In response to a freedom of information request, the National Records Office of Scotland says that the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) does not not have a view on whether sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, intimidation by dogs and the enforcement of stress positions are human rights abuses.

GROS obviously doesn’t know right from wrong.

The National Records Office of Scotland is a new body created on 1 April 2011 by the merging of the General Register Office for Scotland with the National Archives of Scotland.

The National Records Office also says that Scottish Ministers weren’t informed until 12 June 2008 of the Registrar General’s decision to give the census contract to CACI - just 5 days before the contract award was announced. And it says that Scottish Ministers asked only that GROS “explore the scope of reducing CACI (UK)’s involvement, particularly with personal census data, to the absolute minimum consistent with the contract.” It seems that GROS was never asked by Scottish Minsters to reconsider its decision or to explore the possibility of cancelling the contract.

It’s now clear that the procurement process, and the handling of subsequent public concerns, has been scandalously negligent and arrogant and that no serious consideration was ever given to the possibility of excluding CACI because of its involvement in Abu Ghraib. A full investigation into the scandal is needed.

And everyone who has refused to cooperate with the census because of this scandal needs to stay firm.

I’ll be making a further freedom of information request to clarify the timeline leading to the contract award and the legal advice received by GROS. I’ll also be asking National Records Office to conduct a review (as provided for by the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) ) into their responses to some of the questions – Richard

 

Freedom of Information response from the National Records Office of Scotland

National Records Office of Scotland
Census Division
Ladywell House
Ladywell Road
Edinburgh EH12 7TF
Date 4 May 2011
FOI /11/00424

Dear Mr Haley
Thank you for your request dated 1 April 2011 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information relating to “Census contract and related matters”

Please see the response below to your questions.

Question 1
What contracts has GROS awarded to CACI Ltd since 1 January 2000? In each case, please let me know the date of the contract award, its duration, its value and its purpose.
Answer.
One: the contract for the supply of Internet services, Printing, Paper Data Capture & Coding services for the 2011 Census.
This was awarded in June 2008, with a value of £18.5 million, and is scheduled for completion and final de-commission of the services in April 2012.

Question 2.
To which companies, individuals or organisations has GROS contracted public relations, media relations or publicity work in relation to Scotland’s 2011 census? In each case, please let me know the date of the contract award, its duration, its value and its purpose.
Answer.
PR/media contracts for the 2011 Census have been awarded as follows:
Big Partnership – PR Services, value £150k, Sept 2009- May 2011
The Gate – Creative Advertising, value £450k , Oct 2009-May 2011
Mediacom – Media Buying, value £750k, April 2008-May 2011.

Question 3.
What discussions or communications occurred between GROS and Scottish Ministers before and during the census procurement process regarding concerns previously expressed by the SNP and others over the involvement of Lockheed Martin in the UK Census?
Answer.
None.

Question 4.
What requirements relating to human rights considerations (including privacy/protection of census data, and also contractors’ record of compliance with human rights norms) were included in GROS’s specifications for the contract for work on Scotland’s 2011 census?
Answer.
In the SoR (Statement of Requirements) for the 2011 Census, GROS had many requirements relating to privacy/protection of census data.

Question 5.
What policy, if any, did GROS adopt on the possible use (either in issuing invitations to tender or in evaluating bids) of Section 23 (4) (d) of the Public Contracts
Scotland Regulations 2006 and Article 45 2(d) of EU Directive 2004/18/EC, both of which give discretionary power to a contracting authority to exclude a bidder that has committed an act of grave misconduct?
Answer.
GROS policy is to comply with all sections of EU Directive 2004/18/EC at all times. The Registrar General’s letter to you of 19 April 2011 provided specific information on the use of the particular clauses you mention.

Question 6.
What other steps did GROS take in order to include human rights considerations (including privacy/protection of census data, and also contractors’ record of compliance with human rights norms) in the selection process?
Answer.
None: The SoR was considered the proper vehicle for a matter of this importance and formality, to ensure compliance with legislation.

Question 7.
What discussions or communications did GROS have with Scottish Ministers, other Scottish Government departments, or the UK’s Office for National Statistics regarding the inclusion of human rights considerations (including privacy/protection of census data, and also contractors’ record of compliance with human rights norms)) in the procurement process for Scotland’s 2011 census?
Answer.
GROS discussed with ONS the detailed arrangements to protect Census data, and sought legal and procurement advice from the relevant experts in the Scottish Government to ensure that the requirements of the EU Directive were met.

