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05 April 2016 – 970.2015-16 – Freedom of information requests – Telephone survey


    1. Which company carried out telephone survey and can I have sight of their
    2. contract and
    3. operational brief, please?


Extent of Searches to Locate Information

Following receipt of your request searches were conducted within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to locate relevant information on the Precept Telephone Survey 2016/17.


    1. The information you have requested is published on the North Yorkshire Police website under the following link, on there you can find the name of the party contracted to the telephone survey (2016/17) concerning the precept alongside the value of the contract; I have therefore decided to exempt providing you with a response to part a) pursuant to Section 21 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) – Information Reasonably Accessible by Other Means.
    2. I am exempting from providing you with a copy of the contract pursuant to Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 – Commercial Interests. Please refer to the relevant header below for further context.
    3. The operational brief for the Precept Telephone survey 2016/17 was as follows;

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, is currently part way through a public consultation on the police precept (the part of Council Tax for local policing). The survey (a link to it is included below) has been publicised through a number of channels and via the press. Response rates have been good so far, but we want to ensure the results are representative of the population of North Yorkshire and the City of York. The majority of c400 responses so far have been generated through utilising our own database and other police-led channels such as Neighbourhood Watch, as well as generating press coverage.

With the above in mind, we would like to receive a quote from yourself to supply:

  • A script based on the current survey, that allows like for like comparisons with data already generated, which you can see here – AND
  • A telephone survey that provides as representative sample of the population across the different districts of North Yorkshire and the City of York as is possible within the timescale below AND
  • Analysis of the results, highlighting any significant variations as appropriate / possible within the timings (for example district, age, gender, household income/council tax band)

In respect of the exemptions applied in response to questions 1a and b; Section 17 of the Act requires North Yorkshire Police, when refusing to provide information (because the information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies. Please refer to the relevant headers below for further context.

Section 21 – Information Reasonably Accessible by Other Means

Section 21 is an absolute class based exemption and I am not required to consider the harm or public interest when applying this exemption.

Section 43(2) – Commercial Interests

This is a qualified, class based exemption, which requires that I conduct a public interest test to balance the legitimate interests of the public in knowing the information against the interests of non-disclosure.

This exemption applies because disclosing the information you have requested would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Disclosure

There is a strong public interest in the efficiency of public sector procurement. Releasing the information would provide the public with the knowledge that the processes are carried out efficiently. The spending of public funds correctly and efficiently is of utmost importance.

Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure

To run these contracts successfully the pricing information contained is commercially sensitive and were tendered as part of a tender process where the confidentiality of their responses was assured.
It is important to maintain the integrity of these agreements. It is our reasoned opinion that the content within the contract, that which is not already published, should not be released. The terms and conditions, including ours and their obligations etc. are an agreement between the parties and enforceable between the parties only. Breaching any of the suppliers’ confidentialities could put us at a disadvantage in negotiations at future reviews and through future necessary competition.

Balancing Test

The disclosure of commercially sensitive information would prejudice the commercial interests of those persons who tendered and may deter suppliers from participating in future procurement initiatives. Neither outcome is in the public interest. There is a strong public interest against disclosure where that disclosure would be likely to prejudice the Force’s own commercial interests. Release of the information would be likely to adversely affect the bargaining position of North Yorkshire Police during future contractual negotiations relating to current and future contracts which would result in less effective use of public money.

The public interest would not be served where disclosure of commercial information would hinder fair and open competition for public sector contracts.

Pursuant to Section 17(1) of the Act this acts as a Refusal Notice in relation to the exempted parts of your request.

Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.