1) Guarantee Management Meeting Reports sent by Deloitte to the Scottish Government in 2017, 2018 and 2019 which have not already been disclosed in FOI review response 202100230000.
1a) This should include but not be limited to any report submitted to the Scottish Government following or preceding the Guarantee Management Meeting held on October 2, 2017, referenced in Supporting Document 2 of the above review response.
We have conducted a search of our systems and have identified material that is within scope of your requests:
1) In the period mentioned in your request (2017-2019) Deloitte prepared three Guarantee Management Meeting reports for the Scottish Government dated as follows: (a) 2 October 2017, (b) 18 January 2018 and (c) 11 October 2018 (marked as draft though it was the final version of that specific report).
Two of these three reports fell within the scope of FOI 202100230000 – that is, the reports dated 2 October 2017 and 18 January 2018.
The third report dated 11 October 2018 has been attached as ‘Information released'.
1a) The report dated 2 October 2017 was within the scope of FOI 202100230000 however another document was duplicated in the published response in error. That error has been corrected online. The information you have requested is available from Deloitte quarterly reports regarding Lochaber guarantee: FOI release - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
Certain information has been redacted from both documents under multiple sections of FOISA. Further information regarding both sections can be found in the Annex.
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 when required meaning that Ministers would be less informed when making significant decisions, which would not be in the public interest.
Section 33(1)(b) – Commercial Interest and the Economy
An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the business. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the company in question. The commercially prejudicial information withheld from the release relates to the finances of the GFG Alliance and the business. If released this would likely lead to the company being negatively affected as it would give third party competitors an advantage and prejudice current ongoing commercial operations of the company.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking into 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 some public interest in release to ensure full transparency. However, this is outweighed by the public interest as there is a risk to the companies commercial interests. The substantial prejudice to commercial interests that would be caused, coupled with the interests of the employees of the company being negatively affected means that the public interest test does not favour disclosure.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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