Publication - FOI/EIR release

Insect Pollinators Initiative: membership of review panel and funding criteria: EIR release

Published: 31 Aug 2018

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
31 Aug 2018
Insect Pollinators Initiative: membership of review panel and funding criteria: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/18/02016
Date received: 26 July 2018 
Date responded: 22 August 2018
 
Information requested

Any information the Scottish Government may hold on the following:

  • The membership and affiliation of the review panel for the Insect Pollinators Initiative from 2010 to 2015 (the Scottish Government was a key funder).
  • The funding sources for the IPI, particularly any private funding.
  • The criteria used to decide which projects would be funded.
  • A list of projects rejected for funding.
  • Any communications between the NFU, NFUS and the IPI regarding the funding of projects, or projects funded by the IPI.

Response 

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in Annex 1 to this letter.

Some of the information you have requested is available from a website.  Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.  If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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.  Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  Additionally, disclosure of some of the information requested that we do hold would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the interests of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), who provided that information to the Scottish Government, and this information is being refused under the exception at regulation 10(5)(f) of the EIRs.  The reasons why these two exceptions apply are explained below. 

You may wish to contact the BBSRC at: Freedom of Information Officer, UK Research and Innovation, Polaris House, Swindon, SN2 1FL, or by email at: foi@ukri.org, who may be able to help you further.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information.

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) led the management of the Insect Pollinators Initiative on behalf of all the funders, and administered the grant application, assessment and awarding processes.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the Insect Pollinators Initiative, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Disclosure of information would, or be likely to, prejudice substantially the interests of BBSRC, who provided that information to the Scottish Government.

The exception at regulation 10(5)(f) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to interests of person who provided the information) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the interests of BBSRC who provided that information to the Scottish Government.  They did not supply it in circumstances in which it could, apart from the EIRs, be made available, and they have not consented to disclosure.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the interests of anyone, such as BBSRC, who provides the Scottish Government with information on a confidential basis.  

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FOI-18-02016 - related documents

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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 
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