- 20 Jun 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/01430
Date received: 22 May 2018
Date responded: 19 June 2018
'For the period January 2017 to June 2017, information held by Transport Scotland relating to deductions made under s5.9 of the PSC with Argyll Ferries.'
I am writing with the formal response to your request.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested relating to deductions made under s5.9 of the PSC with Argyll Ferries because exemption under Section 33(1)(b), commercial interests of FOISA applies. This is in regard to financial discussions and agreement of the Contract Year 6 base case between Transport Scotland and the current operator, Argyll Ferries Limited. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
Information in scope of your request has been provided in Annex B.
Reasons for not providing information
Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest test.
Section 33(1)(b) – Commercial interests.
An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information held by Transport Scotland relating to deductions made under s5.9 of the PSC with Argyll Ferries. This exemption applies because disclosure of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Argyll Ferries Ltd.
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 Argyll Ferries Ltd to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.
Argyll Ferries Ltd operate a service under contract to the Scottish Ministers that was won following a competitive tendering exercise and also faces competition from your company, Western Ferries, for carriage of passengers. Disclosing their financial information would be likely to place Argyll Ferries Ltd, or their parent company David MacBrayne Ltd or any other subsidiary companies in the group, at a competitive disadvantage in any future tendering exercises.
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 Andrew's House