Publication - FOI/EIR release

Air bridges and travel corridors: FOI release

Published: 27 Aug 2020

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

Published:
27 Aug 2020
Air bridges and travel corridors: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000056660
Date received: 3 Jul 2020
Date responded: 31 Jul 2020
Information requested

Evidence used by the Scottish Government, Ministers and Advisers that led to the "travel corridors" only applying in England (those arriving in England) and not in Scotland up to Friday 3/7/20.

Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested attached to this email.
The evidence underpinning the decision is provided by the UK Government. It does not belong to the Scottish Government and therefore any requests to release the information should be directed to the UK Government. Scottish Ministers have written to the UK Government asking them to release the information.

An exemption under section 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the UK) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. It is essential for the effective administration of the UK as a whole that there should be regular, and often private, communications between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the other devolved administrations. The release of these communications about COVID-19 testing will mean that the other administrations in the UK are likely to be more reluctant to share such information with the Scottish Government in future, which would reduce both the frequency and openness of communications between the Scottish Government and other UK administrations 

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 a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate.

However, there is a greater public interest in maintaining close working relationships between the Scottish Government and the UK Government, and in protecting the free exchange of information between the administrations to ensure that we keep each other fully and regularly informed about matters of mutual interest. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt future communications.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) and (ii) (free and frank exchange of advice and views) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This is because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views and provision of advice. 

This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space in which to provide free and frank advice to other officials. Disclosing the content of free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views in relation to an investigation would substantially inhibit the provision of such advice, or the exchange of such views, in the future.

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 a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate.

However, there is a greater public interest in allowing officials a private space within which to explore and refine the process and procedure by which investigations are conducted. This private thinking space is essential to enable all information and options to be properly considered. Disclosure is likely to undermine the quality of this process, which would not be in the public interest.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, for example names of individuals or other personal data 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 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. 

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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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