Information

Assessment and communication regarding TRNSMT 2021: FOI release

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


Information requested

1. Please provide details of all risk analysis and impact projections (as in Covid rates of transmission, prevalence of the disease in the population and impact on NHS) undertaken in order to take the general decision that TRNSMT 2021 (Glasgow 10-12 September 2021) be allowed to go ahead AND any discussion/correspondence/further analysis done in this area subject to the recent significant rise in COVID infection (eg the 7000+ figure reported for 28 August 2021) and the estimate that a similar size festival held recently in Cornwall, England resulted in c5,000 cases.

2. Please provide copies of all correspondence and other interactions with a written record between Scottish Government (ministers and employees) and TRNSMT 2021 organisers - relating to Covid or any other matter.

3. Please provide copies of all correspondence and other interactions with a written record between Scottish Government (ministers and employees) and other public bodies likely to be impacted by TRNSMT in public health-related terms organisers - eg NHS, Health Boards etc.

Response

Attached is a copy of the information the Scottish Government holds. 

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 a exemptions under section 33(1)(b) (commercial interests), Section 30(a) – convention of collective responsibility of Scottish Ministers, Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice and section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to come of the information because its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of DF Concerts. The maximum attendance figures permitted are contained within the information provided. While the actual ticket sales were helpful for more detailed planning in the run up to the event, releasing these could provide an advantage to competitors planning to stage similar events in the future. Access to DF Concerts branding and logos is commercially sensitive so we are unable to release these.

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 being able to share commercially sensitive information between the Scottish Government and event organisers in order to support detailed event planning. If this information was released it could mean that other event organisers might be hesitant to share this information in the future, to the detriment of being able to progress planning discussions.

An exemption under section 30(a) of FOISA (convention of collective responsibility of Scottish Ministers) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the convention of the collective responsibility of Scottish Ministers for the Scottish Government’s policy on attendance at Major Events. Government in Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, has long worked under the convention that Ministers are collectively responsible for policy and its delivery. Collective responsibility requires collective discretion, and ensures that Ministers can express their views frankly in internal discussion of an issue while maintaining a united front once decisions have been reached.

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 maintaining collective responsibility for the Scottish Government’s policy on harm assessment for major events. Disclosure of these internal discussions between Ministers would be likely to have the effect of undermining the Government’s position on major events, and thus the effectiveness of the policy, which would not be in the public interest.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (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. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers or other officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on analytical assessments of potential Covid-19 harms will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to a sensitive ongoing 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 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 a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers and other officials, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s policy on Covid-19 harm assessment in relation to specific events.

This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good policy 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 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.

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.

FOI202100234951 - Information released

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

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