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OS Opendata report

Request for information – FOI13387

Thank you for your e-mail of 3 July 2013, requesting the following information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000:

I understand from the synopsis report released last month that an independent Study "Assessing the Value of Ordnance Survey OpenData (OS OpenData™) to the Economy of Great Britain" was commissioned by Ordnance Survey on behalf of the UK Government from ConsultingWhere Limited and ACIL Tasman, and that subsequently a Full Study Interim Report was prepared for Department of Business, Innovation and Skill.

Please provide a copy of the Full Study Interim Report.

I confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold the information you have requested, and we attach a copy of the report in response to your request. We regret the delay in providing this document. This was necessary due to needing to address the involvement of third parties in the preparation and drafting of the document. In the event this work has been resolved quicker than anticipated yesterday and so it is now possible to release it to you.

As you correctly anticipated, this Full Study Interim Report includes material that falls under one or more exemptions in accordance with the FOIA. Following consideration of the exemptions and having consulted with the report authors we have redacted some of the information, as we further detail:

Section 40 – Personal Information
The information we have redacted under 'version history' and 'further information' from the inside front cover and footer of page 30 has been withheld under the Personal Information exemption.

Section 40 (2) (a) together with section 40 (3) (a) (i) of the FOIA apply to information where disclosure would contravene any of the data protection principles under the Data Protection Act 1998. This exempts information constituting the personal data of living individuals, the release of which would be in breach of the Data Protection Principles.

In applying this exemption, we have considered whether disclosure of the personal data in question would be 'fair'. We have given particular consideration to the likely expectations of the data subject regarding the disclosure of their information.

We have concluded that disclosure of the personal information of those with responsibility for compiling this report and the actions they have personally undertaken within the report is unfair. We also consider that the disclosure of the names of Ordnance Survey individuals who are referenced, but are not Senior Civil Servants (SCS), to be unfair and that there is no expectation for them to be publicly referenced in this manner.

The use of Section 40 (2) constitutes an absolute exemption and no public interest test is required in respect of this.

Section 41 – Information provided in confidence
ConsultingWhere and ACIL Tasman produced the report using a number of case studies which were the result of communications with many individuals/organisations.

The names of the organisations who took part in the cases studies and any reference to the information they supplied as part of this process has been redacted from page 17, section 4.1.3, section 4.1.4, section 7.3, section 7.4, section 7.6, section 9.1 and Appendix E, F and G of the report.

This is because the case study material supplied by various individuals/organisations has been identified and highlighted within the report as being 'highly commercially sensitive' by the authors, and assurances have been given to these organisations regarding confidentiality of the information they have supplied.

As this information is subject to a duty of confidence, and disclosure of the information would constitute an actionable breach of confidence, we have reached the view that it is exempt from disclosure in accordance with Section 41 of the FOIA – information provided in confidence.

As you are aware, to ensure that such confidentiality is maintained and that readers may not infer company and individual names from the detail of the full report, a synopsis of the report’s approach, methodologies, headline analysis and the conclusions and recommendations was prepared to support wider dissemination of the message from the full study interim report. This synopsis is, as notified to you in our previous FOI response to you, already in the public domain.

Section 41 is an absolute exemption and no public interest test is required.

Section 43 – Commercial Interests
Whilst the total amount Ordnance Survey receives under the OS OpenData contract is already in the public domain, information relating to the internal breakdown of the contract value is not, as this is commercially sensitive to Ordnance Survey, because it relates to our internal business, product and general commercial arrangements.

We acknowledge there is public interest in the disclosure of information regarding accountability, transparency of decisions and the decision making process, however, this has to be balanced against the public interest in withholding information to allow government departments (such as Ordnance Survey) to compete fairly and with integrity alongside other organisations.

We are satisfied that given the commercial environment in which Ordnance Survey operates and the narrow markets in which we compete, that there is greater public interest in withholding the information detailed under Section 6.2 and Section 11.1 of the report, in accordance with Section 43 (2) of the FOIA, to ensure the business is able to fulfil our public task and our obligation under the Open Data agenda.

Internal review
Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our FOI Internal Review Officer, by contacting them as follows:

FOI Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
Southampton
SO16 0AS

E-mail: foi@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The FOI Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The FOI Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal with the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

E-mail: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 for advice, Monday to Friday.

Thank you for your enquiry.

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