Appendix A of the Heritage Services Catering Contract report contains exempt information, according to paragraph 3 of the Local Government Act 1972 (amended Schedule 12A). The relevant exemption is set out below.
Stating the exemption:
Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
The public interest test has been applied, and it is concluded that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this time.
Factors for withholding:
- The information contained in the appendix identifies the four shortlisted companies who were asked to bid for this contract (including the company which is being recommended for the award of the contract). The information contained in the exempt index would identify the unsuccessful bidders, confirm the ranking of those bidders, and discloses information about perceived weaknesses of the unsuccessful bidders. Release of this information would cause potential damage to the commercial interests of the unsuccessful bidders and risk reluctance of the part of the bidders to submit bids in the future, causing potential damage to the Council's commercial interests.
Factors for disclosure:
The public has an interest in transparent decision making in relation to the award of contracts and expenditure of public funds.
Reasons why the public interest favours withholding the information:
- Information identifying the successful bidder will be released once the award of the contract is confirmed.
- Information relating to the ranking and assessment of the recommended bidder in comparison to the other bidders is contained in the report. Identification of the unsuccessful bidders is not required to enable the public to scrutinise the process used to assess the bids submitted as set out in the report.
- Accordingly the public interest in maintaining the identities of the unsuccessful bidders in an exempt appendix outweights the public interest in knowing the identify of the unsuccessful bidders at this time.
Senior Legal Advisor
Corporate and Community Law Team
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Telephone 01225 39 5125
14 October 2009