The purpose of amendment 5 is to prevent public authorities from claiming commercial confidentiality when passing information between each other. It may seem odd to talk about public authorities trying to dress things up in commercial confidentiality, but increasingly frequently, a public authority will ask another to tender for a specific service.
When the Scottish Prison Service put social work and education for prisoners out to tender and
In another recent case, Glasgow City Council was unable to provide information relating to the national asylum support service on the basis that it was commercially confidential. I do not believe that one public authority that is working with another should be able to dress matters up in commercial confidentiality. Amendment 5 seeks to ensure that that does not happen.
I move amendment 5.
Amendment 5 seeks to disallow any claim to the commercial exemption if the information has been passed between two or more public authorities. That is simply absurd. Commercially sensitive information does not cease to be commercially sensitive because it has been passed between public authorities. For the most part, the exemption is content based, which means that the information can be withheld only if its disclosure would cause substantial prejudice and if disclosure would be contrary to the public interest. It is the information that is sensitive; it has nothing to do with the holder.
Under amendment 5, if sensitive commercial information regarding inward investment opportunities was passed from the local enterprise company to the local authority, it could not be withheld, which could jeopardise the creation of jobs. Also under amendment 5, if sensitive commercial information regarding a rescue package for a business that was under threat of closure was passed from Scottish Enterprise to the Scottish Executive, it could not be withheld and that could jeopardise the preservation of jobs and the financial position of employees.
Amendment 5 is nonsense and I urge that it be rejected.
Division number 14
For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Elder, Dorothy-Grace, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Matheson, Michael, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Morgan, Alasdair, Reid, Mr George, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harding, Mr Keith, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLeish, Henry, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Mundell, David, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Ben, Wallace, Mr Jim, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan