Publication - FOI/EIR release

Meeting between Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Raytheon UK: FOI release

Published: 10 Aug 2018

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

Published:
10 Aug 2018
Meeting between Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Raytheon UK: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01952
Date received: 19 July 2018
Date responded: 10 August 2018

Information requested

Any agendas and minutes of the meeting between Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Raytheon UK on 16/01/2018, including any letters, emails, briefings, and notes of conversations (including telephone) pertaining to the meeting.

Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested in the format you asked for.

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) 30(b)(i), 30(b)(ii), 33(1)(b) and 38(1)(b) (of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some 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.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.

Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position which will be given in whatever final briefing is used. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material on organisation's interactions and conversations with Scottish Government and their agencies will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to a sensitive issue such as their involvement in on going working group.

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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. 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 a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views to Ministers in briefing. It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly understand the circumstances surrounding a meeting. They need full and candid advice from officials to enable them to do so. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Raytheon Systems Ltd. Disclosing this information would be likely to give Raytheon's competitors an advantage in future similar technology field and markets, which would substantially prejudice Raytheon's commercial business. 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. 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 ensuring that information is not disclosed which could benefit the competitors of Scottish based businesses and impact their ability to contribute to Scotland's economy.

About FOI

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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