Information and correspondence regarding the chartering of MV Arrow: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02755  
Date received: 2 October 2018
Date responded: 30 October 2018
Information requested
Could you please supply the following information; All emails, file notes and reports regarding the chartering of mv Arrow. This should include emails between CMAL, Transport Scotland and the relevant Ministers. Time frame : January 2018- current.
Please find enclosed some of the information you have requested, which has been included as an attachment alongside this response. 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 29(1)(a) formulation and the development of government policy and section 29(1)(b) Ministerial communications of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.

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.
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foi-18-02755 Information requested


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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