Fort Regent reports (FOI)
Fort Regent reports (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 01 July 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
ProduceUK Ltd was hired by the Government in 2020 on a £28,000 contract to bring “animation and enlivenment” to Fort Regent in the medium term.
Could you kindly provide us with a copy of the original draft report and the final report on Fort Regent from ProduceUK as well as any presentation given to the Government on short-term uses for the Fort?
'In Partnership With Ltd’ was awarded a £215,000 to advise on plans for the long-term use of the Fort.
Could you kindly provide us with a copy of the original draft report and the final report on Fort Regent from ‘In Partnership With Ltd’ as well as any presentation given to the Government on long term uses for the Fort?
Could you confirm whether any of the companies received any additional payments on top of their respective contract of £28,000 and £215,000?
A and B
Article 35 (Formulation and Development of Policies) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 has been applied to the release of this information as both draft reports, which were presented to the interim Fort Regent Political Group in July 2020, were not approved. Discussions regarding the development of Fort Regent are still on going and finalised reports will be shared in due course.
Release of the information at this stage will likely generate misinformed debate. This would affect the ability of officials to consider and develop policy away from external pressures, and to advise Ministers appropriately. Further information regarding the decision to apply this exemption is set out at the end of this response.
The Government of Jersey has not made any additional payments to either company in excess to their respective contract sums. However, should we require either company to carry out further work in the future, additional payments may be approved.
Article 35 - Formulation and development of policies
Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.
In applying this article, the following considerations were taken into account.
Public interest considerations favouring disclosure:
disclosure of the information would support transparency and promote accountability to the general public, providing confirmation that the necessary discussions have taken place
disclosure to the public fulfils an educative role about the early stages in policy development and illustrates how the department engages with parties for this purpose.
Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information:
in order to best develop policy and provide advice to Ministers, officials need a safe space in which free and frank discussion can take place – discussion of how documentation is presented and provided is considered as integral to policy development as iterations of documents are demonstrative of the policy development process
the need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of a policy
release of the information at this stage might generate misinformed debate. This would affect the ability of officials to consider and develop policy away from external pressures, and to advise Ministers appropriately
premature disclosure of this information may limit the willingness of parties to provide their honest views and feedback. This would hamper and harm the policy–making process not only in relation to this subject area but in respect of future policy development across wider departmental business.
Internal review request
I would like to request an internal review regarding questions A and B of my request.
The answer explicitly states that the draft reports were not approved, which means they will not form part of the development of policies for Fort Regent and therefore Article 35 can not be applied.
Internal review Response
This review was undertaken by the Director of Property and Capital Projects who found as follows:
I have reviewed the response and considered whether the requested reports and documents (the ‘Reports’) can be released since they were not approved by the interim Fort Regent Political Group.
In general terms, a government policy can be seen as a plan to achieve a particular outcome or change in the real world. In this case, the development of a policy to optimise the future use of Fort Regent.
Article 35 states that ‘Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.’
Some of the specific wording used in the exemption is broken down below.
The term ‘relates to’ can be interpreted widely, which means that the information does not itself have to be part of the policy but there must be a significant link. Therefore, information collated before the policy is created, such as the Reports in question here, would likely be exempt from release as there is still potential for the information in them to be used in, or affect the policy, as it continues to be developed.
The term ‘‘formulation’ broadly refers to the design of the new policy or early stages of a policy process which is when the following occur:
The requested Reports are considered, at this stage, to be a part of this early policy design process, and they therefore remain exempt from release.
I have also reviewed the public interest test shown in the original response and along with the information provided above, I have concluded that the Reports are ‘related’ to the ‘formulation’ of Policy in this case. Therefore, they remain exempt from release, with the public interest test in favour of withholding them, at this time.