- 12 Feb 2020
Date received: 13 Jan 2020
Date responded: 5 Feb 2020
You asked for:
Any documentation pertaining to Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to Coca Cola on 31.7.19. This should include any letters, emails, briefings, and notes of conversations (including telephone) pertaining to the visit.
I enclose a copy of the information requested in digital format.
Please see Annex A for exemptions within this documentation.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exemption under section s.38(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This information relates to the personal data of a third parties.
This exemption 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 exemption.
An exemption under section s.30(b)(i) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 30: Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs - Section 30 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release however, this is outweighed by the public interest in that its release would impair the full and frank provision of advice from officials and collective responsibility of Ministers. The advice provided considers policy implications from a public health standpoint which by its very nature may be sensitive when set against other considerations both for Scottish Ministers and the company involved. The public-facing relationship between business and government for officials across government relies on the ability of officials to provide frank briefing to Ministers in the knowledge that this will remain in confidence.
An exemption under section s.33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 33: Commercial interests and the economy - disclosure would (or would be likely to) prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organisation.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release because there is a public interest in decision-making processes within public authorities being as open and transparent as is possible. We also recognise that making certain information available can increase the accountability of public authorities for decisions that are made that may have an impact on the wider public, and in particular the expenditure of public money by SE. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that SE can protect its assessments of business opportunities in order to enable it to spend public funds as effectively as possible. Also to have regard to the public interest in protection of the privacy of any individual which would be diminished by the release of the requested information. We consider that there is no public interest or benefit in releasing information which could have an adverse effect on the commercial interests of third parties. However, allowing commercial parties to maintain confidentiality in their commercial positions for prospective commercial transactions is important to maintaining and supporting the proper and efficient operation of free markets, which is of serious concern and benefit to the public. As such we consider that the public interest also favours the withholding of this information.
On public interest grounds, we have therefore concluded that, in respect of the commercially sensitive information requested, the public interest is better served in withholding the information.
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 Andrews House