last updated: 2nd August 2011

Prices and other trading terms secured by the institution whether obtained locally, via one of the regional consortia or by access to other public contract, are obtained subject to the information being held as commercially confidential. Historically, this has meant that information provided as part of a competition should have been treated a confidential by both parties. 

With the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 from 1 January 2005, this situation has changed.  In essence, all information provided will not automatically be treated as confidential and may have to be disclosed should a question be received, under the Act, seeking the information.  The legislation has been implemented slightly differently in Scotland than in England, Scotland and Wales, therefore, it is recommended that guidance is sought from your institution's Information Records Officer before any action is taken to disclose information.

In respect of prices submitted in quotation and tender exercises, until there is case law to establish precedents, it is likely that all prices will be confidential while the exercise is underway.  When the contract has been awarded, it is possible that the value of the awarded contract will no longer be treated as confidential and that the details of the unsuccessful bids shall remain so.  This situation would reflect the expectation that the contract price (or range of prices) is published in the OJEU on completion of an EU tender exercise.

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