The text of, or any functionally similar documentation describing the content of, the joint Glasgow City Council-Scottish Government ‘Disembarkation Strategy’ for the MS Ambition.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, an exemption under section 17(1) of FOISA applies as Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because there is no stand alone document outlining or describing our strategy. Rather, we are working closely with key partners from the Local Authority, Police, Social Work, and housing and homelessness to support the disembarkation of the vessel.
To do so effectively, we have stood up a Joint Assurance Review that meets regularly to assess the current situation, including risks and on-going actions. These meetings discuss operational matters and shares information that is not discussed or distributed more widely. Therefore, this is notice that an exemption under S30 (b) (ii)(free and frank exchange of views) applies to this information.
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 external stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of these discussions with our partners and key stakeholders on the disembarkation of the vessel 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, particularly while the process is still on-going and we maintain a professional working relationship with them.
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 communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s welcome accommodation and policy for displaced persons from Ukraine. This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the policy making process, which would not be in the public interest.
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
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