Best use of public services and early PFI and Directors: FOI release

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

Information requested

  1. All letters to any Directors associated with the buyout and Scottish Government.
  2. Copies of any communication between any member of the Persons who might have assisted with the request between November 2022 and March 2023.


  1. Under section 14(2) we do not have to comply with a FOI request which is identical or substantially similar to a request from the same requester where we have already provided a response. We provided a response to this on 20 December 2022 - Reference 202200331936.
  2. I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in the Annex.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information that you have requested because exemptions under sections s.30(b)(i) (Free and frank provision of advice), s.30(b)(ii) (Free and frank exchange of views), section s.38(1)(b) (personal information) and section s.25 (information otherwise accessible) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions applies are explained below.


s.30(b)(i) (Free and frank provision of advice), and s.30(b)(ii) (Free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to some of the information. 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 this matter will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly where discussions are still ongoing.

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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s response to public correspondence. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, 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.

s.38(1)(b) (personal information) regulates the relationship between FOISA, the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

s.25 (information otherwise accessible) exempts information from disclosure where the requester can reasonably obtain the information without making a request for it.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

Annex - 202300348899


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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