Superfast Broadband contract between LCC and BT

Martyn Dews made this Freedom of Information request to Lancashire County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Lancashire County Council,

I wish ask for a copy of the contract between Lancashire County Council and BT, to deliver superfast broadband.

The contract information would allow for a real understanding of what difference the public funds will be able to make, and will inform public opinion with regard to the expectations that are placed on BT within the contract.

I believe this information to be appropriate for release to me as it is in the Public Interest for this contract to be readily available for scrutiny, in line with the recent Information Commissioner complaint that resulted in the release of the Welsh Superfast Cymru contract

Yours faithfully,

Martyn Dews

Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Mr Dews,

 

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

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

 

The deadline date for issuing you with a full response is 13 January. We
will endeavour to provide a response well in advance of this date,
however, should we envisage any delays, or require more details from you,
we will contact you immediately.

 

If you have any queries about the above, please do not hesitate to contact
us, quoting ref. 819.1537

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mr K Chippindale

On behalf of the ATI Team

Access to Information Team

Lancashire County Council

T: 01772 531116

[1]www.lancashire.gov.uk

 

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Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

15 Attachments

Dear Mr Dews,

 

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

Further to your email dated 10^th December, in which you request the
disclosure of information under the provisions of the above Act, we are
now in a position to respond.

 

I wish ask for a copy of the contract between Lancashire County Council
and BT, to deliver superfast broadband.

 

 

Please see the attached documents in response to your request.

 

A small amount of information contained in the attachments has been
redacted as it contains Information that constitutes a trade secret
Section 43 (1) of the Act or information that if disclosed would prejudice
the commercial interests of any person Section 43 (2).

Section 1(1) of the Act provides that a public authority has a duty to
state in writing whether it holds information of the description specified
in a request; and in accordance with our obligations I am able to confirm
that Lancashire County Council does hold the information you have asked
for in respect of the Lancashire Superfast Broadband contract.

However, section 43(2) of the Act permits information to be withheld,
subject to the application of a public interest test, where disclosure
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person.

I have now had the opportunity to consider the exemption under section 43
as it applies to the information you have requested; and in particular
whether the public interest lies in favour of maintaining the exemption or
in disclosing this information to you. It is clear that the exemption is
engaged in relation to some of the information contained in the contract
documentation as the information, if made public may give a commercial
advantage to our partners competitors. Any disclosure of the information
would be viewed unfavourably by our partner due to the potential adverse
effect on their business.

The contract documentation contains detailed information regarding BT's
approach to service delivery. The organisation operates in a highly
competitive environment and has invested considerable amounts of time and
money developing its expertise in the field. To disclose such commercially
sensitive information would undoubtedly be advantageous to competitors,
allowing them to benefit unfairly from the current contract holder's
efforts. In addition, disclosure could affect the commercial interests of
Lancashire County Council by diminishing its ability to obtain best value
in its dealings with contractors in this, or similar fields..

In considering the public interest test, I acknowledge that, as a general
principle, there is a strong public interest in public authorities being
as open and transparent as possible. Disclosure would improve the
accountability and transparency of the Authority by showing how it has
used public funds and obtained value for money. However, there is also a
considerable public interest in safeguarding the ability of organisations
to benefit from the competitive advantage gained through developing best
practice in their chosen field of business. In balancing the public
interest, I have concluded that these factors outweigh any benefit that
would be gained by disclosure of the information to which the exemption
applies.

In light of the above, it is my view that in all the circumstances of this
case, the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the public
interest in maintaining the exemption in respect of the contract
documents; and your request is therefore partially refused.

 

Also, a small amount of personal information has been removed, as
disclosure of this data into the public domain would be against the
legitimate expectations of those concerned, and thus unfair and a breach
of the first data protection principle as set out at schedule 1 to the
Data Protection Act 1998.  Accordingly, such information is exempt under
section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by virtue of section
40(3)(a)(i).

 

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:                   01625 545700

Email:               [2][email address]

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

 

Your request will now be closed as of this date.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Mr A Martin

Access to Information Officer

Freedom of Information

Lancashire County Council

PO Box 78

County Hall

Preston

PR1 8XJ

 

Tel:         (01772) 531116

Email:     [4][Lancashire County Council request email]

 

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