FOI reference: FOI/17/01295
Date received: 12 June 2017
Date responded: 3 July 2017
A copy of any internal analysis on the cost of using John Sturrock QC to assist in the FE lecturers dispute.
A copy of any payments made to John Sturrock QC.
A copy of any bills received from John Sturrock QC.
A copy of all correspondence between ministers, advisors and civil servants regarding the hiring of and remit of John Sturrock QC.
1, 2&3. 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(s) Section 33(1)(b) – commercial interests of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.
4. I enclose some of the information you requested at Annex B.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we do not have the information are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
The Scottish Government does not have the information.
The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because further discussions that took place around the hiring of John Sturrock QC where conducted over the phone and were not recorded.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
An exemption applies.
Exemption under section 38(1) (b) of FOISA (personal information).
This applies to some of the information requested because it contains personal data of a third party, i.e. Scottish Government official names below Senior Civil Service and their direct contact details. This information has been redacted throughout the documents which are being released. Disclosing this information would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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.
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test: Section 33(1) (b) – commercial interests.
An exemption under section 33(1) (b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Core Solutions Group Limited. Disclosing this information would be likely to give Core Solutions Group Limited competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice Core Solutions Group Limited ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.
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 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, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.
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