tv licensing contracts with Capita and RMS

Ganesh Sittampalam made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

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.

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is a followup to my previous request on the subject of tv licensing contracts (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv...). Please send all correspondence about this new request to this email address to aid with tracking the request properly.

I request a copy of all contracts currently in force relating to the collection of television licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system, between the BBC and the following organisations:

(1) Capita Business Services

(2) Revenue Management Services

By contracts I mean all relevant documents that form part of the contract, as described by you in our previous correspondence on the subject.

(3) In cases where you hold contracts relating to work subcontracted out by either of these two organisations, either directly or indirectly, I request a list of these contracts. This list should include the names of all parties to the contract and a brief description of what the contract relates to, but it is not necessary to list all relevant documents separately.

If you cannot produce all of (1),(2) and (3) within the costs limit, then this request is for (1)+(2), or failing that just (1). I remind you that you are not entitled to consider the time required for any redactions you choose to make.

In order to provide advice and assistance for any potential future requests of this nature, please could you provide details of how long each part of the request takes to collate, and in the case that you refuse or reduce the request because of the costs limit, an estimate of how long it would take to deal with any omitted parts.

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

Your response to this request is now overdue. Please let me know what is happening with it immediately.

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Regrettably your request appears to have been mistakenly overlooked by
the Information Policy & Compliance team as we are unable to find a
record of your request on our tracking system. Please accept our
apologies for this oversight.

It would be helpful if you could confirm that you never received a
record of receiving an acknowledgement for this request quoting a
reference. Assuming you did not this would confirm that your request
was not reviewed and logged following receipt on Saturday 20th June. We
are reviewing our processes to minimise the risk of such an oversight
occuring in the future.

Your request has now been logged with reference RFI20091098 and assigned
to TV Licensing who are already working on your request.

As you will understand there is a significant amount of work involved to
deal with this request and it is highly likely that we will need to
redact some commercially sensitive information from the document (you
are probably aware that the process of considering what if any
information is exempt, making redactions and collating the information
cannot be included in the time limit). As such I think it is unlikely
that we will be able to respond sooner than 20 working days but
obviously we will attempt to respond as quickly as possible.

We apologise for any inconvenience our oversight may have caused you.

Kind regards

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

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

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

I confirm that I never received an acknowledgement. I was a little surprised by this but thought that you were perhaps treating my request as a further follow-up to the correspondence on my previous request on this subject (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv...).

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Sally Moxon left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Sittampalam

It may be that the withholding of information is because the information you request would be useful for the court case, shortly coming to trial, which I am pursuing against the BBC. I cannot suggest where else this might be available as I have sought this information from other bodies without success.

SM

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam
I'm writing to let you know and to apologise that we will be unable to
respond to your request within the 20 day period from the date your
request was logged and acknowledged.

The delay in us providing the information you requested is due to the
sheer amount of work involved to review the contracts you have requested,
consider any exemptions and liaise with our outsource providers. The size
and volume of documents to be reviewed, the staff required to be involved
in the request, as well as the fact we are in the middle of the holiday
season when many staff are on leave and teams are subject to resourcing
pressures, means that regrettably we do not expect to be in a position to
respond before Friday 11th September.

If we have been unable to send a response by that date, I will write again
to update you on the progress of your request.

Kind regards

Louise Wright

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

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

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

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Please could you at least confirm that you have or will be able to retrieve the documents associated with my full request within the cost limit? I would also like to know what exemptions you are considering applying to this data.

In addition, I have recently learnt from http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l... that the ICO is considering a complaint from January 2009 about your application of the s43 exemption to a request that is summarised as "Agreements, contracts and arrangements between BBC and any organisation contracted by the BBC using generic name 'TV licensing'". This complaint suggests that you must have already retrieved and redacted the information I seek in this request and in my earlier request that you refused on cost grounds. Please could you clarify the situation?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

I can confirm that the BBC has not already retrieved and redacted the
information you seek however we do expect to be able to locate and
retrieve the documents you requested in your narrowed request within the
cost limit.

In terms of the exemptions we are considering, we are not obliged to
confirm this and where exemptions are used we would confirm this in our
formal response.

However I am happy to confirm that Section 43 is the main exemption
which is likely to apply to the information you requested, given the
commercial nature of contractual agreements.

Kind regards

L Wright

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

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

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

show quoted sections

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Given that your current target date for responding to my request is nearly six weeks after the deadline imposed by law, I do not think that claiming that you "are not obliged" to confirm what exemptions you are considering is very helpful or appropriate, as by law you should have issued a refusal notice weeks ago stating what exemptions you are applying.

More importantly, please can you answer the question from my previous email relating to whether this information (and the information requested in my previous request on the subject) has already been redacted and released in response to the request that was appealed to the ICO in January 2009?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Thank you for your email. Let me address each of your points in turn.

You state that we "should have issued a refusal notice weeks ago".
However, the reason why a refusal notice has not been issued is that the
request has not been refused. Indeed, work on a formal response is
already well underway.

You imply that, by refusing to state at this stage what exemptions we
are considering, we are being unhelpful. However, we disagree: we have
made it clear that, within the contracts, some commercially sensitive
material will be redacted; that section 43 will be the predominant
exemption used; and that reasoning will be provided for the use of all
exemptions used in our final response (as is routinely the case). It
would be confusing to speculate further at this stage (i.e. while work
is still in progress) as to what exemptions may or may not be used in
the final response.

You state that we have not answered your question regarding "whether
this information (and the information requested in my previous request
on the subject) has already been redacted and released in response to
the request that was appealed to the ICO in January 2009". I would
suggest that the first line of my last response of 19th August (below)
to your email sent on August 12th answers this very question quite
clearly, viz:

"I can confirm that the BBC has not already retrieved and redacted the
information you seek however we do expect to be able to locate and
retrieve the documents you requested in your narrowed request within the
cost limit."

For the avoidance of doubt, however, I can confirm that the information
you requested in your narrowed request (RFI20091098) and the information
requested in your previous request on the subject has *not* already been
redacted and released in response to any previous request, including any
request that was appealed to the ICO in January 2009. It is for this
very reason that the work is taking us some time.

Finally, I can confirm that the ICO did notify us on 7th Jan 09 of a
complaint relating to our withholding of TV Licensing contracts under
Section 43 but it appears that a case officer has not yet been allocated
by the ICO as there has been no further correspondence from the ICO on
the matter since that date.

I hope this answers your questions.

Again I would like to apologise for the delay to your response but can
assure you that we are working on it.

Kind regards

L Wright
BBC Information Policy & Compliance

show quoted sections

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam
I'm writing to update you on the progress of your request.
I'm sorry to inform you that we are unable to make any disclosure to you
today as originally hoped. However we expect to be in a position to make
a partial disclosure to you of the RMS contract by no later than Wednesday
16th September.

Unfortunately, in terms of the Capita contract, the amount of information
to review, and the number of individuals with whom we need to consult to
ascertain where exemptions apply, means that disclosure of this part of
your request is likely to take significantly longer. At this stage we
have reviewed all the documents and the information both TV Licensing and
Capita consider to be exempt under the Act but need to discuss a number of
specific items further to ensure any redactions in the disclosures are
kept to the absolute minimum. With regard to this disclosure I will write
to you again if we have been unable to provide this by Friday 2nd
October.

Please accept our apologies for this further delay and let me assure you
that we are prioritising your request.
Kind regards

Louise Wright

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

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

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

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

The law gives you 20 working days to respond. You have now taken three times that. Given that you are unable to redact the contracts within the time limit stated by the law, then you should just release them unredacted immediately.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

Trying to find out more about the previous request on the subject:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pr...

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Please find attached a partial disclosure in response to your request for
information which we are dealing with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

I know that you will be disappointed that we are still working on the
remainder of your request, but as explained to you previously and in the
attached letter from TV Licensing, this is due to the nature of the
request.

I can assure you that we are continuing to work on the remainder of your
request.

