1) Correspondence, including emails, letters, text messages, WhatsApp messages and internal memos sent or received or included via 'cc'ing' Mary McAllan, Director of Economic Development to or from Deloitte or employees of Deloitte, between June 2017 and December 2017, around Guarantee Management Meeting Reports in relation to the GRA between the Scottish Government and GFG Alliance.
2) Any letters sent by GFG Alliance or its subsidiaries addressed to and received by Mary McAllan, Director of Economic Development between March 2017 and January 18, 2018.
I attach a response to your request.
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.
Firstly, we would like to advise that no information falling within the scope of part 1 of your request is held. However, the information held by the Scottish Government that falls within scope of part 2 of your request has been attached separately.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS SUPPLIED
Supporting Document 1 – Letter Jay Hambro to Mary McAllan 29/09/17
Supporting Document 2 – Letter Jay Hambro to Mary McAllan 20/11/17
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 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 parties.
This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the commercial entities involved. 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 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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