- 1 Jun 2021
Date received: 15 Apr 2021
Date responded: 13 May 2021
I wish to make a Freedom of Information request for documents relating to discussions between Sir David Murray and Scottish ministers in 2015 regarding Murray's proposal to take over the Tata Steel plants Cambuslang and Motherwell in 2015.
Attached is a copy of the information requested. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested as statutory exemptions under FOISA apply. Further information on what exemptions apply and why can be found in the Annex.
Scottish Government officials have conducted a comprehensive search of our archives, based on the parameters of your request, and have attached the documents found that fell within the scope of the request.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
Section 30(b)(ii) – Free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
Exemptions under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply 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 and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. The exemption recognises the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, particularly because discussions on the issue are still ongoing and final decisions have not been taken, and these discussions relate to a sensitive or controversial issue.
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 exemptions. 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 a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views to Ministers. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.
Section 36(2) – Actionable Breach of Confidence
An exemption under section 36(2) of FOISA (actionable breach of confidence) applies to some the information requested because disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. This is because the information is confidential, was provided in circumstances which imposed an obligation on the Scottish Government to maintain that confidentiality, and unauthorised disclosure would be to the detriment of the organisation who provided the information. 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.
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.
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.
- File type
- 7 page PDF
- 2.5 MB
- File type
- 7 page PDF
- 567.5 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House