Publication - FOI/EIR release

Abellio ScotRail modelling and outcomes - Transport Scotland, Cabinet Secretary correspondence: EIR release

Published: 4 Apr 2019

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
4 Apr 2019
Abellio ScotRail modelling and outcomes - Transport Scotland, Cabinet Secretary correspondence: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00742
Date received: 12 Mar 2019
Date responded: 2 Apr 2019
Information requested

1. Sufficient detail to allow access to all of the facts, modelling and decision outcomes (Abellio ScotRail undertook to reach the December 2018 timetable proposals)
2. Copies of all meetings/ discussions/ minutes in developing response and those received to date, including all correspondence between Transport Scotland / organisation and Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Response to your request
In response to your point 1 above, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in Annex A to this letter.

However, you may wish to contact Abellio ScotRail at www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/contact-us who may be able to help you.
In response to your point 2 above, I have prepared the enclosed table in Annex B which lists the documents relevant to your information request. Annex C is then the information relating to this summary table.
Some text has been redacted from the information relevant to your request which in contained in Annex C.

Reasons for not providing information - including Annex A
The Scottish Government does not have the information

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because the Scottish Government is not responsible for the information relating to the facts, modelling and decision outcomes that Abellio ScotRail undertook to reach the December 2018 timetable proposals.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in the facts, modelling and decision outcomes undertaken by Abellio ScotRail clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
The following two exemptions have been applied:-

Regulation 10(4)(e) – internal communications

An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is internal communication between Scottish Government Ministers and/or officials about the handling of correspondence being issued.
This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on the handling of correspondence will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that issue while it is still under discussion and development.

Regulation 11(2) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of some the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

Each document relevant to your information request has been clearly marked to show what exemption has been applied to the text that has been redacted.

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.

FOI-19-00742 Annex B and C

52 page PDF
1.2 MB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG