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BR-069-2016 Provision of Network Maintenance and Support Contract

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

Our Ref: FOI 25-22

20 June 2022

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”)

I am writing to confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) has processed your request dated 11 May 2022 in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In your request, you asked:

“I would be most grateful if you would provide me, under the Freedom of Information Act, details in respect to the contract below.

BR-069-2016 Provision of Network Maintenance and Support Contract.:

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:120638-2017:TEXT:EN:HTML

 

The details we require are:

• What are the contractual performance KPI's for this contract?

• 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?

• Could you please provide a copy of the service/product specification given to all bidders for when this contract was last advertised?

• Is there an extension clause in the framework(s)/contract(s) and, if so, the duration of the extension?

• Has a decision been made yet on whether the framework(s)/contract(s) are being either extended or renewed?

• Who is the senior officer (outside of procurement) responsible for this contract?”

 

Under section 21 of the FOIA 2000, the Assembly Commission is not required to provide information that is already available in a form accessible by the public.

In order to provide advice and assistance under section 16 of the FOIA 2000, I have provided the following links to both the eTendersNI portal and the Official Journal of the European Union  (OJEU).

For future reference, all tender competitions (open and closed), contract notices and award notices can be found on the eTendersNI portal by completing an advanced search for “NI Assembly” under the “Organisations” tab.

Members of the public can access this portal free of charge and can set search parameters in order to find what they are looking for.

i. What are the contractual performance KPI's for this contract?

The information requested is available on the published contract award notice found on the eTenders NI Portal as previously linked.

ii. Suppliers who applied for inclusion on each framework/contract and were successful & not successful at the PQQ & ITT stages.

The Assembly Commission considers that some of the information relevant to your request is exempt from disclosure under section 43 (2) Commercially Sensitive. Section 43 (2) is a qualified exemption and therefore it is necessary to carry out a public interest test to identify whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption is greater than that in providing the information.

In this case the public interest in disclosure is out-weighed by the public interest in maintaining the exemption.

There is a significant public interest in ensuring proper scrutiny of the Assembly Commission’s spend of public money, therefore there is a significant public interest in ensuring that its commercial activities are conducted in an open and transparent manner.

The Assembly Commission ensures transparency and accountability in spending public money through proactive publication on the sites previously outlined. This maximises transparency while minimising prejudice to the commercial interests of both the Assembly Commission and the bidding contractors.

In this case, the successful bidder has been outlined in the published award notice. An award notice is one that is published after the bids (tenders) have been received, evaluated and the contract awarded. I have attached a link to both notices here.

There is a strong and legitimate public interest in private companies being able to compete in a commercial market on a level playing field, and disclosure of the withheld information, which would be likely to prejudice that ability to compete, would undermine that public interest.

Further, there is a strong public interest in ensuring that the ability of the Assembly Commission to secure value for public money is not undermined and that the integrity of future procurement processes is protected.

iii. Actual spend on this contract/framework (and any sub lots), from the start of the contract to the current date

The five-year contract spend to date amounts to £118,986.

iv. Start date & duration of framework/contract?

The contract commenced in May 2017 and continued until May 2022.


v. Could you please provide a copy of the service/product specification given to all bidders for when this contract was last advertised?

The information requested is available on the eTenders NI Portal.

vi. Is there an extension clause in the framework(s)/contract(s) and, if so, the duration of the extension?

As detailed in the published tender documentation, an extension option of one year was available.


vii. 
Has a decision been made yet on whether the framework(s)/contract(s) are being either extended or renewed?

The extension option of one year has been exercised.

viii. Who is the senior officer (outside of procurement) responsible for this contract?”

 

The contract is overseen by the Head of Information Systems who is contactable via

It.procure@niassembly.gov.uk

 

You have the right to request a formal review by the Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address. If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.

The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and our official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Data Protection and Governance Officer

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