Thursday, November 25, 2004

Scottish Prison Service can withhold Reliance contract details

Issued 24th November, 2004

Scottish Prison Service can withhold Reliance contract details

The Scottish Information Commissioner [1] today announced the outcome of his investigation into the complaint by Nicola Sturgeon MSP over the decision by the Scottish Prison Service not to publish its contract with Reliance, for prisoner escort services, in full.

He has determined that the presence of a confidentiality clause in the contract between the Scottish Prison Service (“SPS”) and Reliance Secure Task Management Ltd (“Reliance”) meant that the SPS did not breach the Code of Practice on Access to Scottish Executive Information [2] (“the Code”) when it withheld details from the contract published on 20 May 2004.

However, the Commissioner expressed his dissatisfaction with this type of confidentiality agreement, which required that any information in the contract be withheld solely at the request of Reliance. In a commentary on the case, he noted that this kind of clause would not comply with the good practice guidelines regarding confidentiality agreements to be followed by public authorities once the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 [3] (“the Act”) comes into force on 1 January 2005.

The Commissioner, Kevin Dunion concluded:

“In my view, the SPS did not make a compelling case that applying the exemptions of the Code of Practice alone justified the withholding of the information. Nor, even if the exemptions did apply, have they demonstrated to me that the public interest lay in withholding rather than releasing the information. However, as the information requested is subject to a contractual confidentiality agreement between SPS and Reliance and given that the Code of Practice does not set aside statutory or other legal restrictions on disclosure, the SPS is entitled to withhold the information.”

The full text of the Commissioner’s decision can be viewed on this website at

1 comment:

Eagle said...

came accross your blog.
appreciate if you pay visit to my site:

global domains