In your news columns on 11 February (page 11), you reiterated Rudi Klein’s views that the Freedom of Information Act enables contractors and subcontractors who lose out on public sector projects to discover the value of rival bids and find out what criteria were used to evaluate them.
In fact, for projects over about £3.5m, they have been able to do this for may years now under provisions within the UK enactment of the European Union public procurement directives. Where the FOI Act will make a difference, however, is that public authorities are likely to be ever more careful of following the procedures laid down in the directives, for fear of being exposed by the press. The only downside I can see is if the pages of your excellent magazine become clogged with reproductions of letters and emails etc, at the expense of the high-quality journalism for which you are renowned.
Graham Stow, DRA Bristol
… and losing stuff
Many construction companies are failing to recognise the implications that the FOI Act will have on the industry. Now that the 1 January deadline has passed, I hope that those affected don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to the demands and requirements and instead recognise the role that technology can play in ensuring that all documents are stored effectively and are readily available to be presented within the defined 20-day response time.
Liz Maloney, Hummingbird UK