Publication - FOI/EIR release

Director of Economic Development and Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited correspondence: FOI review

Published: 22 Jul 2019

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

Published:
22 Jul 2019
Director of Economic Development and Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited correspondence: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/19/01287 Review
Date received: 20 Jun 2019
Date responded: 16 Jul 2019
Information requested

Following the appearance of Michael Matheson (Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity) at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on 15 May 2019, you asked the Scottish Government to provide the following information:

1. The specific correspondence via letter or email that the Director of Economic Development sent to Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd asking for further information on its planned programme (for Vessels 801/802);

2. The specific correspondence that was received from Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd in response to the request from the Director of Economic Development;

3. The specific correspondence via email or letter that asked for further details on the timetable for the continuing work on both vessels; and

4. As of 17 May 2019, any further response from Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd to the Director of Economic Development in respect of delivery information on the two vessels.

Response

Further to my letter of 25 June 2019 I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for
1. The specific correspondence via letter or email that the Director of Economic Development sent to Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd asking for further information on its planned programme (for Vessels 801/802);
2. The specific correspondence that was received from Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd in response to the request from the Director of Economic Development;
3. The specific correspondence via email or letter that asked for further details on the timetable for the continuing work on both vessels; and
4. As of 17 May 2019, any further response from Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd to the Director of Economic Development in respect of delivery information on the two vessels.

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with some modification.
Having reviewed the original request and response, I reconsidered the information provided and exemptions applied, with a particular focus on the financial information. I have determined that some of the information previously withheld under section 33(1)(b) can now be released, and the attached documents provide amended versions.
I have also concluded that section 33(1)b of FOISA continues to apply to some of the information because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd in future tendering exercises as given the financial nature of that information it would give their competitors an advantage.

As this exemption is subject to the public interest test, and taking account of the points you raised in your request for review, I have also considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. I have concluded that the public interest argument provided in our initial response did not fit with the information withheld in relation to this case. I have also found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of withholding the exemption. I recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which enter into Scottish Government contracts to ensure we obtain best value for money.

I would also like to clarify that, while the document previously shared with you entitled ‘FMEL Contract Summary’ appeared to comprise of two pages, that was a consequence of scanning and it is only a single page document.

 

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Contact

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

The Scottish Government
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