TV Licensing - Contracts & Data Held

Neil made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam, 



I am writing to request information regarding the information held by ‘TV Licensing’.

I understand that TV Licensing is a trading name of companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of television license fees and enforcement of the television license system. Which helps the BBC fulfill its requirements of section 366 of the communications act 2003.

I understand that some of the companies involved include, but may not be limited to:

-Capita Business Services

-Revenues Management Services

-PayPoint Network & PayPoint Collections

-AMV Consortium (and the associated 4 companies)

Specifically I would like: 



1. A copy of any contracts, indices and appendices between the BBC and the organisations contracted as ‘TV Licensing’ together with the monetary amounts of these contracts. Including any that cover contracts related to the renewal/purchase of ‘detector’ equipment, and any other contracts in force relating to TV Licensing.

2. An extract from the TV Licensing system, aggregated to include the location, license status, information regarding disputes/visits under Code B. (Though if all fields can be provided (except for those that hold information that may be exempted), then that would be preferred.) Relating to the calendar period 1 January 2005 – 1 July 2008.

3. The budget for 2009, and the previous budget vs. actual figures for 2008-2005 relating to the costs of enforcement/collection & TV Licensing as a whole.

Ideally I would like the location unit to be ‘postcode’ but if this is not practical then under your section 16 duty to advise and assist I would expect you to contact me to discuss how you record this geospatial data so that I may narrow my request in a way that works for both of us. 
(I note that in FOI RFI200800070 it is noted that such detail is held).

As a supplementary, under section 16, I would also ask that you provide some detail about the recording processes relating to TV Licenses. E.G. What software is used? What data fields are used? What other data sets/systems it links to (for instance, does it pass details to a system that writes the automated reminder/enforcement letters), etc.

If an outside contractor holds this information then it is your responsibility under the FOIA to obtain that information. If another public body holds it then please can you inform me of this and if possible transfer the request to that public body. My preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means (with regards to point 2, I would like the data provided as a raw text file, comma delimited, with text qualifiers if required).

If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests. 



If exemption is sought from disclosure, with reference to section 31 [Law Enforcement]; then can you please provide full details as to the reasons – as well as considering under section 16, how I can refine the request, so that the information can be released.

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 companies (which the BBC is as of section 6), 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 companies 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. 



I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period. 



Many Thanks,

Neil

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was
received on 26th July, 2009. We will deal with your request as promptly
as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any
queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20091119.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Neil,

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20091119.

<<RFI 20091119 - final response.pdf>>
Yours sincerely
Katie Paxie

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Neil/Team,

To followup and respond to the queries raised:

(i) ‘the TV Licensing system’ (in this context);- The list showing by street/ward (or suitable granular level), the number of properties licensed/unlicensed or as available in the 'database'

(ii) ‘Code B’ - This is terminology used by the BBC, I believe it refers to the PACE Code of practice, in situations were officers attend and seize equipment at the request/co-operation of the TV Licensing companies (http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publicat...)

It was mentioned in FOI RFI20080690, second page, paragraph 1.

Neil/team, I'm more than happy to discuss this with you, if you can provide a number to [email address].

Thanks,
Neil

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Neil

Thank you for clarifying your request made under the terms of the Freedom
of Information Act 2000.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your request;
we are endeavouring to provide a response as soon as possible. If we are
unable to respond by Friday 4th September then we will write again to
update you on the progress of your request.

Kind regards

Rachael Ward

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Neil,

Please accept our apologies for the further delay in responding to your
request made under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
However, we expect to be in a position to make a partial disclosure by
Friday 18th September.

I should warn you at this stage that we are unlikely to be able to
disclose all of the TV Licensing contracts to you within the 2.5 day
limit, as set out in section 12 of the Act. However, we are currently
dealing with a similar request for which we are working to disclose the
larger contracts; we plan to disclose the same information to you as it
becomes available.

I hope you find this update helpful.

Kind regards,

Rachael Ward

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Neil,

Please accept our sincere apologies for the continued delay in responding
to your request made under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act
2000. We expect to be in a position to respond to you early next week, if
we are not then we will update at that time.

Kind regards,

Rachael Ward

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Neil,

Please find attached our partial response to your request considered under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. Again, please accept our
apologies for the delay in providing you with this response.

<<RFI20091119 - partial response.pdf>>

Kind regards,

Rachael Ward
Adviser, Information Policy and Compliance

BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252
BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Neil

Please find attached the BBC's further response to your request considered
under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

<<RFI20091119 - further response.pdf>>
Kind regards,

Rachael Ward
Adviser, Information Policy and Compliance

BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252
BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/