FOI reference: FOI/17/02474
Date received: 17 October 2017
Date responded: 20 November 2017
1. The details of the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe's diary, including all engagements, for the 30 May and 1 June 2017. This should state the purpose, exact location and times of the engagement at Lanark Road on 1 June and the purpose and times of the engagement at Stirling Train station on 30 May.
2. Any correspondence, meeting agendas or meeting minutes, details of phone calls or any other communications, both internal and external, regarding the Minister's diary and engagements for the 30 May and 1 June 2017.
I will answer each of your points in turn:
1. I attach some of the information you requested at Annex A.
On 30 May 2017 Mr Russell was collected from his home in Argyll by a Government Car Service vehicle to work on government papers and to make government calls.
Ministers are able to use government cars for the conduct of government business. Once the calls were completed Mr Russell was dropped off at Stirling station around 0830. The Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested about the purpose and the exact location of the engagement at Stirling Station because this was not a Government event.
On 1 June 2017 Mr Russell was in Edinburgh on government business throughout the day. He was collected by a Government Car service vehicle from Lanark Road in Edinburgh at 2100 in order to work on government papers on his journey home. The Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested about the purpose and the exact location of the engagement at Lanark Road because this was not a government event.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
2. The Scottish Government does not hold details of the phone calls made as private offices do not hold ministerial box records for longer than 3 months. There were papers prepared for one of the ministerial meetings held on 30 May and 1 June and an exemption under section 29(1)(C) applies to the information you have requested. The 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 interests in applying the exemption. We have found on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding 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