Question 8.
On what date did GROS receive a bid from CACI Ltd for the 2011 census?
Answer.
11 April 2008.

Question 9.
Besides CACI Ltd, which companies were given an Invitation to Tender, and from which companies were bids received?
Answer.
The requirements for the Census were split into various Lots, and the Invitation to Tender was issued to;
CACI (UK) Ltd (Lots 1 to 3 only) – Bid Received
Fujitsu (Withdrew following the Open Supplier meeting)
UK Data Capture Ltd (Withdrew)
T Systems Ltd – Bid Received
LogicaCMG UK Ltd – Bid Received
Lockheed Martin UK Ltd – Bid Received
Royal Mail Group Ltd (Lot 4 only) – Bid Received
Teleperformance Ltd (Lot 5 only) (Withdrew following the Open Supplier meeting).

Question 10.
By what means, and on what date, did GROS discover that CACI International had employed interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison?

Answer.
CACI (UK) Ltd informed GROS of this fact orally during a meeting in early May 2008.

Question 11.
By what means, and on what date, did GROS discover that lawsuits had been brought against CACI International by former Abu Ghraib prisoners?
Answer.
CACI (UK) Ltd informed GROS of this fact orally during a meeting in early May 2008.

Question 12.
Were Scottish Ministers informed, in advance of GROS’s selection of the census contractor, that GROS was minded to select CACI Ltd? If so, on what date was this done?
Answer.
No. This was a decision for the Registrar General.

Question 13.
On what date did GROS inform Scottish Ministers about CACI’s involvement with Abu Ghraib?
Answer.
Ministers were informed on 12 June 2008 that the Registrar General had decided to award the contract, which was subsequently announced on 17 June 2008, and that CACI (UK) Ltd had been criticised for its involvement in interrogation during the Iraq war.

Question 14.
On what date did GROS select CACI Ltd for the census contract?
Answer.
The recommendation to appoint CACI (UK) Ltd as Preferred Bidder was approved by Census Programme Board on 20 May 2008.

Question 15.
On what date was the selection approved by Scottish Ministers?
Answer.
The selection was not approved by Scottish Ministers: it was a decision for the Registrar General.

Question 16.
Does GROS take the view that prolonged or indefinite detention without legal recourse is a human rights abuse? Had GROS arrived at a view on this matter at the time of the contract award?

Answer.
These are not matters on which GROS had, or has, a view: we rely on judicial proof of the existence of human rights abuse. We have repeatedly made clear that we would never be a party to a contract with any company convicted of human rights abuses.

Question 17.
Does GROS take the view that sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, intimidation by dogs and the enforcement of stress positions are human rights abuses? Had GROS arrived at views on these matters at the time of the contract award?
Answer.
These are not matters on which GROS had, or has, a view: we rely on judicial proof of the existence of human rights abuse. We have repeatedly made clear that we would never be a party to a contract with any company convicted of human rights abuses.

Question 18.
Does GROS take the view that participation in the operation of a prison where the above practices are known to be in use amounts to involvement in in human rights abuses? Had GROS arrived at views on these matters at the time of the contract award?

Answer.
These are not matters on which GROS had, or has, a view: we rely on judicial proof of the existence of human rights abuse. We have repeatedly made clear that we would never be a party to a contract with any company convicted of human rights abuses.

Question 19.
Does GROS take the view that ordering, advising, recommending or encouraging abusive treatment is an abuse? Had GROS arrived at views on these matters at the time of the contract award?
Answer.
These are not matters on which GROS had, or has, a view: we rely on judicial proof of the existence of human rights abuse. We have repeatedly made clear that we would never be a party to a contract with any company convicted of human rights abuses.

Question 20.
Does GROS take the view that employing staff in a situation in which they are involved in human rights abuses amounts, at the very least, to professional misconduct? Had GROS arrived at views on these matters at the time of the contract award?

Answer.
These are not matters on which GROS had, or has, a view: we rely on judicial proof of the existence of human rights abuse. We have repeatedly made clear that we would never be a party to a contract with any company convicted of human rights abuses.

