Rail Projects Team

Rail Delivery
Buchanan House, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow G4 0HF Direct Line: 0141 272 7423, Fax: 0141 272 7536 Ian.mylroi@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk


Your ref: Our ref: Date: 23 June 2006

David Miller Professor of Sociology Dept Geography and Sociology Strathclyde university 50 Richmond Street GLASGOW G1 1XU

Dear Professor Miller Further to my letter of 19 April, I have now completed my review of our response to your request made under the Freedom of Information ( Scotland ) Act regarding meetings and communications between Nicol Stephen and First Group, Green Haus PR, Chris Winslow and Neil Gillam. I have concluded that our response to your request should be modified. The initial search for material had been within appropriate operational files held within the Rail Delivery Directorate of Transport Scotland but did not extend to Scottish Executive Transport Group or to Ministerial Diary information. It is my view that this was too restrictive, please accept my apologies for this. I now enclose the relevant papers identified during the review of this case. Additionally, my review has uncovered a small number of documents which I consider should also have been provided from a re-examination of Transport Scotland files, these are included within the attachment. A number of the background papers to meetings have been withheld unders Sections 29(1)(a), 30(b) and 33(1) (b) as they contain information in relation to the formulation or development of Government policy, information to allow the free and frank exchange of views and/ or information which would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of a company. In reaching my decision about releasing the information covered by each of these exemptionsI have applied the 'public interest test', where I carefully weigh up the balance between whether it would be in the public's best interest to either release or withhold the information. I have concluded that in each case the balance of public interest lies in withholding this information for the following reasons. It is important that Ministers and officials have a free space in which it is possible to consider policy options. Ministers should be able to take decisions on the basis of the best available advice and be confident that such advice is given without reserve and without regard to the possibility that such advice will be placed into the public domain. It is also important that commercial information is released which may seriously prejudice the commercial interests of a company. Disclosure of such information would make it less likely that the Scottish Executive would be provided with such information in the future and this would consequently undermine its ability to fulfil its role. I note also that neither the initial request, nor indeed this review, have been concluded within the prescribed timeframes. Please accept my apologies on this matter also, particularly for the length if time to conclude the review. This was due, in the main, to the need to consult widely with colleagues in Transport Group and Ministerial Private Office.

www.transportscotland.gov.uk

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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. You can contact the Commissioner at: Kinburn Castle Doubledykes Road St Andrews Fife KY16 9DS Email: enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info Tel: 01334 464610 Yours sincerely,

IAN MYLROI Head of Rail Projects

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