Response sent: January 2011

Request:

In relation to the procurement of a Customer Relationship (CRM) computer system/application, please can you provide:

1) Details of all supplier responses to the Invitation To Tender (ITT)
2) The scoring done by The National Archives' procurement team
3) The final proposal of the winning supplier
4) A copy of the contract between that supplier and The National Archives

Outcome:

Successful

Response:

1) Please see documents below (under 'attachments') which contain parts of the winning supplier's - (SciSys) response. This includes:

  • Section 1: Executive Summary
  • Section 2: General Business Information
  • Section 6: Training
  • Section 7: Support

2) An invitation to quote was submitted through the Buying Solutions portal following a capability assessment to all providers in accordance with Buying Solutions framework for SOFTWARE APPLICATION SOLUTIONS - Customer/Citizen Relationship Management and Case Management Solutions.  Five suppliers responded as capable and were invited to submit proposals. These were:

  • Bramble CC Limited
  • Cap Gemini UK plc
  • HP Enterprise Services
  • Mouchel Management Consulting Ltd
  • SciSys UK Ltd

The range of scoring below is taken from the completed evaluation model. This model contains the criteria for this tender.  The 'Invitation to Quote' document - Appendix A outlines the requirements and the level of response required to meet these criteria.

Range of marking: 42.5 - 73.8

Please find below a template copy of the evaluation model along with the Invitation to Tender document and Appendix A, which shows how The National Archives calculated the scoring for this tender.

The winning bid was received from SciSys UK Ltd. This was because the procurement team, through the tender process, judged that this company best met the criteria outlined in the tender documentation.

3 and 4) The final proposal is made up of the supplier's tender response and the clarifications received. These form the basis of the agreed negotiated contract and this is reflected in the contract terms and schedules as appropriate. A redacted version of the contract is attached to this response.

With regards to the information we are unable to provide, please see below for an explanation of what we are withholding and why:

Parts of SciSys' response and contract have been withheld under Section 36 (2) (c) and 43 (2).

Section 43(2) exempts information where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any individual or organisation and protects not only the commercial interests of third parties but also the commercial interests of the public authority that holds the information. 

When considering the balance of the public interest we acknowledge that there is an argument in favour of disclosure of commercial information to ensure that there is transparency in the accountability of public funds.

Through consultation with those involved in the process it has been determined that to supply very technical information on how a company delivers the necessary products and services and how they will successfully achieve implementation would provide competitors with enough knowledge to successfully win bids from them in the future. Thus to release the technical solutions outlined in the tender response and contract would prejudice the commercial interests of this organisation.

To affect future competition for any organisation hoping to win a bid would not be in the public interest. This is because it is in the interests of the public that any tender for a public sector contract is conducted with fair competition in order to negotiate the best service for the best price. Organisations who are involved in public sector contracts need to have confidence that information they supply, which would affect their on-going commercial interests, would not be released. If this confidence is lost, it could affect the ability of the public sector to attract enough businesses who want to work with them, thus reducing the competition.

Therefore, as the release of the specific technical parts of the tender response and contract would prejudice the commercial interests of a third party, by adversely affecting their position during any future contractual negotiations; the arguments in favour of withholding the information outweigh the arguments for disclosure at this current time. Thus the balance of the public interest test lies with maintaining the use of this exemption and non-disclosure of the technical information contained within the response and contract.

Under question 1, you also asked for the other suppliers' responses. These have also been withheld under Section 43 (2). The reasoning provided above on this exemption also applies here. Further to this, the balance of the public interest for this information is also weighted more towards non disclosure. This is because, unlike with the winning suppliers' response, there is less general public interest in releasing information as these companies have not been awarded any public money to implement a public service. Thus the arguments in favour of release - greater transparency and accountability carry less weight than for details relating to those who are receiving public funds.

Thus as these responses contain details which would prejudice the commercial interests of these organisations, the balance of the public interest has also found in favour of maintaining the exemption at Section 43 (2) of the Act.

Further to this, we have also withheld the contact details of those involved with the contract under the qualified exemption at Section 36 (2) (c)

Section 36 (2) (c) 'would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs'.

Release of personal data of this sort is likely to lead to an inappropriate increase of email and phone traffic to officials who are not public-facing.  This circumvents the normal contact routes for public enquiries and is likely to detract from the normal duties of officials who are employed in internal roles.  In addition, officials who are specifically employed to deal with the public are usually best placed to respond to any questions that the public may have.

As such release of this information would be seen to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs (Section 36) by preventing non-public facing junior officials from discharging their duties.  This exemption is subject to a public interest test and in this instance the qualified person within The National Archives has agreed that the public interest is in favour of upholding the exemption and so refusing to disclose this information.

Please see the following links that provide further guidance on the exemptions applied:

Section 36 - Conduct of public affairs

Section 43 - Commercial interests

Ministry of Justice - Working assumptions for procurement

Ministry of Justice - Working assumptions for procurement (annex A)

Attachments

Contract - The National Archives and Scisys UK Ltd relating to provision of Software Applications Solutions - Part 1 (PDF, 1.51Mb)

Contract - The National Archives and Scisys UK Ltd relating to provision of Software Applications Solutions - Part 2 (PDF, 1.03Mb)

Response to tender - Scisys (PDF, 0.26Mb)

ITT (DOC, 0.11Mb)

ITT evaluation marking matrix - scoring template (XLS, 0.02Mb)

Appendix A - CRM SORs (DOC, 0.33Mb)

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