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Digital Forensics Contract

Question

1) In respect of the recent tender conducted covering Digital Forensics provision - The tender referred to as the “Invitation to Tender to be appointed to a framework for the Supply of a Digital Forensics Service (SPS0509) (the “Framework”)”. Can you please provide a copy of the Regulation 84 Report (under the Public Procurement Regulations 2015) completed as a result of this tender exercise and confirm the circulation of this report and the date of completion.  

2) In respect of the recent tender conducted covering Digital Forensics provision - The tender referred to as the “Invitation to Tender to be appointed to a framework for the Supply of a Digital Forensics Service (SPS0509) (the “Framework”)”. Can you please release copies of notes, e-mails and other internal communications relating to consideration of disclosures made by tenderers in relation to question C3 of the ITT, which asked tenderers to disclose any changes to their Pre-Qualification Questionnaire since the date that documentation had been submitted.  

Under part c3 itt 

3) In respect of the recent tender conducted covering Digital Forensics provision - The tender referred to as the “Invitation to Tender to be appointed to a framework for the Supply of a Digital Forensics Service (SPS0509) (the “Framework”)”. Please provide a copy of the successful bidder’s ITT response documentation and copies of clarification questions raised with the successful bidder prior to the decision being made regarding the award of the tender in their favour.

 

Answer

Q1. Please find a copy of the recommendation to award the contract attached. 

Q2. No information relevant to this part of your request is held. 

Q3. Please find a copy of Invitation to Tender (ITT) response from Sytech Digital Forensics and clarification questions raised attached. 

You will notice some redactions in the attached documents as this information is exempt by virtue of Section 43(2) relating to commercial interests. Section 43 is a class based qualified exemption and therefore there is no requirement to identify and evidence the harm that would be caused by disclosure, however there is a requirement to consider the public interest. Please see this below: 

You will notice some further redactions on pages 1, 2 and 3 of the recommendation document and pages 12 and 19 of the ITT response which relate to some individual’s names as this information constitutes personal information. The exemption applicable to this is Section 40(2), third party personal information. This is an Absolute exemption so therefore there is no requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test. Any information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act if it relates to or is supplied by another individual and disclosure of that information would contravene any of the principles of the 1998 Data Protection Act, in this particular case, disclosure of this information would contravene Principles 1 and 2 of the Act, whereby personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and only obtained for one or more specified purpose or purposes. 

Factors favouring disclosure for Section 43(2)

The information relates to the spending of public funds. Disclosure of the requested information may go some way to demonstrate the constabulary is accountable and may contribute to the accuracy of public debate.

 Factors favouring non-disclosure for Section 43(2)

The specifics of the contract, if disclosed, would allow a competitive company tendering for the same product a commercial advantage, enabling them to review specific parts of the contract and undermine the constabulary’s attempt to work collaboratively and to fund further development of the digital forensics service. 

Disclosure of the information would provide a competitive company with an advantage which would therefore undermine our commercial interests as companies compete by offering something different from their rivals. This difference will often be reflected in their pricing and in the specific service they offer. Information that could identify pricing and specifics of service could reveal profit margins and working practices. This could adversely affect the constabulary’s ability to effectively negotiate contracts in the future and to obtain the best service for the best price. 

Balance Test

When balancing the public interest test we have to consider whether the information should be released into the public domain. Arguments need to be weighed against each other. In considering the arguments for disclosure and non-disclosure, whist the value of public debate is recognised, the ability of the constabulary to effectively negotiate contracts in the future in in the public’s interest and outweighs the considerations favouring disclosure. It is therefore determined that the specifics of the contract are exempt from disclosure on this occasion.

FOI Reference: 345/16

Related documents

  • PDF icon Attachment 1
    Last updated: 03 May 2016
  • PDF icon Attachment 2
    Last updated: 03 May 2016
  • PDF icon Attachment 3
    Last updated: 03 May 2016