Question 21.
In evaluating CACI’s bid, what steps did GROS take to determine whether the established facts about Abu Ghraib and CACI’s involvement in it amounted to proof of professional misconduct, as provided for by Section 23 (4) (d) of the Public Contracts Scotland Regulations 2006 and Article 45 2(d) of EU Directive 2004/18/EC?
Answer.
GROS sought to confirm whether CACI (UK) Ltd’s involvement in human rights abuses had been established and had led to a judicial determination.

Question 22
In evaluating CACI’s bid, did GROS examine the published documents relating to the lawsuits brought against CACI by former prisoners with a view to determining whether they might be capable of proving professional misconduct, as provided for by Section 23 (4) (d) of the Public Contracts Scotland Regulations 2006 and Article 45 2(d) of EU Directive 2004/18/EC? Did GROS seek further evidence from the legal representatives of the former prisoners?
Answer.
No. that is a matter for judicial determination.

Question 23.
a) On what basis did GROS say, in a Freedom of Information response given in October 2008 (your ref GROS/11/32/01), that “the law suits against the company, raised by Iraqi civilians 4 years ago and renewed recently, have not proceeded”?
b) How does GROS now reconcile this statement with the fact that the cases have continued to progress through the US legal system?

Answer.
a) That was GROS’s understanding at that time.
b) The cases have still not proceeded to a judicial determination.

Question 24.
Has GROS at any time entered into an agreement (either as part of the census contract or as a separate agreement) with CACI regarding the way that GROS may publicly describe CACI’s involvement with Abu Ghraib, and/or the allegations against CACI and/or legal actions arising from them? If so, what were the terms of the agreement or agreements?

Answer.
No such agreement exists.

Question 25.
Insofar as it is not covered by the answer to the previous question, what guidance, instructions or suggestions has CACI provided to GROS regarding the way that GROS should publicly describe CACI’s involvement with Abu Ghraib, and/or the allegations against CACI and/or legal actions arising from them?
Answer.
CACI (UK) Ltd provided background material to allow GROS to reply fully to questions put to us, by you and others, in relation to the Census contract.

Question 26.
What guidance, instructions or suggestions on these matters has GROS received from sources other than CACI, and what were the sources?

Answer.
GROS has consulted its PR agency when drafting replies and providing information to the media and stakeholders, which includes newsletters, websites and specialist publications.

Question 27.
On what basis did the Registrar General, Duncan Macniven, state to the Sunday Herald (in an interview published on 27 March 2011) in relation to legal action against CACI in the US, that “it seems to me the evidence was not enough to prove the case”?
Answer.
The lack of a judicial determination.

Question 28.
Following public expressions of disquiet at the award of the census contract to CACI Ltd, what steps, if any, did Scottish Ministers ask GROS to take?

Answer.
Ministers asked the Registrar General to explore the scope of reducing CACI (UK)’s involvement, particularly with personal census data, to the absolute minimum consistent with the contract. This resulted in the formation of GROS’s Operational Management Team at the processing site.

Question 29.
What efforts, if any, did GROS make to terminate the contract by mutual agreement with CACI?
Answer.
None.

Question 30.
What steps, if any, did GROS take to determine whether information previously supplied by CACI was accurate, fair and fit for purpose? What conclusion did GROS reach?
Answer.
GROS checked, and continues to check, the information provided by CACI (UK) Ltd against published evidence relating to the allegations against the company – bearing in mind that judicial proof of the existence of human rights abuse is required.

Question 31.
What legal advice did GROS obtain regarding the possible cancellation of the contract?
Answer.
GROS obtained legal and procurement advice from the relevant experts in the Scottish Government regarding the EU Procurement Directives and the implications of a decision not to award based on unproven allegations.

Question 32.
Has GROS been informed, at any time from 1 January 2009 to the present, that lawyers acting for CACI Ltd or CACI International might write to media outlets, organisations or individuals in relation to possible legal action over criticism of the company, or intended doing so or had done so? If so, please give details.
Answer.
No.

Question 33.
Has GROS, or companies or individuals contracted to GROS, been in communication with any media outlets regarding advertisements from other parties or editorial content that might appear in media carrying advertisements for the 2011 census? If so, please give details.
Answer.
In February and March 2011, GROS and its PR agency held extensive discussions with media outlets to ensure that the census was well-publicised. These discussions did not mention CACI (UK) Ltd or its US parent.

Question 34.
Has CACI Ltd or CACI International been consulted in relation to your response to this Freedom of Information request? If so, what changes, if any, have been made as a result of the consultation?
Answer.
CACI (UK) Ltd have not been consulted.

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