Publication - FOI/EIR release

Engineering companies’ meetings Ministerial briefing documents: FOI release

Published: 4 Mar 2021

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

Published:
4 Mar 2021
Engineering companies’ meetings Ministerial briefing documents: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100133437
Date received: 5 Jan 2021
Date responded: 29 Jan 2021
Information requested

Concerning two meetings attended held by ministers, the first being a phone call meeting attended by Fiona Hyslop on 26/03/20 with Doosan Babcock, Castle Engineering and Scottish Engineering amongst others. The second is a meeting between Ivan McKee and John McCarrol of JFD on 03/04/20.

I would like to request the briefing notes prepared for each minister for the respective meetings and notes taken from the two meetings if possible.

Response

Please find attached a response to your request. 

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 statutory exemptions under FOI(S)A apply. Further information on why these exemptions apply can be found in the Annex to this letter along with a breakdown of the information we can provide to you that fell within the scope of your request.

Reasons for Not Providing Information
Exemption Subject to the Public Interest Test: An exemption under sections 30(b)(i) free and frank provision of advice - applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice for the purposes of deliberation and discussion. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with colleagues and stakeholders, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public.

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 this 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 and stakeholders a private space within which to communicate with appropriate colleagues and external stakeholders.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) also applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of one or all parties this information relates to.

This exemption is also 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 the parties involved.

Exemption Not Subject to the Public Interest Test: Section 38(1)(b) – Personal Data.

This exemption applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details, 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.

About FOI

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.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG