Publication - FOI/EIR release

Transport Scotland hotel bookings for AWPR purposes: EIR release

Published: 21 Aug 2019

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

Published:
21 Aug 2019
Transport Scotland hotel bookings for AWPR purposes: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01595
Date received: 16 Jul 2019
Date responded: 14 Aug 2019
Information requested

Please provide me with information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 relating to expenses during construction of the AWPR – including and between 1 June 2014 and 28 February 2019.

Please tell me how many time Transport Scotland staff claimed back expenses from hotel stays in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire during the above dates for the purposes of work relating to the AWPR.

Please also provide me with a breakdown of each occasion including:

  • Date of stay
  • Location
  • Price of stay
  • The staff member who claimed the expense (if this is not available, please provide their job title/ job band as appropriate)

This was clarified on 16 July to;

I am looking for the number of hotel bookings made by Transport Scotland staff for the purposes of work relating to the AWPR.
Please also provide me with a breakdown of each occasion including:

  • Date of stay
  • Location
  • Price of stay
  • The staff member who claimed the expense (if this is not available, please provide their job title/ job band as appropriate)
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.

I can confirm that there were 81 hotel bookings made for Transport Scotland staff for the purposes of work relating to the AWPR project. Please see the attached spreadsheet which lists the date, location and price of each stay between 1 June 2014 and 28 February 2019.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland does not have some of the information you have requested. This is in relation to the cost of hotel stays between 7 September and 9 September 2018. As part of the opening events for the AWPR, the GoNorthEast Road Festival was held over the weekend 8 and 9 September. Accommodation for staff assisting at the event was arranged by the event organiser and we are unable to disaggregate this cost from the overall event budget. The costs for the GoNorthEast Road Festival were fully met by the project’s £745m budget (at 2012 prices).Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), Transport Scotland is not required to provide information which it does not have.

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. While we recognise there may be some public interest in the total cost of hotel room stays for the road festival, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Personal information relating to individual staff members has been redacted with the exception provided below.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of 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.

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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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