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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

First Minister meeting John McFarlane, Barclays' Chairman, 2016: FOI release

Published: 8 Sep 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01820
Date received: 9 August 2017
Date responded: 6 September 2017

Information requested

Information relating to the First Minister's meeting with John McFarlane, Chairman of Barclays, on December 1, 2016. To include all briefing papers prepared for the meeting. All communications (emails, letters etc.) regarding the organisation of the meeting and after the meeting. Any notes, minutes or action points taken following the meeting.

Response

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 , Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy and section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

Please also note there is a typing mistake in Annex C, page 8, last paragraph, second bullet point. The context should have read as follows :

  • how the £100 million capital investment package will accelerate 16 projects selected because of the early benefits they offer to the Scottish economy.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy 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 the Scottish Growth Scheme.

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 high quality policy-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies. 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 on the Scottish Growth Scheme will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.

Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party 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/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.

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 Barclays. Disclosing this information would be likely to give the company's competitors an advantage in similar fields and markets, which could substantially prejudice Barclay's 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 ensuring that information is not disclosed which could benefit the competitors of Scottish based businesses and impact their ability to contribute to Scotland's economy.

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:
8 Sep 2017
First Minister meeting John McFarlane, Barclays' Chairman, 2016: FOI release