Can copies of contracts with consultants, engineers, contractors be released in response to a FOIP request?
Yes, copies of contracts can be disclosed after they have been awarded, on the principal that the public has the right to know who has been engaged to do work for the Institute and how much is being paid for the work. However, some information in the contract, or in supplementary documentation, must be withheld if it meets the three-part test in Section 16 for harm to business interests of the contractor. Information may also be withheld if the Institute can show that its disclosure could reasonably harm its economic interests, result in financial loss, prejudice the Institute's competitive position or interfere with negotiations. (Section 26)] Examples of such information might include unit pricing; actual wages paid to employees of the contractor or proprietary information. The FOIP Coordinator should always be consulted prior to disclosure of a contract or supplementary documentation to a third party.
Can evaluation documents of publicly tendered proposals be released to suppliers in response to a FOIP request?Public tender documents and evaluation criteria are routinely available. Evaluation notes, summaries, weighting factors and other evaluation documents are based on information supplied by the contractor but are created by the Institute. As a result not all of these records qualify for an exception to disclosure under Section 16 (harm to business interests). However, some information may be withheld under Section 19 if they are references given in confidence about the contractor's suitability or confirmation of qualifications. There may also be reason to withhold parts of the record if they reflect the advice of recommendations of employees as to a suggested course of action. The names and position titles of employees who conducted the evaluation would not be considered as personal information because they performed the assessment as a part of their duties.
Can a public body release invitation tender lists to suppliers without a FOIP request?Invitations to tender should be routinely available to the public unless Institute policy requires payment of a fee for such lists, in which case they would be available for sale.
Can a supplier, in a FOIP request, gain access to evaluation or rating documents used to determine who is the successful bidder?Partly. Public tender documents and evaluation criteria are routinely available. Evaluation notes, summaries, weighting factors and other evaluation documents based on information supplied by the contractor but created by the Institute may be withheld under section 19 if they include references given in confidence about the contractor's suitability or confirmation of qualification. The names and position titles of employees who conducted the evaluation would not be considered personal information because they perform the assessment as part of their duties.
In response to a FOIP request, is the Institute required to create a record in a different form than that which it currently has? I.e., information contained in several databases rather than as one record?Yes, in some circumstances. When there is a formal FOIP request, section 10(2) requires a public body to create a record when it can readily do so using existing hardware and software and technical expertise. This requirement is further limited by the requirement that fulfilling this obligation should not unduly interfere with the operations of the Institute.