John Swinney meetings September 2022: FOI release

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

Information requested

All internal and external correspondence within and sent or received by the Scottish Government including attached documents, meeting handouts, memos, briefings to ministers, attendee lists, location of meeting, notes, minutes, or OneNote memos, linked to the following meetings:
1a) John Swinney's meeting with South Uist councillors and stakeholders on September 1, 2022
1b) John Swinney's meeting with Greg Clark on September 1, 2022
1c) John Swinney's meeting with Business organisations on September 6, 2022.
1d) John Swinney's meeting with Dave Moxham of the STUC on September 6, 2022.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.

Exemption) under sections s27(1), s30(b)(ii) and s38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some the information you have requested. For ease, I have colour coded the redacted text to show which exemption is being applied.

Rationale and public interest test Section 30(b)(ii) - Free and Frank Exchange of Views
Redactions under s30 are due to there being areas of work in progress that would be impacted significantly by release, i.e. proposals to support unsuccessful bidders.

Public Interest Test (PI) for s30(b)(ii):
Argument for release: Recognise the importance of visibility to enable scrutiny, oversight, participation.

Argument against release: The release of the information that is to be withheld under s30(b) would be likely to hinder the free and frank exchange of views in future, and to prejudice substantially the effective conduct of public affairs.

Outcome of PI test: not to release docs withheld under 30(b)(ii), highlighted in blue in this doc.

Section 27(1) - Information held with a view to publication
Can include draft documents, or drafts of information that needed more work before publication. Exemption has been applied to sections of docs that contain exchanges on the decision and decision-making process, as a Decision Note will be published shortly.

Guidance states that the following three conditions must be met:
(i) Is the information held with the intention to publish it within 12 weeks? Yes - Decision Note to be published.
(ii) Can the authority demonstrate that was the intention when the request was made? Yes. DFM’s statement to Parliament said ‘we will publish more information on the process in due course in order to provide further transparency on the decision-making process’.
(iii) Is it reasonable to withhold the information until the planned date of publication? Yes – so that all bidders receive the same information at the same time, as has been promised – part of the fair and transparent bidding process.

The exemption was not applied to sections of text that where it was not in the public interest to withhold until the Decision Note is published.

Public Interest Test (PI) for sections highlighted in green where s27 applies:
Argument for release: Recognise the importance of the visibility of the decision-making process to enable scrutiny and oversight.

Argument against release: Some information has been withheld under s30(b) as the Scottish and UK Governments have agreed to publish information on the decision-making process, to ensure transparency. The DFM committed to doing so in his statement to Parliament on 18 January 2023. That information will be published shortly, within weeks.

Outcome of PI test: not to release docs that are subject to s27(1) – highlighted in green in this doc.

Section 38(1)(b) - Third Party Personal Information
This exemption has been applied where third party personal information (e.g. names of individuals) exists. This is shown in yellow in the attached document.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

MiCase Assignment Ref 202300338415


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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