Information

PAG2021 Trunk Road Network auditing contract: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004


Information requested

"If there is a link to the recently awarded contract for auditing the Trunk Road Network including what they are responsible for as part of the contract, how many tender returns were received and what value the contract is for? Can it be confirmed that the company carrying out the auditing are properly certified to be able to carry out the auditing process to the appropriate ISO certification?"

Response

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Please see the Annex to this response for a copy of the PAG2021 contract.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information 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.

A further exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by Turner and Townsend and thus cause substantial harm to their commercial interests. Disclosing this information would be likely to give Turner and Townsend's competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice their ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which enter into Transport Scotland contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

The information requested relating to the number of tender returns and the value of the contract is available from the Public Contracts Scotland Website and can be found using the following link View Notice - Public Contracts Scotland. Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

Finally with regards to audit certification, the provider operates a Quality Management System compliant with the requirements of ISO9001:2015 (Quality Management Systems Requirements) and ISO 19001:2018 (guidelines for management systems auditing).

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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