Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence in relation to CMAL being sued by Ferguson Marine: FOI release

Published: 19 Nov 2018

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

Published:
19 Nov 2018
Correspondence in relation to CMAL being sued by Ferguson Marine: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02684
Date received: 1 November 2018
Date responded: 28 November 2018
 
Information requested
 

Any correspondence (emails, typed or handwritten notes, letters, phone calls, minutes of meetings, documents or otherwise) between Scottish Government ministers, senior civil servants, special advisers or Scottish Government senior lawyers on the topic of CMAL being sued by Ferguson Shipyard/Ferguson Marine/Jim McColl within the last three months.

Response
 
We have identified information within the scope of your request which is contained in Annex A to this letter. 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 exemptions under section 30 (b)(ii), free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, and Section 33 (1)(b), commercial interests, of FOISA apply. The reasons why this exemption applies are explained below.
 

Reasons for not providing information

Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest test.

Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank provision of 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 and discussion. These exemptions recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with colleagues and stakeholders, in this case Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd. 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.

Public interest test.

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 officials and stakeholders a private space within which to communicate with appropriate colleagues and external stakeholders.

We consider, therefore, on balance, that the public interest in release is outweighed by that in favour of upholding the exemptions.

Section 33 (1)(b) – Commercial interests.

The Section 33 (1)(b) exemption applies to a small amount of the information because the release of certain financial information relating to the shipbuilding contracts between Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of those companies.

Public interest test.

We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, we consider that there is a greater public interest in ensuring that we avoid significant harm to the commercial interests of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd or Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd.

We consider, therefore, on balance, that the public interest in release is outweighed by that in favour of upholding the exemptions.

 

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