Telephone system maintenance contracts

FOI request reference: F0049366
Publication date: June 2017

Request

As this contract has just expired can you please provide the new details
for this contract?

Outcome

Successful

Response

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request and this information was provided to you on 3rd May 2017 (our reference F0048935).  I have copied the information provided to you below and can confirm that there has been no change to the details since then.

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request. We are pleased to be able to provide most of this information to you in the Annex below.

We are unable to provide you with some of the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which exempts from release information if it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

Some of the information is also covered by the exemption at section 40(2) of the FOIA, which exempts information if it represents personal information. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

Explanatory Annex

1. Contract Type: Maintenance, Managed, Shared (If so please state orgs)

Hosted (cloud)

2. Existing Supplier: If there is more than one supplier please split each contract up individually.

8×8

3. Annual Average Spend: The annual average spend for this contract and please provide the average spend over the past 3 years for each provider

£61K from Q4 2016

4. Number of Users

600

5. Hardware Brand – The primary hardware brand of the organisation’s telephone system

Polycom

6. Application(s) running on PBX/VOIP systems: Applications that run on the actual PBX or VOIP system. E.g. Contact Centre, Communication Manager.

Proprietary system – 8×8 Virtual Office. Full Unified Comms system

7. Telephone System Type: PBX, VOIP, Lync etc.

VOIP

8. Contract Duration: please include any extension periods

The contract duration is 36 months from Q4 2016, with the possibility of further 12-month extensions.

9. Contract Expiry Date: Please provide me with the day/month/year.

Q4 2019

We are unable to provide you with the exact expiry date as this information is considered exempt under section 31(1)(a) of the FOIA. Further information concerning the application of this exemption can be found later in this annex.

10. Contract Review Date: Please provide me with the day/month/year

Q3 2019

We are unable to provide you with the exact review date as this information is considered exempt under section 31(1)(a) of the FOIA. Further information concerning the application of this exemption can be found later in this annex.

11. Contract Description: Please provide me with a brief description of the overall service provided under this contract.

IP Telephony Services (cloud based Unified comms)

12. Contact Detail: Of the person from with the organisation responsible for each contract full Contact details including full name, job title, direct contact number and direct email address.

We are unable to provide you with this information because it would identify a junior member of staff and as such is exempt from release under section 40(2) of the FOIA. However, we have applied the general principle that members of staff at Head of Department level and above are sufficiently senior for their names and/or job titles to already be in the public domain and are therefore not exempt from release.

The Head of IT Operations at The National Archives is Julian Muller.

Further information about this exemption and why it has been applied can be found later in this Annex.

Exemptions applied

Section 40(2): Personal Information where the applicant is not the data subject
Section 40 exempts personal information about a ‘third party’ (someone other than the requester), if revealing it would breach the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. The DPA prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress. Junior members of staff would have no expectation that information about their positions would be made available in the public domain; to do so would be unfair and contravene the first data protection principle of the DPA 1998.

In this case the exemption applies because this information represents the personal information of a junior member of staff at The National Archives. Publishing the names of junior members of staff is considered an unfair use of personal data. As such, the names and positions of junior officials are withheld under section 40(2) of the FOIA. To release the direct contact details of this individual into the public domain would see a vast increase in the amount of correspondence directed to his personal account, which would be unfair in that it would have a considerable detrimental impact upon their ability to perform his role and carry out the functions associated with that role effectively. In addition, the fact that there exists a reasonable and reasonably accessible alternative method of contacting individual members of staff, via the contact form on The National Archives website, further diminishes the argument that there would be any further value gained from the release of this additional information.

For more information about the publication of junior staff names, please see the following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1187/section_40_requests_for_personal_data_about_employees.pdf

For more general information about the section 40 exemption, please see the following link: http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/personal-information-section-40-and-regulation-13-foia-and-eir-guidance.pdf

Section 31: Law Enforcement

(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—
(a) The prevention or detection of crime

Section 31 is a qualified exemption. We are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered.  If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and the information must be released.  In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it.

The public interest has now been concluded and the balance of the public interest has been found to fall in favour of withholding information covered by the section 31(1)(a) exemption.  Considerations in favour of the release of the information included the principle that there is a public interest in transparency and accountability through disclosure of information about government procedure and contracts.

However, release of this information would make The National Archives more vulnerable to crime; namely, a malicious attack on The National Archives’ communications systems.  As such release of this information would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime (section 31(1)(a)) by making The National Archives’ communications systems more vulnerable to hacking at a given time.  There is an overwhelming public interest in keeping government communications systems secure which would be served by non-disclosure.  This would outweigh any benefits of release. It was therefore decided that the balance of the public interest lies clearly in favour of withholding the material on this occasion.

Further guidance on section 31 can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1207/law-enforcement-foi-section-31.pdf