<<RFI20091098 - final response.pdf>> <<RFI20091098 - Disclosure Document 1
- RMS main contract + schedules.pdf>> <<RFI20091098 - Disclosure Document
2 - RMS SIDE LETTER 1 REDACTED.pdf>> <<RFI20091098 - Disclosure Document 3
- RMS SIDE LETTER 2 REDACTED.pdf>>

Kind regards

Louise Wright
Information Policy and Compliance

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

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

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for what you have sent so far. I note that you are continuing to deliberately break the law when the simple remedy of sending the information I have requested is available to you.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam
I'm writing to update you on the progress of your request.
I'm sorry to inform you that we are not yet in a position to disclose to
you the remaining information you requested, namely the Capita contract.
However we are in the final stages of preparing this information and hope
to be able to send it to you by Friday 9th October. If we are not able to
provide the remaining information by that date, I will of course contact
you to update you.

Please accept our apologies for this further delay.
Kind regards

L Wright

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

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

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2][BBC request email]
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Please find attached the second and final part of the response to your
request for information which has been dealt with under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Once again please accept our apologies for the delay to you receiving this
information, but I hope you will appreciate the amount of work involved to
collate and assess the information requested.

<<RFI20091098 - final response 2 - disclosure part 2.pdf>>

<<BBC Capita consolidated contract - REDACTED - 7 Oct 09 v2.pdf>>
<<Unincorporated variations to BBC Capita contract REDACTED.pdf>>

Kind regards

Louise Wright
Information Policy and Compliance

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

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2][BBC request email]
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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for your further belated update.

My original request included the following:

(3) In cases where you hold contracts relating to work
subcontracted out by either of these two organisations, either directly or indirectly, I request a list of these contracts. This list should include the names of all parties to the contract and a
brief description of what the contract relates to, but it is not necessary to list all relevant documents separately.

I see that the RMS disclosure includes some mention of subcontracts, but I can find none in the Capita disclosure. Please can you clarify whether you have listed all subcontracts that you hold in each case?

I also asked the following:

In order to provide advice and assistance for any potential future requests of this nature, please could you provide details of how long each part of the request takes to collate, and in the case that you refuse or reduce the request because of the costs limit, an estimate of how long it would take to deal with any omitted parts.

Please can you answer this question?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Thank you for your followup response.

I have contacted TV Licensing to discuss this additional aspect of your
request that was not addressed.

I will aim to come back to you as soon as possible and by Friday 23rd
October at the latest.

Kind regards

Louise Wright
BBC Information Policy and Compliance

show quoted sections

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Given that these matters were clearly stated in my original request which is now several months overdue, a delay of a further week and a half would be piling insult upon injury. I would very much hope that they can provide an immediate response.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOI Enquiries,

I note that the 23rd has now been and gone.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Please find attached the additional information you requested under the
Freedom of Information Act in relation to your request RFI20091098.

<<RFI20091098 - followup response - final.pdf>> <<RFI20091098 - followup
response - disclosure (estimates table).pdf>>

Kind regards

Louise Wright
Information Policy and Compliance

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

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2][BBC request email]
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[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of British Broadcasting Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'tv licensing contracts with Capita and RMS'.

I am unhappy on two counts.

(1) The lateness of the response

I recognise that the initial delay caused by the request not being logged properly was an isolated failure and one that I could have mitigated by querying the lack of confirmation message.

However, it then took you three months to completely address my request, far outside the time allowed by law. The twenty days is not a target, it is an absolute limit. Should people who are liable for the TV licence fee have a similar attitude to the law, and only comply if it is convenient to them at the time?

I notice that the RMS contract actually has clauses committing them to help you reply within 20 days, but even for that contract you failed to do so.

In addition the request for these contracts should not have come as a surprise, as this was a follow-on to the request I made in June, and someone else had already requested the Capital contract last year but was fobbed off. (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pr...)

(2) The material you have redacted

I do not agree with any of your redactions apart from the s40 redaction of names of junior staff.

This is a bespoke contract for a very specialised purpose and I do not believe your vague and unsupported arguments that releasing details would actually cause prejudice to your contractor's commercial position.

In addition the extent of the redactions seems excessive, with entire contract clauses obscured in a number of cases. Please consider whether, if redaction is necessary at all, then whether it must be so broad or whether some parts could be left or a partial summary of the redacted parts could be provided. For prices, please consider replacing specific numeric values that you continue to redact with a broad range instead.

