Since Patrick Harvie MSP was appointed Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights on 31st August 2021:
- What private sector rental property owners and companies has the Minister met with, what dates did these meetings take place and at which locations?
- Which private sector rental property owners and companies has the Minister declined a request for a meeting, when were these requests received and replied to?
Details of all Ministerial engagements are proactively published by the Scottish Government. This means that most of the information you have requested under your first point is available from this web page: Ministerial engagements, travel and gifts - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). Under Section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information that is already reasonably accessible to you.
The remaining information from your first point, the Minister's engagements from March to June 2023, will be published within 12 weeks of your request and will be available at the link above. This is a formal notice that Section 27(1) of FOISA applies. This exemption allows public authorities to refuse to disclose information if they already planned to publish it within the next 12 weeks. The 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. We recognise that there may be some public interest in release, but this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned.
Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.
The Scottish Government does not have some of the information you requested. This relates to requests for Ministerial meetings with private sector rental property owners. This is because the Minister instead meets with wider private rented sector representative organisations, and will take the views of individual private landlords through their membership of these organisations or their participation in Scottish Government public consultations. There is therefore no record held of declined invitations to meet private sector rental property owners. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you requested.
I enclose a copy of the remaining information you requested, related to declined requests for meetings with private sector rental property companies, when these requests were received and replied to. An exemption(s) under Section 38(1) of FOISA applies to some of this information because it contains the personal information of a third party. 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.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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