Derek McKay and the decision to award the contract for ferries to Ferguson: EIR release

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

Information requested

Today in Parliament the First Minister said that Derek Mckay made the decision to award the contract for ferries to Ferguson in October 2015 when he was Minister for Transport.

1. Can I see the documentary evidence on which that statement is presumably based ?

2. In general what written evidence is kept of ministerial decisions and the reasons for them. Have the procedures for this changed in recent years ?


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.

Documents pertaining to the authorisation to proceed to award the contract to FMEL were sent to the Minister for Transport and Islands as well as the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities in August and October 2015 and are publically available. All of the information you have requested is publically available from the Scottish Government website at the following link; Ferguson Marine: key documents - 2015 - ( This now includes additional information that has been located that shows the Ministerial response to the submission from officials of 8 October 2015.

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.

On your second query :

2. In general what written evidence is kept of ministerial decisions and the reasons for them. Have the procedures for this changed in recent years ?

The Scottish Government is fully committed to compliance with the requirements of the Public Records (Scotland) Act. The Scottish Government therefore follows procedures that aim to ensure that all employees, contractors, agents, consultants and other trusted third parties who have access to any information held within the Government, are fully aware of and abide by their duties under the Act.

It may be helpful to explain that under current procurement arrangements, processes have been strengthened whereby documents and decisions relating to vessel procurements / major investment decisions are routinely retained and appropriately stored to allow for full audit and transparency, subject to commercial considerations.

The document confirming which Scottish minister agreed to proceed with offering Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited a contract for the building of new ferries in October 2015 should have been stored clearly in our records. It has now been located, provided to Parliament and can be found, as can other related documentation, on the Scottish Government website here.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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