FOI reference: FOI/17/03023
Date received: 14 December 2017
Date responded: 17 January 2018
First, you asked for the administrative costs to the Scottish Government for the administration of Integrated Land Management Plans and Specialist Advice.
Second, you asked for the number of applications there have been to the ILMP since its introduction and the number of advisory firms who have delivered these.
The administration of ILMPs/Specialist Advice is delivered through the One-to-One Farm Advisory Services contract delivered by Ricardo (AEA) Ltd. The overall value is £4.675 million (excluding vat) over the period of contract (4.75 years) and started on the 1 April 2016 and will end on 31 December 2020.
However, and while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the more detailed cost information you have requested because exemptions under 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) of FOISA apply to that information. A fuller explanation is provided below.
There have been 208 ILMP applications to date, delivered by 13 organisations.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.
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 our contractor, Ricardo (AEA) Ltd. Disclosing this information would be likely to give this organisation'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 organisations which tender for Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.
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