Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence regarding adjustments to performance benchmarks in ScotRail franchise: FOI release

Published: 29 Oct 2018

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

Published:
29 Oct 2018
Correspondence regarding adjustments to performance benchmarks in ScotRail franchise: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02719 
Date received: 26 September 2018 
Date responded: 24 October 2018
 
Information requested 
 
  • A copy of  all  correspondence between  Transport Scotland and  ScotRail regarding adjustments to the performance benchmarks set out in the ScotRail franchise.
  • A copy of all correspondence between Transport Scotland officials and the Scottish Government on this subject.
Any other documentation Transport Scotland hold regarding the decision to adjust the breach performance benchmark.
 
Response
 
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.
 

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
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 under section 36 (1) Legal Advice of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.
 
Additionally we have redacted some of the information contained within the documents you have requested because of:
 
  • An exemption under section 30 (b) (ii) - free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation in relation to internal communications;
  • Data Protection Act; and
  • Paragraphs are out with the scope of the request.
 
The reasons why the exemptions applies are explained below.
 
Reasons for not providing information
 
Exemptions apply, subiect to the public interest test.
 
An exemption under section 30 (b) (ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information you have requested. 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 and officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options.

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 as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's position until the Government as 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, such as that provided by ScotRail.
 
An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality in legal proceedings) applies to all of the information requested because it is legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.

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 some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this, is outweighed by the strong public  interest in   maintaining  the right  to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients. to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence. like any other public or private organisation.
 
About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

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