- 5 Mar 2020
Date received: 12 Feb 2020
Date responded: 4 Mar 2020
“I understand that the ESF and ERDF programmes in Scotland have both been forced into a period of suspension following an audit by the European Commission on Scottish Government in their capacity as Managing Authority.
Can you please provide the following specific pieces of information:
1. Audit report(s) which outline the reasons for pre-suspension and subsequent suspension.
2. Summary of the key findings of the audit report(s) issued internally.
3. Scottish Govt written response(s) submitted to the auditors.”
Please see below for an individual response to the three requests noted above.
1. As instructed by the European Commission (EC), the content of the audit reports is confidential. Please note the statement within the report from the EC reads “I request that you treat the enclosed final audit report as confidential.” Release of the reports and the content within are therefore exempt under Section 26 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). (Further information regarding Section 26 can be found in Annex A of this letter).
2. Section 26 of the act applies to this part of your requests also for the same reasons as noted above.
3. It is estimate that the scope of your request covers over 400 documents/emails within European Structural Funds and State Aid Division relating to the audit reports. This does not take into account the emails/correspondence between Internal Audit Directorate colleagues and the European Commission auditors. Section 12 (1) of the act permits a public authority to not disclose information if complying with the request would exceed the upper cost limit. (Further information regarding Section 12 (1) can again be found in Annex A).
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
Section 26 - Prohibitions on disclosure Information is exempt information if its disclosure by a Scottish public authority (otherwise than under this Act)— (a)is prohibited by or under an enactment; (b)is incompatible with European Union obligation; or (c)would constitute, or be punishable as, a contempt of court Section 12 (1) – Excessive cost of compliance Section 1(1) does not oblige a Scottish public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed such amount as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Scottish Ministers; and different amounts may be so prescribed in relation to different cases NOTE: The Freedom of Information (Fees for Required Disclosure) (Scotland) Regulation 2004 define the upper cost limit for the purposes of section 12(1) to be £600
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House