Information regarding the source of PCR test kits: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. “Why are the PCR tests for returning travellers to Scotland only available from one source (CTM) stipulated by the Scottish Government and almost twice the price of those available from a variety of sources for returning travellers to England?

2. Where is the outrageous profit on this monopoly supply going and how is it being spent? Is it going to the NHS?”


1. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all the information you have requested because an exemption under Section 30(b)(ii) – Free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies is explained in Annex A.

However, I have included information below which you may find helpful.

At the time of your request, The Scottish Government did not allow private testing for international travel as concerns were raised around the speed and reliability of the flow of data from private companies.

Following further engagement with the Department of Health and Social Care, we are confident in the required standards of private testing providers and the flow of data. We have revised our position and allowed private testing. You can find further information on the Scottish Government website here.

2. This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the UK Government (UKG) led by its Department of Health and Social Care are the principle contract owners and managers of the Managed Quarantine Service (MQS) and its suppliers. The UKG are therefore best placed to provide information in relation to the procurement process adopted in the implementation of the MQS contract and its delivery.

Whilst the Scottish Government are not technically contract managers in the context of the UKG’s MQS provision in Scotland, we act in that capacity working closely with Corporate Travel Management (CTM), the service provider of hotel accommodation for use as managed isolation facilities in Scotland as well as in the provision of test packages for travellers.

You can make a freedom of information (FOI) request on the UK Government website here.

This exemption has been applied as the email exchange identified is providing a view for deliberation and not providing advice on a subject in question.

A ‘public interest test’ was completed to decide whether the redacted information should be released. As the redacted information contains personal information relating to Scottish Government employees, which doesn’t add or subtract any significance in relation to the material provided in answering the original request, it was concluded that the exemption would be upheld and the information would not be disclosed.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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