FOI reference: FOI/16/01736
Date received: 6 November 2016
Date responded: 18 August 2017
All information between Scottish Government, Sinofortone, China Railway Group Ltd, China Railway No3 Engineering Group and Roddy Gow since 10 April 2016. All information between special advisors ministers and officials connected to the MOU.
The information is attached.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section 30(b)(i) (substantial inhibition of free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.
An exception applies - Section 30(b)(i).
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) (substantial inhibition of free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.
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. 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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to communicate as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's position, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective.
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 Andrew's House