Feeds

Tribunal orders DWP to release IT contract details

Disclosure in public interest

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

"However we do not go as far as the DWP to find that it 'would prejudice' their commercial interests as no evidence was provided to show that it was more probable than not and the only evidence was the conjecture of [DWP's lawyer], however genuinely held," it said.

The Tribunal found that Atos's financial model was a trade secret, and therefore deserving of more protection than the other data.

"Where the Tribunal has found that the information is a trade secret there is a strong public interest in protecting such a secret because of the investment likely to be involved and that the disclosure of such a secret could undermine the owner’s business and give competitors a commercial advantage," it said.

The Tribunal said that the financial model did not have to be made public. "We find that it would not be in the public interest that suppliers would in any way be reluctant to provide financial models in large IT outsourcing contracts," said the ruling. "There is strong public interest in knowing that a financial model exists so that the public authority can scrutinise the financials in an outsourcing contract and that there is transparency for example in the pricing of modifications to the contract under the change control process. In our view this factor does not require the disclosure of the model itself only the knowledge that it is part of the contract."

DWP had asked for the location of the data centre in which the system's information is stored to be kept secret as a security measure. Because it had agreed to identify the country it was in so that the public could be sure that it was protected by adequate data protection laws, the Tribunal allowed its exact location to remain a secret.

In relation to the liability caps, benchmarking and other details of the contract, the Tribunal said that the public interest was weighted in favour of disclosure.

"The public interest in knowing that there are adequate service levels and performance measures etc would seem to be a much weightier factor when considering the importance of the Gateway to citizens and organisations who use the public services which it hosts," it said. "Also because the original contract failed, there is a strong public interest in knowing of any increased costs of the 2006 Contract which can be found in the change control notices.

"We also find there is a strong public interest in being open about the Benchmarking Model. It is important for the public to know that there is a means by which the DWP will not be paying higher prices for services than Atos’ other customers," said the ruling.

"We therefore find that the public interest in maintaining the exemption does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure," it said.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.