The original tender documentation including the service/product specification given to all bidders when this contract was last advertised?
Suppliers who applied for inclusion on each framework/contract and were successful & not successful at the PQQ & ITT stages
Actual spend on this contract/framework (and any sub lots), from the start of the contract to the current date
Start date & duration of framework/contract?’
Your request was received on 20 December 2022 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Questions 3 and 4
I am writing to advise you that following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by the NHS Business Services Authority. Due to delays in the procurement process, this contract has not yet been awarded, meaning the contract does not currently have a start/end date, or spend on the contract. The web link which you quoted in your request does set out what the estimated spend is expected to be.
Questions 1 and 2
The information you requested is being withheld as it falls under the exemption in sections 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. In applying this exemption we have balanced the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosing the information. We have set out below the factors considered when deciding that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Factors for disclosure
• Public accountability to ensure public money is being used effectively and getting value for money when purchasing goods and services.
• Ensure NHSBSA commercial activities are conducted in an open and honest way.
Factors for withholding
• As explained above, the procurement process has not yet concluded, meaning disclosure of information relating to the on-going tender would be detrimental to that process by damaging the relationship between the authority and the competitors bidding for the work.
• Commercial information is at its most sensitive during the procurement process.
• The disclosure of this information would assist a third party to see specific methods and processes [with a potentially serious detrimental effect on the commercial interests of the current contract holder].
Reasons why public interest favours withholding information
• In The Department of Health v Information Commissioner (EA/2008/0018 18 November 2008), paragraph 87 requires that the Office of Government Commerce “FOI (Civil Procurement) Policy and Guidance” is followed where tenders are requested. Failure to do so must be justified to the Information Commissioner. This guidance states in Annex A page 29 that the working assumption is that tender documents, correspondence, negotiation notes, etc are not released before the tendering process in complete.
• I consider that the public accountability in releasing confidential information is outweighed by the potentially serious detrimental effect on the commercial interests of the suppliers.
Please click the below web link to see the exemption in full.