Dear Lancashire County Council,

I would be very grateful if you could please provide a copy of the contract for the strategic partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT announced in October 2010 (http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/n... and due to be signed in December 2010.

Yours faithfully,

Ross

Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Ross,

Thank you for your email dated 10 February 2011.

Currently, your request doesn't satisfy the requirements of section
8(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act, as first names only are
insufficient. As such, please could you provide me with your surname in
order for me to proceed with your request.

Yours sincerely,

Miss Katie Miller.

Katie Miller | Access to Information Team

Lancashire County Council, PO Box 78,

County Hall, Preston, PR1 8XJ

Tel: 01772 531116

[1]www.lancashire.gov.uk

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Dear Miss Miller,

Apologies for the omission. My surname is Jones.

Yours sincerely,

Ross Jones.

Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Mr Jones,

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your email dated 10 February 2011,
in which you request the disclosure of information under the provisions of
the above Act.

I have begun a search for the information you require and shall contact
you again when we are in a position to respond further. Should we envisage
any delays, or require more details from you, we will contact you
immediately.

In the meantime, if you have any queries about the above, do not hesitate
to contact me, quoting your reference: 805.151.

Yours sincerely,

Miss Katie Miller.

Freedom of Information | Access to Information Team

Lancashire County Council, PO Box 78,

County Hall, Preston, PR1 8XJ

Tel: 01772 531116

[1]www.lancashire.gov.uk

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Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Mr Jones,

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Further to your email, dated 10 February, in which you request the
disclosure of information under the provisions of the above Act, I am now
in a position to respond.

Although Lancashire County Council does hold the information you have
requested, we have determined that it is exempt from disclosure by virtue
of section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. This is because
disclosure into the public domain would, or would be likely to, prejudice
the commercial interests of the County Council and/or BT.

In considering the public interest, I acknowledge that there is a general
public interest in the authority being as open and transparent as
possible. However, this must be balanced against the strong public
interest in ensuring the commercial interests of local authorities and
business are not prejudiced, particularly during times of economic
hardship and financial uncertainty. In this instance I believe the public
interest favours maintaining the exemption and therefore your request is
refused.

In the event that you wish to complain about the manner in which your
enquiry has been handled, you should write in the first instance to The
Freedom of Information Officer, Lancashire County Council, PO Box 78,
County Hall, Preston PR1 8XJ, or email
[1][Lancashire County Council request email]

If, after this stage, you remain dissatisfied, you have the right to refer
the matter to the Information Commissioner, whose contact details are as
follows:

The Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

Email: [2][email address]

Website: [3]http://www.ico.gov.uk

If you have any queries regarding my response, or you require any
additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Mr M Sayles

Access to Information Manager

Access to Information Team

Lancashire County Council

Tel. 01772 531117

[4]www.lancashire.gov.uk

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2. mailto:[email address]
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Dear Lancashire County Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Lancashire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Strategic partnership agreement'.

Many public authorities release their contracts with private
vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption
for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified
exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in
the public’s interest. The public have an interest in knowing the
terms of contracts awarded by public authorities, whether or not
public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of
confidence) then I would like to know the following:
• When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
• All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality
agreements were discussed.
• The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord
Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of
Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and
services) specifically state that public authorities should not
enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the
spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the
Information Commissioner’s guidance on accepting blanket commercial
confidentiality agreements: ‘Unless confidentiality clauses are
necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of
a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.’

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public
interest test. Therefore, the contracts should be disclosed in
full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that
can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only
then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These
are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or
where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly
to charge its stakeholders.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...

Yours faithfully,

Ross

Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Mr Jones,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your email dated 9 March 2011.
Please note we have passed your email to the Deputy County Secretary and
Solicitor for consideration, which will be treated as an internal review.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding
this email. Your reference number for the internal review is 807.6.

Yours sincerely,

Holly Gregson

Freedom of Information | Access to Information Team

Lancashire County Council, PO Box 78,

County Hall, Preston, PR1 8XJ

Tel: 01772 533997

[1]www.lancashire.gov.uk

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Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Mr Jones,

I am writing to advise that your internal review is still being considered by the Deputy County Secretary & Solicitor. I apologise for the ongoing delay, and hope that a response will be ready for you in the next few days.

Apologies once more for the delay, and any inconvenience caused. Should you have any queries regarding this case, do not hesitate to contact me, quoting reference 807.6

Yours sincerely,

Mr M Sayles

Access to Information Manager
Access to Information Team
Lancashire County Council
Tel. 01772 531117
www.lancashire.gov.uk

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Young, Ian, Lancashire County Council

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing with regard to your request made on 9 March to review the
response you received in relation to your request for information made
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).

I have considered your original request dated 10 February, the response
provided on 9 March and the points set out in your request for a review
also made on 9 March.

Your request was refused under s.43(2) of the Act on the basis that
disclosure of the information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of the County Council and/or BT.

Having carefully considered the issue I have concluded that the request
was correctly refused under s.43(2) for the reasons set out in the
response of 9 March and that the public interest test was correctly
applied. The proposed contract with BT has yet to be finally concluded and
it is clear that the disclosure of the contract at this stage would not be
helpful to the negotiations and may inhibit its completion, therefore
prejudicing the commercial interests of both parties.

If you remain dissatisfied with this decision then you have the right to
refer the matter to the Information Commissioner whose contact details
have previously been provided.

Yours sincerely

Ian Young
Deputy County Secretary & Solicitor
Lancashire County Council
Tel 01772 533531
Fax 01772 534702
Email [1][email address]

DISCLAIMER

The information in this message including any files transmitted with it is
confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the
addressee. Access to this message by anyone else is unauthorised. If you
are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, or distribution
of the message, or any action or omission taken by you in reliance on it,
is prohibited and may be unlawful. As a public body, Lancashire County
Council may be required to disclose this email [or any response to it]
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, unless the information in it is
covered by one of the exemptions in the Act. Please immediately contact
the sender if you have received this message in error.

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dh left an annotation ()

BT also have a similar contract with Liverpool City Council where their joint venture is called LDL.
I imagine the contract with Lancashire will be similar to Liverpool.
It might be worth visiting Whatdotheyknow and Liverpool Council and look for the many questions raised about LDL
and BT

Rick Seymour left an annotation ()

It looks like Lancaster City Council is also going to enter into a partnership agreement, although without any financial return.

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