IT hardware support contracts at The National Archives

FOI request reference: F0051870
Publication date: March 2018

Request

I would like to request the following breakdown of the organizations hardware support contracts

A list of the models of the physical servers, storage devices, tape libraries, network switches and routers under support contracts;

Details of the cost and duration of said contracts, with start and end dates and service level associated with the equipment.

Could you also supply the names of the suppliers of aforementioned support services?

I would also request the name and full contact details as of the person/s in your organisation responsible for the maintenance support contracts.

Outcome

Successful

Response

Please use the following link to access the requested information

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/f0051870-it-hardware-support-contracts.pdf

Information regarding equipment models and specific start/end dates is exempt under section 31 (1) (a) of the FOI Act. This exempts information if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Release of this information would make The National Archives more vulnerable to crime; namely, a malicious attack on The National Archives’ computer systems.

We are unable to provide you with the full contact details of the person responsible for the maintenance support contracts because release of this information would identify a junior member of staff, as such this information is exempt from release under section 40 (2) (Personal Data) of the FOI Act. 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, as such their information is not considered exempt under section 40(2).

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

The National Archives’ full contact options can be found on our website here: http://apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact/

EXPLANATORY 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.

Publishing the names and contact details of junior members of staff is considered an unfair use of personal data. 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. As such, the names, positions and contact details of junior officials are withheld under section 40 (2) of the FOI Act.

Further guidance about the publication of junior staff names can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1187/section_40_requests_for_personal_data_about_employees.pdf

Further guidance about the section 40 exemption, please see the following guidance:

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

We are unable to provide you with information regarding equipment models and specific start/end dates because this information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 (1) (a) of the FOI Act. Section 31 (1) (a) exempts information if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

Section 31 is a qualified exemption and 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 FOI Act 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 in disclosing information about government procedure and contracts. However, release of this information would make The National Archives more vulnerable to crime. The crime in question here would be a malicious attack on The National Archives’ computer systems. As such release of this information would be seen to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime by making The National Archives’ computer system more vulnerable to hacking. There is an overwhelming public interest in keeping government computer systems secure which would be served by non-disclosure. This would outweigh any benefits of release. It has therefore been 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