On 16th December, the 20th day, according to the revised timeline due to the DETI NI’s spam filter delaying my emails for some reason I received an email reply answering my appeal for the BT contract information.
I have not yet fully read and digested the response, however my inital reaction is one of disappointment that the request was not fully met. The supplied contract is severely redacted. Why is it deemed the SLA information commercially confidential?
I have several issues with the reply, which I shall deal with in a subsequent post. But for now, the reply and the redacted copy of the contract.
I am releasing this today to coincide with a Press Release from DETI NI that declared the BT contract to be completed and that NI has 100% broadband coverage.
New: I have OCRed the document and created an HTML version. Note that OCR isn’t perfect and I have not proofed it so refer to the original PDF for any queries. The HTML version is provided for ease of use and searching.
BT Broadband Contract (Redacted Version) – IR 004-ocred
I would welcome some legal comment (free of charge of course) as to DETI NI’s signing a Confidentiality Clause in a major contract when they were aware* of their FOI obligations in respect of Confidentiality Clauses in contract.
* Information Commisioner Survey from NI Depts dated December 2003 – 3 months prior to the BT contract which stated: "The majority of respondents report that the Central Procurement Service manages NICS contracts with private sector suppliers. As a result, the Central Procurement Service is reviewing the existing procedures with regard to the removal of confidentiality clauses."
Or more specifically:
��we would like additional assistance in the form of more detailed interpretation of the FOIA exemptions, and in particular those relating to information provided in confidence (s41), commercial interests (s43), and prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (s36).�
– Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment