Publication - FOI/EIR release

Public Contracts Scotland: FOI release

Published: 19 May 2020

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
19 May 2020
Public Contracts Scotland: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000026194
Date received: 6 Apr 2020
Date responded: 18 May 2020
Information requested

1. Any framework of assessment that exists under Public Contracts Scotland, which allows for the determination of pricing, tendering and release of notices in a fair and competitive way for public sector contracts, consistent with similar positions and projects implemented in the private sector.
2. Information relating to the commission taken by recruitment agencies and similar bodies in situations where a suitable candidate is found for a position on a public contract, for example, in this case: https://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=DEC376090
3. The outcome of any research or studies with regard to the benchmarking or equivalence of these contracts on the open market with similar positions and salaries undertaken in the private sector, as a means of determining fair or competitive pricing.

Response

Annex A of this letter answers each of the points raised above.
Annex B of this letter explains why we cannot provide full details of the standard levy (daily commission rate) that is charged by recruitment agencies.

ANNEX A
(1) The Interim Professional Staff Services Framework is one of a suite of Temporary and Interim Staff Services Frameworks that are open for use by the Scottish Government (and other public bodies in Scotland). These Frameworks have been in place since April 2013 and were subject to a full OJEU procurement exercise. The process to call-off from these Frameworks is detailed in the buyers guides available on the Scottish Government website Temporary & Interim Staff Services along with a copy of the Framework Agreement for each supplier. A Contract Award Notice was published for each of these Frameworks. There is also a requirement for a Contract Award Notice to be published on Public Contracts Scotland for all awards of £50,000 and above.
(2) As part of the OJEU procurement exercise tenderers were asked to provide a fixed daily commission rate against a list of potential assignment/roles types. These rates are applicable in call-off contracts awarded via the Framework. Annex B explains why we cannot provide details of these commission rates in relation to this FOI request.
(3) As part of the OJEU procurement exercise all tenderers were asked to submit fixed commission rates which were evaluated along with technical aspects of each tender to identify bidders submitting the most economically advantageous bids. Four suppliers were then appointed to each Framework Agreement. As part of each individual call off contract process, framework users are able to conduct a mini-competition between each of the 4 suppliers on each framework which allows them to assess which supplier offers the most economically advantageous bid.

ANNEX B
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
We do endeavour to provide all information whenever possible. However, in this instance exemptions under section 33(1) (b) (Commercial Interests) of FOISA apply to some of the information requested.
Disclosure of some of this information is withheld under s33 (1) (b) [Commercial interest], as disclosure of it is likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interest of the agencies and the Scottish Government. As these exemptions are conditional we have applied the public interest test’ to the information. This means we have, in all circumstances of this case, considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding exemption. We recognise there is a public interest in having transparent tendering processes. On the other hand, commercially sensitive information will be made public, and it is likely to damage the commercial interests of the companies whose information is released. This, in turn, could mean that the Scottish Government may be unable to generate genuine and effective competitive tendering processes, and that, in our view, would not be in the public interest.
You will find full details of the exemptions that I consider apply to the information you requested at www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2002/13/contents.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG