Publication - FOI/EIR release

Discussion held relating to Euro 2020 Glasgow Fan Zone: FOI release

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

Published:
16 Jul 2021
Discussion held relating to Euro 2020 Glasgow Fan Zone: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100212141
Date received: 9 Jun 2021
Date responded: 15 Jul 2021
Information requested

Some information regarding the UEFA EURO 2020 Glasgow Fan Zone.

The national clinicians, Jason Leitch and (his deputy) John Harden, have held meetings with various partners (Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Police Scotland, Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, Uefa) regarding the UEFA EURO 2020 Glasgow Fan Zone.

I would like a list of the dates of the meetings and the names of all those in attendance, please, including whether it was Jason Leitch, John Harden or both in attendance.

I would also like copies of the minutes of those meetings and any notes held about what was said in those meetings, please. I expect this to include, but not limited to, emails, letters, memos, briefing papers, transcripts, notes taken during telephone conversations, text messages and datasets.

Response

Attached is a copy of the information requested. 

While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy), 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views), 30(c) (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information.

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government’s policy on COVID-19 testing and certification for events.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of the 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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials
need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on live considerations relating to COVID-19 testing and certification for events will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions on the appropriate application of mitigating actions in specific instances in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, particularly because these kinds of discussions are still ongoing and relate to sensitive issues, such as the balance of risks and benefits in different situations.

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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s position on proposals submitted by stakeholders and their appropriate handling in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and major events such as EURO 2020 taking place in that context, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to conduct secure meetings at distance because we would not be able to use the same or similar teleconference links and passwords with confidence. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption.

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. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting our ability to hold secure discussions with stakeholders on a range of issues as part of the policy development and decision-making process, and ensuring that the Scottish Government is able to conduct this aspect of its business effectively.

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. names and contact details of individuals, 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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