Skip to main content
Menu

Budget, contracts and devices (2018)

Request

For the current financial year, or alternatively for the most recent comparable period for which the information is available, please provide the following.

  1. The total ICT budget for your organisation and an itemised list of the following.
  2. A list of the current ICT contracts and their respective suppliers. For each I would like to receive brief information on the main purpose of the contract, its cost, its start date and its duration.
  3. The number of end-user devices belonging to your organisation in each of the following categories: desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets and smartphones

 

Response

Please note that our response only deals with ICT for which the House of Commons is responsible. Some ICT is the responsibility of the House of Lords, which is a separate public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act. You may wish to consider forwarding your request directly to the House of Lords.

  1. The total ICT budget for your organisation
    This information is held by the House of Commons. For the current financial year of 2017/18, the Resource Budget for the House of Commons is £38,709K and the Capital Budget is £5,942K. Please note that this includes the General Election and Investment budget.
  2. A list of the current ICT contracts and their respective suppliers. For each I would like to receive brief information on the main purpose of the contract, its cost, its start date and its duration.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.
    A list of the current ICT contracts, including the respective suppliers, the contract description (purpose), its cost, start date and duration.
    Please note that this only covers contracts for the House of Commons or joint House of Commons and House of Lords contracts.
    The identifiers of some suppliers and the services they provide are sensitive for security reasons. This information has been withheld under the sections of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) described below.
    Section 31 (Law enforcement)
    Some of the information requested above has been withheld under section 31(1) (a) of the FOIA as the House considers the release of this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public interest test applies.
    The public interest in favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the way the House of Commons ensures its IT systems and processes are adequately robust, secure and that the spending of public money is for effective systems.
    However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of specific details of some of our IT software or suppliers could provide valuable information to those wishing to launch an attack on Parliament and as understanding of cyber security becomes more sophisticated, we are able to review and identify where specialised information could be used for exploiting potential weaknesses in the parliamentary IT security arrangements. This means that by disclosing this information, we would fail in our duty to help prevent criminal attacks on our IT network, which in turn would fail in our duty to assist those services providing us with law enforcement.
    In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
    Section 24 (National security)
    The House also considers this information exempt under section 24 (1) for the purposes of safeguarding national security. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public interest test applies.
    The public interest in favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the way the House of Commons ensures its IT systems and processes are adequately robust, secure and spending of public money is for effective systems.
    However, whilst there may be a public interest in access to this information, the countervailing argument is that the disclosure of the requested information would allow parties planning hostile attacks on Parliament to more accurately target our cyber systems (in the ways detailed above), with the aim of disrupting the proper workings of government. The disclosure of the names of the suppliers of our security software and/or details of the software itself may assist the design of attacks against the network, jeopardising the security of information which is likely to impact on national security.
    It is considered that in this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose this information as the failure of the parliamentary IT Network would risk national security being compromised.
    In addition, the name of one individual has been withheld. This information is exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
  3. A list of the number of end-user devices belonging to your organisation in each of the following categories: desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets and smartphones
    This information is held by the House of Commons. As at 18 January 2018, the number of devices belonging to the House of Commons is:
    • 6206 desktop computers
    • 4104 laptop computers
    • 1836 tablets
    • 581 smartphones