Information

Correspondence regarding The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital: FOI release

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


Information requested

1. Please provide all correspondence both to and from Nicola Sturgeon, from 2008-2009, regarding planning and construction of the building and the purchase of the site where the hospital would be built for the new hospital in Glasgow which is now known as The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

2. Please provide copies of the minutes of all the meetings Nicola Sturgeon attended between 2008-2009 regarding planning and construction of the building and the purchase of the site where the hospital would be built for this hospital. Please also confirm all individuals in attendance.

Response

1. Copies of all emails that are within the scope of this request are included as an attachment to this response.

An exemption under section(s) 38 (b)(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party 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 exception 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 exception.

Some of the information you have requested is available from https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply 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 exemptions recognise the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position which will be given in whatever final lines to take are used. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material on partner organisations and their facilities, policy development of partner organisations, and internal policy development will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, particularly because it is important that partner organisations feel able to share sensitive information with Scottish Government officials in order to develop policies, both their own and Scottish Government’s.

These exemptions are 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 exemptions. 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 in lines to take. It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly defend the Government’s policies and decisions. They need full and candid advice from officials to enable them to do so. 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.

2. Scottish Government does not hold any document that is within the scope of this request.

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.

FOI202100265332 - 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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