Escooter contracts with Council
January 11, 2022CompaniesCities
While we endevor to open up the commerical relationship of councils and often well funded Micromobility firms. We did a Freedom of infomation request for Buckinghamhshire council around their contract and provison of Escooters for the Government mandated trails 2020 - 2022.
We have copied the letter and attached the contracts which they have provided with the FOI. the Escooter agreement and contract
They can be found here.
Thank you for your request for information concerning Buckinghamshire Council’s contract with Zipp Mobility to deliver e-scooter services in the county. Please accept our apologies for the delay in sending this response.
This request has been handled under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. We can confirm that Buckinghamshire Council does hold information falling within the description specified in your request. Please find our response below:
Please see the attached documents. We are withholding Schedule 3 of the contract which was the service provider’s business proposal. We consider Schedule 3 to be commercially confidential.
Regulation 12(5)(e) of the EIR provides that a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect “the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest”.
The following four elements are required in order for the exception to be engaged:
• The information is commercial or industrial in nature.
• Confidentiality is provided by law.
• The confidentiality is protecting a legitimate economic interest.
• The confidentiality would be adversely affected by disclosure
The Council considers that the information is commercial in nature. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) considers information has the necessary quality of confidence if it is not trivial and is not already in the public domain. This applies to the redacted material. We can also confirm that Zipp Mobility considers this information to be commercially confidential and has not consented to its release as this will have an adverse effect on its commercial interests.
Regulations 12(5)(e) is a qualified exception. This means that once the Council has decided that the exemption is engaged, it must carry out a public interest test to assess whether or not it is in the wider public interest for the information to be disclosed.
Arguments in favour for disclosure
· There is a general public interest in transparency and accountability in the spending of public money
· There is public interest in disclosure of information on how the Council conducts its operations
Arguments against disclosure
· Competition – there is a public interest in allowing public authorities to withhold information which if disclosed, would reduce its, or a third party’s, ability to negotiate or compete in a commercial environment.
· Release of the information would adversely affect the legitimate economic interests of the contractor by revealing financial information that is of potential value to competitors. This would weaken the position of the contractor in bidding for other contracts.
· It is in the strong public interest of the Buckinghamshire taxpayer that the contractor remains a commercially viable business so it is in a position to provide the contracted services.
· There is a strong public interest in commercial confidences being maintained.
The Council has weighed the interests in withholding the information against the general public interest in favour of disclosure. The main part of the contract has been disclosed and reflects the Council’s commitment to openness but, on the balance of probabilities, disclosure of the redacted information would harm the contractor’s competitive position in other procurements and in the market generally. This is not in the interests of the contractor or the Council.
On balance it is considered that the risks to the Council and Zipp Mobility outweigh the benefits to the public which might arise from disclosure. Therefore the redacted information is being withheld.
Please note that redaction of non Council staff names and signatures etc are carried out in accordance with regulations 12(3) and 13 of the EIR as we consider this information to be third party personal data.
If you have any queries about this response, please contact us. Please remember to quote the reference number provided in the subject line of this email in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to us at Information Governance, Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF.