I am writing to request under the Freedom of Information Act a copy of the tender documentation submitted by the winning bidder for the Schools Shared Recruitment Service. The relevant contract was let in May 2009 to Tribal Resourcing.
In anticipation of your contention that this information cannot be released due to commercial sensitivity, I wish to make the following comments (section 43):
1. The Ministry of Justice Working Assumptions - Procurement Annex A (November 2008) provide useful guidance to public sector organisations on Freedom of Information Act requests concerning tenders. Specifically, on page 5, they detail that general tender information (including price) and information on the supplier's approach to the work should generally be disclosed, unless the supplier has a unique approach that could be considered a 'trade secret'.
2. It is common practice that invitations to tender usually ask bidders to identify any information within their tenders which is considered to be commercially sensitive. Assuming that this provision was included in your Invitation to Tender, I trust you will check the winning tender to see whether any such information was identified by Tribal Resourcing as a start point for considering any exemptions (although you will still need to consider the reasonableness of any such exemption).
3. The value of any sensitive information obviously lessens over time, and it has now been eight months since the contract was signed, and the service is in the process of being launched. It is therefore unlikely that there is any justification for withholding this information.
If you decide that there are some parts of the tender which you may need to withhold under an exemption, please can you release as much of the documentation as possible in the first instance rather than simply refusing the request.
Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2010/0007923
Central Allocation Team
Public Communications Team
Tel: 0870 0002288
Dear Mr Greenwood,
[Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 1st
February 2010. You requested a copy of the tender documentation submitted
by the winning bidder for the Schools Shared Recruitment Service. I have
dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the
A copy of the information which can be disclosed is enclosed.
The information supplied to you is protected by the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. Any documents produced by government officials will be
covered by Crown Copyright. You are free to use the information for your
own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for
the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder and is
regulated by the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. You
can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright at:
Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Email: [email address]
Any information which is not subject to Crown Copyright continues to be
protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the
information originated. You must ensure that you gain their permission
before reproducing such information.
The Department holds the remainder of the information you requested, but
it is being withheld because the following exemption(s) apply to this
In respect of Section 31(1)(a) the Schools Recruitment Service is subject
to HMG security standards so information on security planning and any
details of back office functionality has been withheld.
In respect of Section 43(2) Commercial information has been withheld on
the basis that information included in the bid could weaken Tribal's
position in a competitive environment by revealing market-sensitive
information or information of potential usefulness to its competitors.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner's Office.
COMMERCIAL SERVICES DIVISION
Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2010/0007923.
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.