- 1 Nov 2018
Date received: 2 October 2018
Date responded: 30 October 2018
Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy.
Section 29(1)(b) – Ministerial communications.
An exemption under section s.29(1)(a) formulation and the development of government policy and s.29(1)(b) Ministerial communications of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. The information that applies to the exemptions above relates to discussions leading up to the decision taken by Scottish Ministers to charter the freight vessel, MV Arrow on the Northern Isles Ferry Service.
These exemptions in relation to both Section 29(1)(a) and Section 29(1)(b) are 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 exemptions. We recognise that there is some public interest in relation to releasing this information because of the financial outlay associated with chartering the vessel. However this is outweighed by the public interest in the sensitivities surrounding the decision making process / discussions with Cabinet Secretary’s leading up to these decisions being made. This means that Scottish Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously to fully understand their possible implications.
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House