Oldham Council and partners were successful in bidding for £20m of Levelling Up Fund monies for the Green Technology Innovation Network.
As part of the UK Government’s commitment to greater openness in the public sector under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, HM Government has asked successful bidders to round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund to publish a version of their bid, excluding any commercially sensitive information, on their own website.
Freedom of Information Act exemptions
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Oldham Council has a duty to supply any information on request, unless there is an exemption.
It is the Council’s policy only to apply the exemptions where there is a genuine risk of harm or prejudice.
In such cases, we will still provide information if it is in the public interest to do so.
With regards the Green Technology Innovation bid document, elements have been redacted under Section 40 (Personal data) and Section 43 (Commercial Interests) of the Act.
Personal data is defined in Article 4 of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and further clarified under Part 1(3) of the Data Protection Act 2018 as information relating to an identified or identifiable living individual. This exemption allows the withholding of personal data if the data protection principles would be breached by its disclosure. Article 5(a)of the GDPR and part 1(2) of the Data Protection Act 2018 requires that personal data is processed lawfully and fairly. In order to be ‘lawful’ a condition must be met from Article 6 of the GDPR and although your request evidence a legitimate interest in requesting the data, this request cannot be fulfilled without prejudice to an individual’s rights and freedoms, in particular their right to privacy and hence a condition in Article 6 cannot be met. Consequently, as Article 5(a) of the GDPR cannot be met, the exemption is engaged.
We believe that it is not in the public interest to disclose the information in relation to the financial element of the contractual relationships between the council and third parties submitted within the bid, as we believe it would unfairly prejudice the commercial interests of both the council and the suppliers of services. We do not believe that the public interest in disclosure is proportionate to the damage that would be caused by prejudicing suppliers’ ability to be competitive in the marketplace, which in turn could affect the Council’s ability to provide the best services at the best value.