Publication - FOI/EIR release

Alternative accommodation costs during Bute House work: FOI release

Published: 27 Jun 2018

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

Published:
27 Jun 2018
Alternative accommodation costs during Bute House work: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01503
Date received: 28 May 2018
Date responded: 26 June 2018

Information requested

Please supply all items of information held in relation to the £19,220.93 of costs associated with providing the First Minister with alternative accommodation during works at Bute House in 2017 and 2018.

The costs are broken down in the final table of this document: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0053/00534205.pdf

[Web reference shown with full table] https://news.gov.scot/resources/bute-house-repairs-and-maintenance-transparency-data-14-april-2018

Item Amount
Fees for property search and valuation advice £4,338.34
Legal fees to secure a 5 month letting arrangement £3,873.36
Rent from early November to early April £11,008.59
Total £19,220.29

This should include, but not be limited to, all information contained in all contracts, agreements, leases, bills and invoices, as well as in all associated correspondence.

The names and addresses of all suppliers and properties should be included unredacted.

Response

The legal fees were paid to Morton Fraser LLP, total fees for professional services were £3,873.60.

The property search was carried out by Rettie & Co at a cost of £2,160.

The valuation service was provided by Valuation Office Agency at a cost of £2,178.34.

The Rent paid to the private rental owner was £11,008.59.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the address of the privately owned Edinburgh New Town two bedroom flat because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to the information requested because it is personal data of a third party – i.e. names of individual employees, and the private shared address of individuals. Disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. 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.

We have provided a partially redacted rental contract and acceptance letter is attached as a pdf. This document is redacted because an exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information you have requested because its disclosure would, or be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organisation. This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, we have considered whether or not 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 public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, however, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that the affected party is able to maintain its ability to conduct private commercial activity.

In addition, an exemption under section 39(1) of FOISA applies to some of the redacted information information you have requested because its disclosure would, or would be likely to endanger the physical or mental health or the safety of an individuals. In this case (a) a well-founded apprehension of risk of the shared private address of individuals being identified by others as an 'alternative address' for the First Minister, and identified as an address or route for communication with the First Minister (in person or via mail or packages); (b) a well-founded risk of the shared private address of individuals being subject to public, media or tourist intrusion which would impact on the mental health or safety of individuals resident at that private address; and (c) a well-founded apprehension of risk that the release of security protocol information would endanger the safety of the First Minister, and Scottish Government staff and contractors. This exemption is also 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. While we recognise that there is some public interest in release of this information in order to promote openness, there is a much greater public interest in avoiding significant risks to the safety of individuals.

About FOI

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FOI - 18 - 01503 - Lease offer.pdf

10 page PDF
373.0 kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG