Public bidding of Scotland’s Railway Franchise and Scotrail staff satisfaction: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02669  
Date received: 24 September 2018  
Date responded: 23 October 2018
Information requested and response
Q) Any recorded information relating to the development of options for a public bid for Scotland’s railway franchise

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide this information you have requested because of an exemption under Section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.

Further information on this subject will be provided by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity at the next meeting of the Public Sector Bidder Stakeholder Reference Group meeting, due to take place on 24th October, to which Transport Spokespersons and other key transport stakeholders are invited. Information about the development of this policy was provided at previous meetings.

Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with external stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of these discussions will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public, particularly while these discussions are still ongoing and decisions have not been taken, and/or these discussions relate to a sensitive or controversial issue such as contractual information.
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, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on commercial discussions, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of decision making process, which would not be in the public interest. There is also an important public interest in avoiding the loss of stakeholder confidence in cases where they thought they were providing comments in confidence, which would be inevitable if an individual’s contribution was released against their wishes.

Q) Copies of any reports to the Scottish Ministers on public ownership of the railways.

Q) A list of the documents which have been provided to the Scottish ministers on public ownership of railways, including authors, titles and dates the documents were sent

The following report / document was provided to Scottish Ministers on 29 November 2017, the day after it was published.
 A Public Future for Scotland's Railways (2017), Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association and The Common Weal

Q) Copies of any documents which the Scottish Government hold containing details of internal reorganisation of staff within Scotrail since Abellio won the franchise in 2015
Please see in Document 1.

Q) Copies of any information which relates to:
 Scotrail staff satisfaction

Please see in Document 2.
Sickness and absence rates at Scotrail
Attached is a table from our response to your previous Freedom of Information request dated 21/11/2016 under the reference number FOI/16/01805. Recorded data for YTD for 2017 details time lost through sickness and other absence as 5.3%.
Staff satisfaction surveys carried out at Scotrail
Please see in Document 2. 
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-18-02669 Document 1
foi-18-02669 Document 2
foi-18-02669 Table


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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