to the data you directed me to, MOD spent slighty under £10,500,000 on various goods and services from Selex Galileo in 2011/12 in 94 separate transactions. The average cost of each transaction would then be over £110,000.

When looking at the descriptions of what these purchases are for there is very limited information. Essentially it categorises purchases as being for design/research/work, or asset based purposes.

I would request that you release the transaction details kept which correspond to the codes referenced next to each purchases(assuming these contain the item details I have requested). As indicated in the original request, I would like to know the items that have been purchased.

With consideration given to the fact that so much taxpayer money is being spent on all of this technology, which is being used in operations taking place in the UK, of which, British citizens are some of the targets; I think there is a strong public interest that this information be disclosed. Especially given that the information reminds us that private companies like Selex are taking direct involvement in such operations.

If you think that this request might somehow exceed the time alotted per request, please come back to me with a specific figure as to how many transactions you believe you can release and I will specify a priority order.

Thanks again.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Thank you for your two emails dated 29 and 30 October 2012 seeking further
information on your two previous requests about Ministry of Defence (MOD)
purchases from Selex Galileo and Cohort Plc. These two emails are
considered to be a further request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) 2000. In particular, you have asked:

 

With reference to Selex Galileo:

 

I would request that you release the transaction details kept which
correspond to the codes referenced next to each purchases (assuming these
contain the item details I have requested). As indicated in the original
request, I would like to know the items that have been purchased.

 

With reference to Cohort Plc:

 

I would ask that you do some research on the above [spending data for
Cohort Plc] and reconsider your response (and your monthly purchase
releases). In the immediacy you could provide specifics for the two
transactions that are listed.

 

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).

 

In relation to Selex, you have identified 94 transactions for which you
would like more details. For both companies, it would be helpful if you
could provide me with the transaction codes of the transactions you are
interested in, so we can establish how much work is involved in providing
the information you have requested. Section 12 of the Act makes provision
for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost
of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central
government is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one
person spending 3.5 working days in determining whether the department
holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the
information. If you could provide us with the relevant transaction codes
this would reduce the time taken to identify the relevant transactions and
allow us to make an accurate assessment of how much time it would take to
provide the further details you have requested. 

 

Once you have clarified your request, I will be able to begin to process
your request.  If I do not receive clarification within three months your
request will be considered to have lapsed. (Under section 1(3) of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a public authority need not comply with
a request unless any further information reasonably required to locate the
information is supplied).

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutD...

Donnie Mackenzie left an annotation ()

COPY OF EMAIL TO WHATDOTHEYKNOW.COM

On 06/11/2012 , Donnie Mackenzie wrote:
> Hi There,
>
> I just saw a response on this request:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mo...

It says the correct date in my list of requests(6th); but it says the 30th on the actual reply.

Could you explain what has happened and correct this please?
> Thank you
Donnie

REPLY

Hi Donnie,

The MOD used the wrong email address when replying to your FOI request, which meant that our software wasn't able to automatically identify which request the response should belong to. When this happens, the
message is queued on our system until one of the admin team works out which request the authority was trying to reply to and manually moves it to the correct place. I moved this response to the right place early
this morning, which is why you will have received a notification then, but the response was sent on 30th October as shown on the website. I'm sorry for the delay in this case.

(Helen C) WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer.

RESPONSES TO UPDATE SHORTLY

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your response.

Spreadsheet with Transaction numbers listed next to amounts on for left of sheet entries:

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

I am treating this and the other request as what I asked for in the first instance; however if I can help otherwise please let me know asap. Cohort response to be sent soon.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached response to your FOI request of 7^th November relating
to MOD transactions with Selex Galileo.

 

Kind regards,

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

 

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

The above message dated 28th November was again misaddressed by the MoD and therefore only appeared here when I manually moved it just now.

It's worth noting that with most email providers, misaddressed emails will just be completely lost - they could go to someone completely unrelated, or be rejected entirely. WhatDoTheyKnow is somewhat unique in capturing them to allow them to be manually redirected when the volunteers have time.

The Freedom of Information Act states that requests should specify an "address for correspondence", which all requests from WhatDoTheyKnow.com clearly do. I would therefore consider that the responsibility for responses that are delayed due to misaddressing lies with the authority.

Ganesh - WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your response in which you state there are multiple invoices per transaction. Before I proceed; I would like you to clarify something for me. Are these invoices which you refer to stored in digital form?

Please note also that the e-mail address you are repeatedly using to respond to this request is the wrong one, so your record requires updating.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

[name removed April 2013] left an annotation ()

It would seem that in order to refuse any potentially embarrassing information under section 12, the MoD do not store anything on computers!

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your email of 15th December requesting clarification about invoices. All paper contract invoices are scanned and held on an electronic filing system. We don't hold any miscellaneous invoices electronically; these invoices are held by the branch who released the invoice.

You may wish to be aware that invoices only contain financial information. Details on what individual invoices are for comes from each Commercial Branch and the project team responsible for that contract.

My apologies for using the wrong email address, we will ensure our records are corrected.

I hope this helps.

DE&S Secretariat

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Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for the response with additional detail. I am trying to make the links between what you are saying but to be honest I am left with more questions than I had before.

Obviously you are aware that the information I am seeking is the specific details as to what individual purchases were for. I have said as much repeatedly

In your correspondence on 28th November you indicated that the purchases I listed related to invoices of which there were roughly four times as many.

Since this is the only information you offered, I assumed these documents would hold the details I requested.

