FOI reference: FOI/17/02270
Date received: 6 October 2017
Date responded: 30 October 2017
All tender submissions for the research project 'Ability of decentralised mechanical ventilation to act as 'whole-house' ventilation systems in new-build dwellings'
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested because exemptions under section 25(1) of FOISA (information otherwise accessible), section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) and section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why the exemptions apply are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies under section 25 (1) (information otherwise accessible) – we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. There were 2 tenders submitted for this research which included the one from fourLINK consulting Limited.
An exemption applies under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) we are unable to release some parts of the the tender submission from the successful contractor. In this instance we consider that the disclosure of parts the tender may prejudice the commercial interests of the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU).
The parts of the tender excluded from this response includes details of MEARU's approach, methodology and expertise which may give competitors an advantage in future tendering exercises. It may also prejudice their ability to, in the future, submit competitive tenders as well as harming 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 tender, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie eg names/email addresses 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.
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