Publication - FOI/EIR release

Projects included in the Glasgow City Region Deal: FOI release

Published: 7 Dec 2018

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

Published:
7 Dec 2018
Projects included in the Glasgow City Region Deal: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02813
Date received: 5 October 2018
Date responded: 12 November 2018
 
Information requested
 
You made 27 separate Freedom of Information requests asking for any Scottish Government correspondence between January 2013 and August 2014, either internal or external, specifically concerning the various projects included in the Glasgow City Region Deal.
 
Response
 

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. Given the nature of the correspondence and your individual requests, the information is contained in various PDF files. I apologise that in this instance we did not meet the required timeframe for reply.

Three of the files constitute a core response to all of the 27 individual requests, as all of the Glasgow City Region Deal projects are generally discussed within them as a package. These files have been labelled as:

  • Core Response 1
  • Core Response 2
  • Core Innovation

For ease of reference and due to the quantity of documentation being released, I have attached separately a schedule of documents.  This clearly details which documents are being released and which documents are exempt – highlighting the exemptions as necessary.  

Where additional correspondence was available and exclusive to a particular project, an additional PDF file has been attached and named with both the project name and reference number. These are also listed in the schedule of documents, along with a table clarifying which files belong to which specific request.

It should also be noted that some correspondence appeared in our searches multiple times, for example an attachment included in various emails. This correspondence has only been included once within the release.

Some of the information you have requested is currently available to view within the overall Glasgow City Region Deal document. This can be found at the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/city-deal-glasgow-and-clyde-valley

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.  If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested. This is because the exemptions listed below apply to that information. 

  • Section 28(1) – relations within the UK, in relation to communications between the Scottish Government and another UK administration;
  • Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice, in relation to Cabinet/Ministerial/official discussions and policy formulation/development;
  • Section 38(1)(b) – personal information.

The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information 

Section 28(1) - relations within the UK, in relation to communications between the SG and another UK administration.

An exemption under section 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the UK) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantial relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. It is essential for the effective administration of the  UK as a whole that there should be regular, and often private, communications between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the other devolved administrations. The release of these communications about the Glasgow City Region Deal will mean that the UK Government is likely to be more reluctant to share such information with the Scottish Government in future, which would reduce both the frequency and openness of communications between the Scottish Government and other UK administrations.

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 maintaining good relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government and in protecting the free exchange of information between the administrations to ensure that we keep each other fully and regularly informed about matters of mutual interest, such as the Glasgow City Region Deal. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt future communications.

Section 30(b)(i) - free and frank provision of advice for the purposes of deliberation, in relation to Cabinet/Ministerial/official discussions and policy formulation/development.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.  Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on the Glasgow City Region Deal will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.

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 a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on the City Deal Projects until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest. 

Other information redacted from released documents: 38(1)(b) of FOISA - personal information.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie email addresses and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data  Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the  exemption.

About FOI

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

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