- 29 Oct 2020
Date received: 29 Sep 2020
Date responded: 27 Oct 2020
Full copies of each of the tenders submitted in response to the Scottish Government's Invitation to Tender for the Scottish Employer Skills Survey (ESS) 2020.
The Scottish Government received four tenders in relation to this procurement. I enclose with this letter copies of the four tender responses. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 38(1)(b) (personal information) and 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. the names, contact details and CVs of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would be likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of our tenderers. Specifically, disclosing this information would be likely to give these organisations’ competitors an unfair advantage in future similar tendering exercises. This exemption has been applied to areas within their bid that tenderers have identified as commercially sensitive and would be damaging to them as a business if others were given this freely.
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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of organisations which tender for Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.
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