Thursday 31 October 2013

Barnet's spin on the meaning of Transparency

Today Barnet Council published the Development and Regulatory Services contract more than two months after I requested it under the Freedom of information Act. Whilst pleased that the council had published the contract the level of redaction is huge and to make matters worse they have scanned in the redacted document. This means that you cannot search the document electronically and it makes the file size colossal. In total the DRS contract files amount to 749 MB with 4 files over 100MB each. That makes them pretty inaccessible to people with slow or capped internet connections.

The council have provided me with 17 pages of reasons for the redactions - which gives you a sense of just how many redactions there are. You can download them here. Capita have also set out all the clauses they want redacted which are set out below. For example schedule 28 sets out how Capita would manage conflicts of interest something which surely we should be allowed to read. But no, Capita believe we shouldn't read this because:

"This schedule was developed by Capita to address a contract consideration and reflects a detailed approach within Capita to manage conflict of interest considerations.  This forms part of the Capita business systems and therefore was provided in confidence as part of the evaluation process, and should not therefore be disclosed." 

So it is confidential how they manage conflicts of interest because they wrote it. And what does Barnet do? They roll over and accept what Capita says. Read all of Capita's comments below and then ask whose interest this contract is in. It certainly is't the residents of Barnet.

1 comment:

  1. This is a recent schedule then Mr R as it refers to "Re" the obliquely named Joint Venture.

    Redacting their profit margins which appear in their published Accounts, hardly top secret info?