Correspondence with the management of Highland Spring: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01580
Date received: 5 July 2017
Date responded: 20 July 2017

Information requested

I would like to know more about the nature of the contact between the Scottish Government and the management of Highland Spring following the publicised comments by Les Montgomery of that company in respect to the potential threat of an independence referendum affecting business confidence.

Specifically, who made the contact, was it by phone, email or in person, what was the purpose of the contact and what was said to the company. We're any threats made to the company to encourage them to keep quiet about this subject? I would like to see the file note of the contact.


There is no file note that records the phone calls with Highland Spring. However I can confirm that the Cabinet Secretary's Private Office staff called Mr Montgomery's office to offer him the opportunity to meet with Mr Brown. The phone calls were all of a logistical nature around setting up a meeting.

I have included an email sent to Highland Spring following their initial response to the contact from the Private Office. There were no further emails.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. No file note was created on our contact with Highland Spring.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information:

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because no file note was created of the contact with Highland Spring. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

An exemption applies:

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, i.e. names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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

FOI-17-01580-email correspondence Highland Spring.pdf


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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