Publication - FOI/EIR release

Transport Scotland and Gemini Rail Group correspondence - Glasgow Railway Works: FOI release

Published: 29 Jul 2019

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

Published:
29 Jul 2019
Transport Scotland and Gemini Rail Group correspondence - Glasgow Railway Works: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01472
Date received: 18 Jun 2019
Date responded: 25 Jul 2019
Information requested
  • Any communications since January 2018 between the Transport Scotland and Gemini Rail Group, Mutares or Knorr-Bremse regarding the Glasgow Railway Works (also known as St Rollox, the "Caley", the Caledonian Railway Works and the Springburn Works).
  • Any communications since January 2018 between Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government regarding the Glasgow Railway Works (also known as St Rollox, the "Caley", the Caledonian Railway Works and the Springburn Works).
Response

Please find attached documents relevant to your information request in the Annex appended to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice

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 Gemini 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 considering the Government’s position on Gemini, 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.

Section 33(1)(b) – commercial interests

Under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of previous potential interested parties in the site.

Disclosing this information would be likely to give potential competitors of similar sites an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice previous potential interested parties in the site ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which enter into Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

Section 38(1)(b) – personal information

Under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details of individuals 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.

A small amount of the information redacted in the Annex is against the following exemptions:-

Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice;
Section 33(1)(b) (commercial interests).

and this has been clearly marked up in the documents so you can identify where the above two exemptions have been applied to information relevant to your information request. 

All other remaining redacted information has been redacted against section 38(1)(b)(personal information). 

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 Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG