Vosa is still refusing to tell The Hub why an authorised testing facility (ATF) operator brought a claim of contractual breach against it in respect of provision of testing staff.

Earlier this month, it turned down a request we submitted under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act asking the agency who the ATF operator was, and what the circumstances and outcome of the claim were.

Vosa said the information we had requested would “identify commercially sensitive information relating to a specific ATF” and that it was therefore not obliged to provide it.

Vosa justified this by citing Section 43(2) of the FOI Act, suggesting that information is exempt from the requirement to disclose if disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person, including the public authority holding it.

We subsequently submitted a further FOI request along similar lines but omitting the crucial question about who the ATF operator was, to see if that would make any difference.

Sadly, it didn’t.

In its latest refusal, Vosa told us that “release of information which would identify the details of the procedures and negotiations undertaken would be commercially detrimental to both Vosa and the ATF operator”, again citing Section 43(2) of the act.

We can’t see how an unnamed ATF operator could possibly be affected by the anonymised details of their claim coming out, but we can understand why Vosa might find it embarrassing – especially in view of its own recent efforts to crack the contractual whip in various ways over errant ATF operators.

However, we reckon it’s very much in the commercial interests of the 350-plus ATFs now operating around the country to get to the bottom of why this particular ATF operator brought their claim over the provision of testing staff by Vosa, and how that claim was resolved.

If you can shed any light on the matter please email robinmeczes@googlemail.com. All information provided will be treated in strictest confidence.