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Temporary labour usage (FOI231145)

This freedom of information request asks for information regarding temporary labour usage, including contractors, temporary workers and freelancers.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI231145


Thank you for your email of 25 April 2023, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, as set out in the extract below:

“I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request information regarding temporary labour usage in your organisation, including contractors, temporary workers, and freelancers.

Please can you provide me with the following information for the most recent complete fiscal year:

  • Total number of temporary workers engaged by your organisation, broken down by department or function, if possible.
  • Total annual expenditure on temporary workers, including a breakdown of costs by department or function, if possible.
  • Total number of agency suppliers (Preferred Suppliers/non-Preferred Suppliers) in your organisation’s labour supply chain

 Details of any existing Managed Service Programme or Provider (MSP) and/or Vendor Management System (VMS) used to manage temporary workers: 

  • Name of the MSP and VMS.
  • Date the contract was awarded.
  • Date of contract expiration.
  • Name of the government procurement framework through which the MSP and VMS were procured. 

Details of any upcoming retendering or renewal processes related to your MSP and VMS contracts: 

  • Anticipated date for the retendering or renewal process to commence.
  • Name and contact information of the person responsible for overseeing the retendering or renewal process. 

Please can you provide the information in the form of an Excel spreadsheet.

If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in Section 12, please provide advice and assistance, under the Section 16 obligations of the Act, as to how I can refine my request. If you can identify any ways that my request could be refined, I would be grateful for any further advice and assistance.”

Our response

I confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold some of the information you have requested.

Please see our responses in the attached excel spreadsheet (xlsx.). Where the information is not held or exempt from disclosure this is stated in the excel spreadsheet and where we have applied an exemption, this is explained in further detail below:

Total annual expenditure on temporary workers, including a breakdown of costs by department or function, if possible

I confirm that OS does hold the information that you have requested above, however, we are unable to comply with your request and provide the information, as we consider the information to be exempt from disclosure under section 12 of the FOIA.

There is no single source to be able to provide you with the total annual expenditure and the breakdown of costs for each business unit for temporary workers. To be able to supply you with the total annual expenditure, this would require a manual exercise to locate and identify all the temporary workers for each business unit, we would need to review each individual invoice for each temporary worker that OS has engaged over the past 12 months; the daily expenses and separate the cost for temporary works from other costs, such as costs associated with third party suppliers, to be able to determine the portion of cost that is the annual expenditure on the temporary workers alone and to then establish how this is broken down by business unit.

As this information is not readily accessible the time spent dealing with the request will exceed a period of 18 hours and we are therefore entitled to refuse to comply with the request pursuant to section 12(1) of the FOIA, where the authority estimates the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

This is an absolute exemption and therefore not subject to the public interest test.

Under the duty to provide information and assistance in accordance with section 16 of FOIA, and with a view to bringing your request within the cost limit, OS can provide you with the total cost of temporary workers, however this figure includes costs associated with third party suppliers (due to the way the information is held we are unable to split out the cost of the temporary workers from the third party suppliers). This information is available in our Financial Statements in our Annual Reports for previous years and we are due to publish these figures in our latest Annual Report within the next 3 months, once they have been approved.

Please note even if we were able to provide you with a breakdown of the annual expenditure by function, it may be possible to establish how much a temporary worker/supplier is paid, if this information is combined with the other information released in this response. Please note, we have not relied on an exemption on this basis in this response.

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 Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within two months of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

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

Contact us via our FoI form

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 (normally 20 working days)
  • 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 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, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The 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, within three months of receiving our response, with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information can be found on the ICO website ( under ‘Report a concern’ or you may wish to call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.