I also do not accept your generic arguments that the public interest factors in favour of disclosure are already served by other means. For example, the reduction in the costs of collection from 6.2% of the licence fee revenue to 3.6% over nearly 20 years is during a period in which the licence fee has risen substantially in real terms and thus a substantial fall is to be expected, particularly in view of the advances in technology over this period. What is of interested is whether it is being run efficiently now, not how inefficiently it was run in the past. None of your points even addresses factor 3 "ensuring that the licensing authority is exercising its functions .. appropriately and proportionately". Your indiscriminate use of the same arguments on every request relating to TV licensing suggests that you are not really conducting a proper assessment in regard to the specific information at hand.

I note that the behaviour of TV licensing as a whole is a cause of substantial public debate and concern, and it is therefore very important that as much detail as possible is out in the open. For example, in http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/18... the requestor expressed a desire to find out whether your contractual arrangements were encouraging aggressive collection strategies on the part of your contractors.

Finally, I would also like to query the details of the amount of time you claim to have spent collating these contracts. You have listed substantial amounts of time spent by your contractors on this (26 hours in total in the top section of the table you produced), yet the vast majority of the information disclosed are the actual contracts between the BBC and those contractors. Are you saying that you are unable to find a copy of your contracts with them without asking them? I find this incredible.

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

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Sittampalam,
We have received your request for an internal review relating to the BBC's
handling of your request RFI20091098 relating to TV Licensing contracts.
Your request for an internal review was received on 16th November 2009.
We will endeavour to respond to your review within 30 working days. If you
have any queries please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your internal review is IR2009040.

Kind regards

Louise Wright
Information Policy and Compliance

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

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

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Please find attached the internal review decision relating to the BBC's
response to your previous request, RFI20091098.

As noted in the decision, the additional information will follow in early
2010.

<<IR2009040 - Internal Review Decision note.pdf>>

Kind regards

Louise Wright
Information Policy and Compliance

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

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2][BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
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[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

10 Attachments

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Please find attached revised copies of the RMS contract documents (+
covering letter) following the internal review (reference IR2009040) of
our response to your request, RFI20091098. Please note that we have only
included copies of documents which have changed since our original
response to you.

Due to the size of these documents, I will send the revised version of the
Capita contract in a separate email.

<<IR2009040 - post IR disclosure covering letter - FINAL.pdf>>
Amended disclosures:

Main RMS contract:

<<Main RMS contract document - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>>
Schedules:
<<RMS Schedule 1 - Definitions - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS
Schedule 2 - Services - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS Schedule 3 -
Governance - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS Schedule 4 - Service
Level Agreement - Definitions - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS
Schedule 5 - Service Charges - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS
Schedule 6 - Change Control - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS
Schedule 7 - Transition - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>> <<RMS Schedule
10 - Exit - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL.pdf>>

Kind regards

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

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2][BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
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[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

As per Louise's email, please find attached the revised version of the
Capita contract.

<<BBC Capita consolidated contract - Post-IR Amendment - FINAL 05 01
10.pdf>>
Kind regards

Rachael Ward
Adviser, Information Policy and Compliance

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

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show quoted sections

Lord Elric left an annotation ()

Interesting that all redacted information relates to costs and value for money. It is not clear why they should redact information relating to breach of contract on the part of the service provided - perhaps this is to prevent someone from understanding under what circumstances the service provider has failed an individual.

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

FS50296349

Licenceholder left an annotation ()

What is quite staggering is that amongst the information that the BBC seeks to withhold is their targets for Capita's service provision. Given that all this is funded with public money taken without option from the British people, it seems remarkable that they feel they can censor data as to targets. In 2010 I know of no other publicly funded body able to do this. Most publish not just targets but actual performance against those targets. In just which century are the BBC operating?

Stephanie Simmonds, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Please find attached a letter and documentation pursuant to the
Information Commissioner's Decision Notice of 30 March 2011 [ref.
FS50296349].

Kind regards,

Stephanie Simmonds

<<IC2010005 - 2011-05-03 - Updated response to requestor.pdf>> <<IC2010005
- Disclosure Documents.zip>>

Stephanie Simmonds
BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City Building
201 Wood Lane,
London W12 7TQ, UK

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