Freedom of Information advice for contractorsLast updated: 05 February 2013 12:02
Freedom of Information (FoI) applies to all information held by public bodies. It also applies to specifically-designated private companies that perform public functions but not to other private companies.
However, all of the information that we hold about your company is covered by FoI, as is any information that you hold on our behalf.
If I give you information on my products or services, will this be subject to the Freedom of Information Act?
Yes, but that does not mean it will automatically be released if requested, as an exemption may apply. We will seek your views before making a decision on disclosure of information that might affect your rights or interests.
My company holds information on behalf of you, how am I affected?
If we get a request for information that includes information you hold on our behalf, we will ask you to provide it quickly so that we can comply with FoI.
What if a request for information comes directly to my company?
If you are a private company you have no obligations to respond to such requests since FoI does not apply to your organisation. If the request relates to information that you hold on our behalf, you should not in any case disclose it without our explicit agreement.
If it relates to us, to help the person requesting information you should advise that the request needs to be submitted to Portsmouth City Council.
What exemptions allow you to refuse to supply information?
FoI requests can be declined if an absolute exemption or qualified exemption applies. Please read the exemptions section of our FoI page for further details.
Could I protect supplied information by having a confidentiality clause in contracts or by providing the information in confidence?
Confidentiality clauses are discouraged under FoI unless there are genuine commercial and/or legal reasons why the information should be treated as confidential. Information provided in confidence is only exempt if disclosure would give rise to an actionable breach of confidence. This is a narrow legal exemption, which applies in limited circumstances - you should not assume that this exemption will apply.
If you consider information that you provide is confidential, you should identify the information and provide reasons why you consider the information to be confidential under FoI.
What will you do if you receive a request for information that might affect my company?
Unless we are certain that we are bound to disclose or not disclose information, we will consult you when considering requests that may affect your rights or interests. This consultation will help us to decide if an exemption applies and what the considerations are in applying a public interest test about information disclosure.
However, the law makes us solely responsible regarding the final decision on disclosure.
What happens to tender information after a contract is awarded?
Information that was commercially sensitive during the tendering process may no longer be sensitive once contracts have been signed, therefore we will consult with you to determine its disclosure as per the reasons above.
Please visit the section for organisations on the Information Commissioners Office site for further details.