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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Database for farm payments: FOI release

Published: 8 Sep 2017

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01436
Date received: 25 June 2017
Date responded: 14 August 2017

Information requested

1. I would like to know the details/have copies of the tenders received to develop the database for farm payments.

2. I understand the database is to handle 18000 entries/claimants. If so, can you please confirm the total cost to date per claimant of this it system.

3. I would also like to know if there is any possible route to reclaim costs if the it company can be proved incompetent?

Response

Due to the file size of the documents released, copies can be provided on request by emailing ceu@gov.scot, quoting the FOI reference number FOI/17/01436.

1. I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 33(1) (commercial interests), 29(1)(a) (policy formulation), 30(c) (prejudice to conduct of public affairs), 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter. Please note that, due to the size of these documents I am sending them as three separate files.

2. The Scottish Government does not hold this information as it is not a meaningful calculation in the context of our systems. An IT Platform has been built that does more than make BPS payments. You may wish to note that the system to date records over 24,000 businesses making one or more applications or claims (e.g. for capital spend) under 14 different schemes, with details of over 520,000 separate land parcels tracked, and combining data across the previous and current (2014-2019) CAP Programme. The technology also supports non-payment processes such as the Agricultural Census, and we are presently adding functionality to support livestock inspections.

3. Under the contract, the supplier undertakes a programme of work, defined under a Work Order, specified jointly with the Scottish Government. The supplier invoices for the cost of that work on a monthly basis at previously agreed rates for the resources used. There is a provision in the contract extension from April 2017 for the Government to withhold up to 2.5% of invoiced charges where software has not been successfully delivered within the timescale agreed for key milestones.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information.

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because there are many ways that the data could be interpreted to calculate an answer. We do not capture data for this purpose that would allow us to answer this question. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the bidders concerned. Disclosing information about, for example, proposed daily rates and technical approaches would be likely to give these companies' competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice their ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which tender for, or enter into, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.

An exemption under section s30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information you have requested.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting government information systems from attack or compromise and ensuring that the Scottish Government is able to conduct its business effectively. There is also greater public interest in ensuring that any identified vulnerabilities could not be used to attack Scottish government systems that hold information entrusted to us by the citizens for whom we provide online services, and for whom we also have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act to protect personal information.

An exemption applies.

An exemption(s) under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, in the form of the names, contact details and CVs of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
8 Sep 2017
Database for farm payments: FOI release