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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Scottish Funding Council report sent to Angela Constance: FOI release

Published: 4 Dec 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/02234
Date received: 3 September 2017
Date responded: 4 December 2017

Information requested

"In addition to my previous request for an internal review, please include the following:

You stated: The Scottish Government does not have the information The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because we do not hold any records on whether the Scottish Funding Councils report relied on the findings of the DLA PIPER investigation. There was no information supplied by the Scottish Funding Council that gave legal impetus in removing of the then Glasgow Clyde Board of Management.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

However, the information commissioner has issued a formal legal document at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appli...

'…the report was not on any circulation list held as information by the SFC. The information held by the SFC shows the report was sent directly to Angela Constance the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. The report was not circulated to anybody else by the SFC.'

32. The SFC also stated that, as far as it was aware, DLA Piper's process was to send Brodies LLP the final draft of the Report before it was sent to the Government, but it held no recorded information outlining a direct instruction for DLA Piper to do this. The SFC commented that, in any case: 'this was not the official final report that was sent to Angela Constance."

1. Please provide the final report that was sent to Angela Constance.

2. Was the final report used by the Cabinet Secretary to lay the order before parliament for the removal of the Glasgow Clyde College Board.

Response

1. I enclose the final SFC report sent to the Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, on 30 June 2015 under section 7C(7) of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 in the attached pdf file.

2. This SFC report was not relied upon by Scottish Ministers prior to the making and laying of the order before Parliament for the removal of the Glasgow Clyde College Board. We attach as a pdf file a letter from the Cabinet Secretary to the SFC dated 5 October 2015 which states this information in paragraph 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 under 1 and 2 above because an exemption applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

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.

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 all legal companies involved. Disclosing this information would be likely to give the company's competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice their 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.

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:
4 Dec 2017
Scottish Funding Council report sent to Angela Constance: FOI release