Feeds

Tribunal orders DWP to release IT contract details

Disclosure in public interest

High performance access to file storage

"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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.