Disclosure Details

Tender - 071/15

Dated: 23 Mar 2015

Date of request:      20/01/15

Date of response:    05/02/15

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 20 January in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked: 

   As a Freedom of Information Request, please answer the following questions regarding the recent Tender for the Provision of General Waste Services:
1)      With regard to the intended awardee, are any of the contract participants aware of any existing convictions against either the organisation and/or any of its directors?
2)      Were any such convictions above, disclosed as part of that tender submission?
3)      Are any of the contract participants aware of any ongoing investigation into the practices of the intended awardee, by any government Agency?

In response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention

Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) places two duties on public authorities.  Unless exemptions apply, the first duty at Section 1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information specified in a request is held.  The second duty at Section 1(1)(b) is to disclose information that has been confirmed as being held.  Where exemptions are relied upon Section 17 of FOIA requires that we provide the applicant with a notice which: a) states that fact b) specifies the exemption(s) in question and c) state (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

Northumbria Police neither confirms nor denies (NCND) that it holds any of the information requested by virtue of the following exemptions:-

Section 40(5) - Personal Information
Section 30(3) Investigations

Section 40(5) - Personal Information
The duty to neither confirm or deny under this section of the Act arises where the disclosure of the information into the public domain would contravene any of the data protection principles or Section 10 of the Data Protection Act 1998 or would do so if the exemptions in Section 33A(1) of that Act were disregarded.
A request for a third party data would attract a neither confirm nor deny response that it holds the information requested by virtue of Section 40(5) as it constitutes personal data of an individual other than the applicant and disclosure would contravene the first data protection principle which states in part that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully.

Section 30(3) - Public Interest factors favouring disclosure
Confirming that information exists could promote public trust in providing transparency, demonstrating openness and accountability into how Northumbria Police conducts its business.  It could also provide reassurance to the public that the police service takes all reports of a crime seriously and conducts investigations appropriately.  To confirm could also allow the public to have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the police service.
Section 30(3) - Public Interest factors against disclosure
The police service relies on information being supplied by the public. In this case the request relates to details about particular individuals and a particular organisation.   If we were to confirm or deny that police held such information this would indicate that something had or had not been reported to us and would hinder the prevention or detection of crime and the force’s future law enforcement capabilities would be affected.
Balance Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying the requested data exists.  Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing and providing assurance that crime reports and investigations are conducted appropriately there is strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of police investigations.  The police service relies heavily on the public providing information.  The public have an expectation that any information they provide will be treated with confidence.  Anything that puts that confidence at risk would have a serious detrimental effect on the police service. Liikewise anything that could hinder the prevention or detection of crime and the force’s future law enforcement capabilities would not be considered as suitable for disclosure.

You should consider this to be a refusal under section 17 of the Act.

No inference can be taken from this refusal that the information you have requested does or does not exist.

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103