However, in your last response you follow your description of the two types of invoices ( digitized contract invoices and miscellaneous invoices) by saying that invoices only contain financial information. Further you state that details on what individual invoices are for are kept by each appropriate Commercial Branch.

Forgive me if I wrongly perceive I am being given the runaround.

Please could you provide clarity on the above along with further guidance as to what format the information I seek is held in, what the documents would be termed, and whether they are digitized or not?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your email and my apologies if I have caused any confusion. Perhaps it would help if I clarified the process we go through to identify individual purchases from transaction details/invoices.

As you know, Ministry of Defence (MOD) transactions with individual suppliers are published online each month in accordance with Treasury guidance. Each monthly transaction can relate to a number of invoices (at an average of four invoices per transaction). These invoices are stored digitally for contract purchases and contain only financial information - for example payment amount, contractor and transaction codes. To establish what the payment is actually for, we need to retrieve the invoice, locate the contract number which the invoice relates to and then locate the Commercial Branch who let the contract. Following a search of their records, the relevant Commercial Branch should then be able to tell us what the contract is for (and therefore what the individual payment is for).

Contracts may be held electronically or in hard copy and there are a number of MOD Commercial Branches based around the country. Miscellaneous invoices (for those purchases which do not fall under a contract), are not held electronically and to establish what these transactions are for means locating the appropriate MOD Project Team who would then search their records to obtain further details about the purchase.

As I advised in my response to your FOI request 08112012-153043-010 about MOD purchases from Selex Galileo, we estimate that we could provide you with information on up to 18 transactions within the cost limit of £600. This would relate to approximately 72 invoices which, in turn, may relate to several contracts. If you would like to identify the 18 transactions you are interested in, we can then conduct the necessary investigations to establish what those payments were for.

I hope this helps clarify the rather complex process, but please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

DE&S Secretariat

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

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 CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your responses above. I have copied the second one to the appropriate request as it seems that the Internal Review team requires to update the e-mail address.

Before proceeding, could you answer the following just to provide assurance.

Am I correct in deducing from the communication that your intention in previously stating that invoices only contain financial information was to indicate the lengths you have to go to in order to obtain the details I requested rather than presenting them as the final product of the process?

If this is the case, I would ask that you proceed in a chronological fashion providing specifications for the first 18 transactions for Selex Galileo beginning at the start of April 2011, and proceeding into June. The details are in the spreadsheet previously sent on 7th November.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached acknowledgement to your email of 24 December 2012
relating to MOD purchases from Selex Galileo.

 

Kind regards,

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

 

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Please see attached response to your FOI request of 24^th December 2012
relating to MOD purchases from Selex Galileo.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

DE&S Secretariat

 

 

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your response. I feel I was led to believe by your previous communications that you would provide the specific invoices or records for the first 18 transactions.

Instead it seems that, similarly to my other request (25th Jan, http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mo..., you have provided a new document which has been created for the purpose of limiting the amount of information released.

Can you confirm that this document was created for this request?

Can you clarify why this summary has been made to look like an old record from decades past and certain text has been omitted?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your email of 3 February. I can confirm that we have provided the specific records for the first 18 transactions you identified, plus a further nine which we were able to do within the cost limit.

As previously explained, invoices only contain financial information and do not include information about what was bought. So in order to establish what a transaction is for, we need to look at the contract under which the transaction was conducted. The contract title (which is what we have provided) explains what the contract was for and therefore what the payment/transaction was for.

The document we provided was assimilated for the purposes of your request, but only in the sense that we took the list of transactions with Selex Galileo that you provided and then matched the relevant contract titles to those transactions. I assure you that, in accordance with FOI legislation, we have not invented or changed any of the contract titles.

As I explained in my response to you, a Public Interest Test concluded that one of the contract titles on the list was exempt under Section 26(1) - Information likely to prejudice defence of the British Isles or any colony. This is why one of the entries was redacted.

Finally, please accept my apologies for the quality of the PDF document. It was certainly not intended to appear as 'a record from decades past'; its appearance is simply due to the process involved in creating the PDF.

DE&S Secretariat

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Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thanks for your response dated 6 February in which you provide some detail on your approach to putting the data together.

You mentioned that "The contract title explains what the contract was for and therefore what the payment/transaction was for".

I would say that whether the title of a contract which encompasses multiple payments constitutes what individual payments are for is dubious. Unless the exact same duty was performed on each occasion and the contract explicitly states what that activity is.

In any case, it does seem that you have reduced many of the contract names/purchases to acronyms.
For example, some of the entries say things like "CE0910 RE516 Follow On MALD PB submission of final report".

There are a number of things I am dissatisfied with, but it would show good will if you took the time expand the data to it's full descriptions. So I would ask for this clarification. I would appreciate if you could provide a prompt response if you do not want to do this.

Regards,

Donnie Mackenzie

DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    20130304 10012013 161034 001 Selex Mackenzie transactions detail U.PDF.pdf

    46K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your email of 7 February 2013 in which you asked for
clarification on the list of Selex Galileo transactions you were
provided with. As requested, I have spelled out acronyms in the attached
list or, where it is more helpful, provided a fuller description of what
the transaction relates to. Additions to the original list are shown in
italics.

I hope this helps.

DE&S Secretariat

show quoted sections

Donnie Mackenzie

Dear DES Sec-FOI (MULTIUSER),

Thank you for your response with the additional information.

I would like to request an internal review due to the decision to redact some of the information.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

 

Pleas see attached.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

FOI Internal Review Team 

 

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