- 23 Feb 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/00305
Date received: 26 January 2018
Date responded: 22 February 2018
(a) A copy of any pre-meeting briefing; confirmation of all people in attendance at all meetings; agendas for all meetings; notes or minutes taken and/or action points decided during all meetings; and any post meeting briefings in relation to all meetings between any Scottish Government Minister(s) and any representative(s) from Oil and Gas UK during the period between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017.
(b) Email correspondence between the Scottish Government and Oil and Gas UK during the period between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in Annex B.
Regarding part (a) of your request there are two meetings which fall within the scope of the request, which took place on 3 March 2017 and 5 September 2017.
Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government website https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-01422/
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
You also asked for any post meeting briefings in relation to all meetings between any Scottish Government Minister(s) and any representative(s) from Oil and Gas UK during the period between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017. Under the terms of Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. This information is not routinely held if there are no specific actions as a result of the meetings.
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 exemptions under sections 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount the information and under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. Part (b) of your request referred to correspondence between the Scottish Government and Oil and Gas UK during the period between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested to respond to part (b) of your request would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. There has been significant engagement across Scottish Government with the sector, Marine Scotland Science have a significant engagement with the sector relating to their involvement in the routine regulation of offshore oil and gas activities in the Scottish sector of the North Sea. As such the volume of emails relating to email correspondence is considerable and the time required to comply with your request will exceeded the cost limit.
Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.
You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. In order to reduce the cost of your request you may wish to consider being more specific. Is there a particular question that you require to be addressed? Or a particular interest in specific Scottish Government directorate's engagement with the oil and gas sector?
You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on his website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx.
Reasons for not providing information
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 this relates to the names and contact numbers of junior Scottish Government officials, 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