Why did the DWP and Atos not want to release details of a £47m deal?

The Department of Work and Pensions is being forced to reveal some of the details of a £47m Gateway contract with Atos Origin.

Peter Collingbourne made a request for details of the contract in December 2007, and some of the requested details were released. Other parts were refused because the DWP argued that releasing the details would damage it own and Atos’ commercial interests.

Collingbourne, who from what we can work out, is a Phd student in a department of Computing at Imperial college is a serial FOI requester. Here are his requests.

A tribunal has now ruled that many of the previously withheld details, apart from the
financial model and the location and specification of the Atos data centre, will now be released.

Atos was the sole bidder for the contract. Does anybody know why the information was requested in the first place and what could be interested.

The DWP has 30 days, from 20 September, to provide the information.

Here is a story about this on Out-Law.com

 

Here is the ruling

 

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Why was the information requested? I'd hazard a predictable guess that the driver is the way Atos is treating disabled people being assessed as to their eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance. It's hardly a revelation that the LIMA software that's been developed for the Work Capability Assessment is being misused by Atos 'healthcare professionals' and it's inflexibility is frequently commented on at appeals tribunals. So Atos were the only bidders for the tender? Given their miserable track record (as described by the social security advisory committee) the question has to be why didn't the previous government put the whole thing out to tender again as Atos were guaranteed to create a dog's breakfast?

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