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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Giant Panda Programme at Edinburgh Zoo: FOI release

Published: 25 Aug 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01721
Date received: 26 July 2017
Date responded: 24 August 2017

Information requested

  1. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Chinese government in relation to the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. I am looking for the information for dates starting June 10th 2017 up until today's date (26/07/17) or more recent.

  2. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. I am looking for this information for dates starting June 10th 2017 up until today's date (26/07/17) or more recent.

Response

Request 1

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. We do not have the information because there are no records of correspondence or notes of meetings between the Scottish Government and the Chinese Government in relation to the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo between 10 June 2017 and the present date. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Request 2

Between 10 June 2017 and the present date, the pandas were mentioned in two written exchanges between the Scottish Governent and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). Copies of these email exchanges between Scottish Government officials and the Director of the Giant Panda Programme at Edinburgh Zoo, Iain Valentine are attached at Annex A.

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government's policy on engagement with China.

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 is in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it 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. I have also redacted parts of the correspondence due to the subject matter being of no relevance to your enquiry.

About FOI

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

foi-17-01721 - SG email correspondence.pdf

3 page PDF
544.8kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
25 Aug 2017
Giant Panda Programme at Edinburgh Zoo: FOI release