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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Information on Clune Park Estate in Port Glasgow: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01788
Date received: 1 August 2017
Date responded: 5 September 2017

Information requested

You asked for all information held by the Scottish Government regarding the Clune Park Estate in Port Glasgow over the last 3 years. You also asked for the dates of all meetings with Inverclyde Council or other bodies in relation to Clune Park Estate in Glasgow and all documents and emails pertaining to these meetings.

Response

The information you have requested mostly relates to the condition of properties in the Clune Park Estate and as such this is deemed to be 'environmental information'. For the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are therefore applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in the form of attachments below.

In addition, relating to point one of your request where you requested the dates of all meetings with Inverclyde Council and other bodies where Clune Park was mentioned, this information is summarised for you in the following table:

Date Attendees
8 December 2016 Scottish Government, Inverclyde Council
20 February 2017 Scottish Government, Inverclyde Council and Glasgow City Council
21 April 2017 Scottish Government, Inverclyde Council and River Clyde Homes
8 May 2017 President of the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal, Inverclyde Council and Scottish Government

There are not many documents to release relating to these meetings, either for one of the reasons detailed under "Information that can't be provided" or because the meeting was informal and had no official papers.

When carrying out the search several documents were found which you already possess, either through your previous Freedom of Information Request and subsequent Review, or your correspondence regarding the Property Factor Register. These documents are not being sent to you again.

In addition, some of the information you have requested is available on the internet having been published following it's submission to the Scottish Government.

Inverclyde Strategic Housing Investment Plan – this documents the projects which the Council wish the Scottish Government to consider for grant funding over the next 5 years.

Inverclyde Strategic Housing Investment Plan

Inverclyde Economic Development & Regeneration Single Operating Plan

Inverclyde Local Development Plan and Associated Documents

Also note the November 2016 Updated Action Plan to accompany the Local Development Plan. Local Development Plan

The judgements in relation to Inverclyde Council and demolition orders for Clune Park.

Scottish Courts SC GRE 81

Scottish Courts SC GRE 65

Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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 of exceptions under regulations 10(4)(d) (material in the course of completion, unfinished documents or incomplete data), 10(4)(e) (internal communications), 10(5)(f) (substantial prejudice to interests of person who provided the information), 11(2) (personal data of a third party) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why these exceptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Copyright warning

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder. Most documents supplied by the Scottish Government will have been produced by government officials and will be Crown Copyright. You can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright material on the OPSI website at: OPSI

Information you receive which is not subject to Crown Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. You must ensure that you gain their permission before reproducing any third party (non Crown Copyright) information.

Reasons for not providing information

Regulation 10(4)(d) – material in course of completion, unfinished documents or incomplete data

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion or an unfinished document. We hold some draft documents which remain incomplete or unfinished.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information is not disclosed when it might misinform the public or give a misleading impression of the Government's view or position on the matter to which the information relates.

Regulation 10(4)(e) – internal communications

An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is internal communication between Scottish Government Ministers and/or officials about issues relating to or policies which may affect Clune Park Estate. This is a class-based exception applying to documents deemed to be internal communication. In this case the internal communications are mostly internal e-mail exchanges, but also contain some action points from meetings and notes intended for internal use.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is some public interest in release 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. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions relating to Clune Park Estate will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on that issue while it is still under discussion and development.

Regulation 10(5)(f) – substantial prejudice to interests of person who provided the information

An exception under regulation 10(5)(f) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to interests of person who provided the information) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the interests of Inverclyde Council who provided that information to the Scottish Government. They:

  • were not under any legal obligation to give us that information;
  • did not supply it in circumstances in which it could, apart from the EIRs, be made available; and
  • have not consented to disclosure.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the interests of anyone, such as Inverclyde Council, who provide the Scottish Government with information on a confidential basis. Disclosing such information against the express wishes of the stakeholder is likely to undermine their trust in the Government and make them reluctant in future to share information with us on issues such as Clune Park Estate and the wider Inverclyde area. This would significantly impair the Scottish Government's ability to develop policies and make decisions on the basis of fully informed advice and evidence. This would not be in the public interest.

Regulation 11(2) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exception 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 exception.

It may help to know that when viewing the documents released to you, the text which has been redacted is personal data of a third party.

You might also find it useful to know that advice/ministerial support on Clune Park Estate is mostly provided by the Directorate for Housing and Social Justice, which is headed by Lesley Fraser. Further details about the work of this Directorate are published on the Scottish Government website. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/People/Directorates

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

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:
7 Sep 2017
Information on Clune Park Estate in Port Glasgow: EIR release