FOI reference: FOI/18/01430
Date received: 25 June 2018
Date responded: 17 July 2018
For the period January 2017 to June 2017, information held by Transport Scotland relating to deductions made under s5.9 of the PSC with Argyll Ferries.
Further to my e-mail 25 June 2018, I have completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).
I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modifications.
I have found that, while it is legitimate to apply an exemption under section 33(1)(b) to some of the information that was withheld in the original response, some of this information should have been released as it would not harm the commercial interests of Argyll Ferries Ltd. I have also found that some information that was provided to you should have been withheld as it is personal information. Please find enclosed some of the information you have requested. 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 section 38(1)(b) and 33(1)(b) of FOISA apply to the information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter. Any information outwith the scope of your request has also been redacted. For ease of reference, I have replicated the enclosure to the original response with some of the information that was redacted now visible and the personal information that was visible now redacted.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this review you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner about our decision within 6 months of receiving this letter. Information on how to make an appeal, along with an application form, is available on the Commissioner's website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Unhappywiththeresponse/AppealingtoCommissioner.aspx
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing this would contravene the data protection principles on Schedule 1 of 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.
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 Argyll Ferries Ltd. Disclosing some of the financial and technical information about Argyll Ferries Ltd would put them at a competitive disadvantage in any future tendering exercises by revealing assumptions that the company has made as part of their business planning and the maintenance requirements of their vessels.
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 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