- 16 Feb 2021
Date received: 1 Oct 2020
Date responded: 30 Oct 2020
Annual (not quarterly) reporting information for each of Scotland's three approved tenancy deposit schemes for the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 reporting years.
I attach 18 documents which provide annual report information for the three approved schemes in relation to Regulation 45, subsection 2:
a) the number of tenancy deposits paid to the scheme
b) the total value of tenancy deposits held in designated accounts at the end of the financial year
c) the total value of tenancy deposits repaid to tenants
g) details of all referrals to the dispute resolution mechanism
h) details of any complaints received about the scheme
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to that information. As you had indicated in your email or 1 October the same exemption under 33(1)(b) applies to the accounts information for the three deposit schemes.
This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of one or more of the tenancy deposit schemes operating in Scotland. Any disclosure of commercially sensitive information relating to the financial position of an individual scheme could provide a competitive advantage to one or more of the other schemes currently operating in Scotland with a consequential detrimental effect on the other scheme(s). This would fail the 'harm test'. In this instance, the damage caused by disclosing the commercially sensitive financial information could be of real and demonstrable significance, rather than simply marginal.
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.
However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of the companies operating the tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland. We think release would cause real, actual and significant harm to commercial interests so it would not be in the public interest to release 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