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ICT expenditure

This Freedom of Information request asks for details about our ICT expenditure.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI18842


Thank you for your email of 30 July 2018, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, as set out in the extract below:

This is a freedom of information request. Please could you provide me with information about your organisation’s ICT expenditure as detailed in the attached template.
I have tried to find this information in your organisation’s published data, but was unable to find the level detail I require.
I fully expect that you may not be able to provide all the information I am looking for. If this is the case, please provide me with as much information as you can within  the template. For example: you may be able to sub-totals for some categories, or provide information for only for certain years.

Please return the information in the template as an Excel (.xlsx) file – not in another format (e.g. PDF).

Our response

I confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold some of the information you have requested.  A copy of the ICT expenditure information (xls), which can be disclosed, is attached in the format you requested.

Where the information is not held this is detailed in the spreadsheet.  Information that is exempt from disclosure is explained below:

We are unable to provide the ICT expenditure against all the software subcategory headings referred to in your spreadsheet.   For software costs we looked at individual costs above £40k on the basis of materiality as this figure represented approximately 0.5% of the total software/hosting budget. We estimate that the time spent to extract the information at the level you have requested will exceed a period of 18 hours, we are therefore entitled to not provide the information pursuant to section 12(1) of the FOIA (where the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit, which is set at £450 (18 hours).

You requested information regarding Ordnance Surveys ICT budget for 2018/19 (Column F on the attached spreadsheet). I can confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold this information however, we are not providing this information, as we consider it to be exempt from disclosure under section 43 of the FOIA, as explained below.

Section 43(2) Prejudice to commercial interests
Under section 43(2) of the FOIA, information is exempt if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person.

By providing this information it provides an indication of where the business is looking to strategically move and may provide competing companies with an advantage over us if they are aware of our budget constraints.  This information is not already in the public domain and is not information which will be reported externally.

This is a qualified exemption and we are required to consider the public interest.

Public interest test
Ordnance Survey recognises the need for transparency.  However, this must be balanced against the public interest in allowing the organisation to protect its commercial information and not place itself at a disadvantage in the competitive market in which it operates.  Section 43(2) is a prejudice based exemption, and there is a public interest inherent in avoiding the harm specified.  Ordnance Survey considers that the prejudice would be likely to occur and would be likely to have a negative impact on our commercial performance therefore we are satisfied that there is a greater public interest in withholding the information under this exemption.

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.  If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within two months of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Contact us via our FoI form

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal, within three months of receiving our response, with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information can be found on the ICO website ( under ‘Report a concern’ or you may wish to call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.