FOI reference: FOI/18/00688
Date received: 15 March 2018
Date responded: 23 March 2018
The following information relating to the Scottish National Investment Bank:
1. Under what authority did the F.M. initiate the project?
2. Under what authority did the F.M. set aside 500 million for the Bank?
3. How was Mr Higgins engaged, by who and what are the costs? Fees, expenses travel and entertainment.
4. What were the terms and scope of the engagement, deliverable?
5. Were any Taxpayer resources or confidential Government documents provided for Mr. Higgins?
6. Did the F.M. abuse the power of the office?
The answers to your questions are included in Annex A. Any reasons for not providing information are provided below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) (Formulation or Development of Scottish Government Policy) of FOISA applies to your first question ("Under what authority did the F.M. initiate the project?") because it relates to the formulation of the Scottish Government's policy on the Scottish National Investment Bank.
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, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on the Scottish National Investment Bank will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on that and related policies.
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