Information

Communication with Trade Right International: FOI release

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


Information requested

1. Any and all communications between Scottish Government ministers and officials and Trade Right International.

2. Documents relating to the decision to award the contract to Trade Right International.

3. Documents or details agreeing what standards the service/product must meet.

We required clarification in order to identify information within the scope of your request. You responded with the following:

1. The topic of communications between Scottish Government ministers, officials and Trade Right International,
Answer: Government contracts, COVID, hand sanitiser, friendly chat, socialising, independence, business, procurement

2. The date range for these communications and documents
Answer: 2018 - current day

3. The specific contract you refer to in your request.
Answer: NSSCOVID-19 -260 Hand Sanitiser. £152,062. Contract concluded 14/05/2020.

Response

1. Attached is a copy of the material requested. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance certain information has been redacted under multiple sections of FOISA. Further information regarding these sections can be found in the Annex. We have also redacted information that is not within scope of your request.

2. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government have not placed any contracts with this reference or value. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government have not placed any contracts with this reference or value. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

This contract was place by National Services Scotland (NSS) and you may find it useful to contact them directly. More information on this contract can be found here: View Notice - Public Contracts Scotland.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

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 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.

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.

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.

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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