Publication - FOI/EIR release

Communications between Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. and CalMac: FOI release

Published: 30 Oct 2018

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
30 Oct 2018
Communications between Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. and CalMac: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02469  
Date received: 12 September 2018  
Date responded: 24 October 2018
 
Information requested
 

Please provide me with a copy of all correspondence, minutes and discussions, during the last 6 months, between (a) Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and (b) Transport Scotland and CalMac, regarding the case for funding to “tackle obsolescence on the vessels, which would take the ferry out of service for an extended period of time.

Please include copies of the business case made by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and CalMac to the Scottish Government to secure the £3.5 million in funding.
 
Response
 
We have identified information within the scope of your request and this is detailed in Annex A.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under Section 30 (b)(ii), free and frank exchange of views and Section 33(1)(b), commercial interests, of FOISA applies. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
 
Reasons for not providing information
 
Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest tests.

Section 30(b)(ii) - free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with stakeholders, in this case Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and CalMac Ferries Ltd. Disclosing the content of these discussions will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public.

Public interest test.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing officials and stakeholders a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders. 

We consider, therefore, on balance, that the public interest in release is outweighed by that in favour of upholding the exemptions.

Section 33(1)(b) - Commercial interests.

The Section 33(1)(b) exemption applies to a small amount of the information because the release of certain financial information relating to the Clyde and Hebrides ferry service contract and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd’s vessel maintenance regime would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of both CalMac Ferries Ltd and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd.

Public interest test.

We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, we consider that there is a greater public interest in ensuring that we avoid significant harm to the commercial interests of CalMac Ferries Ltd and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. There is also a strong public interest in ensuring that Transport Scotland / Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd are able to secure best value for the public purse.

We consider, therefore, on balance, that the public interest in release is outweighed by that in favour of upholding the exemptions.
 
About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses athttp://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

foi-18-02469 Annex A

34 page PDF
468.4 kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3DG