Freedom of Information releases

Grants to Denfind Stone Ltd

Grants to Denfind Stone Ltd: FOI release (reference 4863)

Date received

11 December 2020

Date responded

14 January 2021

Information requested

I would like information showing the basis and nature of all grants and funding applications made by or on behalf of Denfind Stone Ltd. Pitairlie Quarry, Monikie.

I would like information on all financial awards made to Denfind Stone Ltd. I would like information showing the criteria and decision making process applied to financial awards to Denfind Stone Ltd.

I would like information showing details of the audit process applied to awards made to Denfind Stone Ltd.

I would like details of conditions attached or applied to awards made to Denfind Stone Ltd.

I would like information and details of follow up and or reviews that the awarding body has made, or intends to make, to ensure the correct appropriation of funds and or awards to Denfind Stone Ltd.


Financial awards to Denfind Stone Ltd:

  • £70,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant in 2015
  • Intervention Framework grant payments as follows:
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
£2,550 £5,400              
    £4,880         £7,320  
      £7,500         £7,500
        £2,328 £209      

Grant terms and conditions

RSA grants are available to businesses in Scotland who want to develop a project in Scotland. The project should result in safeguarding jobs in Scotland. These grants are open to most sectors and are worth £20,000 to £1 million.

Most grants are paid in arrears and are linked to development milestones. Grants can also come with various terms or conditions. For example, the final value of RSA grant received is dependent on the business meeting capital expenditure and job creation targets.

A copy of the RSA award letter to Denfind Stones Ltd, which contains information on conditions of grant, is provided at Appendix A.

Post completion monitoring reports are done at random for cases of this size and this particular case was not chosen for a report, therefore section 17 of FOISA applies.

We advise you that exemptions have been applied throughout the document released at Appendix A. A detailed description of why these exemptions have been applied is as follows:

Section 38(1)(b) - personal information

The exemption contained in section 38(1)(b) of FOISA has been applied to some of the information you requested, and that information redacted.
Section 38(1)(b) together with Article 5(1) of the GDPR creates an exemption from disclosure where the information requested constitutes the personal data of a third party and disclosure of that data would breach any of the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”). Article 5(1) states that “personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject.” As an absolute exemption, there is no need to consider the public interest in the application of this exemption. SE is satisfied that the information that has been withheld constitutes the ‘personal data’ of the individuals concerned, as defined in section 1(1) of the DPA 2018. SE has examined whether or not disclosure of the information you have requested, insofar as that is personal data, would breach the requirements of the first data protection principle.


In assessing whether release of the information would be fair, we have had regard to the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Exemption Briefing Series on the section 38 exemption, and to guidance produced by the UK Information Commissioner, who has overall responsibility for data protection issues throughout the UK. In line with that guidance, and in coming to the decision to withhold personal data on the basis that it would be unfair to release it, we have taken into consideration:

  • Any potential damage or distress which may be caused by disclosure of the information
  • The seniority of the individuals’ positions
  • Whether the information relates to the public or private life of the individual
  • And the expectations of the data subjects with regard to the release of the information

We are of the view that release of the information would be unfair and in breach of the first data protection principle, therefore making it unlawful. Given that the disclosure would be unfair, and therefore unlawful, release would not comply with the first data protection principle, and as such it is not necessary to go on to consider any of the conditions in schedules 2 or 3 of the DPA 2018, or other aspects of lawfulness. The information must be withheld under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA, taken together with Article 5(1) of the GDPR.

Section 33(1)(b) Commercial Interests

The exemption contained in section 33(1)(b) of FOISA has been applied to some of the information you requested, and that information redacted. This section allows information to be withheld where its disclosure under the Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality, a Scottish public authority). The public interest test and harm test are provided as follows:Release of information would have the result of causing real, significant and substantial prejudice to the parties involved.

Harm test – substantial prejudice

Release of the information would reveal confidential aspects of the organisation's current positions and operational plans to the public, which would have a negative commercial impact. This is particularly relevant to development projects, as public knowledge would remove any advantage that could be sought from bringing initiatives forward in a competitive marketplace. The information withheld relates to commercial activity and includes project milestones, finance details and staffing information. It is therefore our view that disclosure of this information would cause the business real, significant and substantial prejudice.

The public interest test

We recognise that there is a public interest in decision-making processes within public authorities being as open and transparent as is possible. We also recognise that making certain information available can increase the accountability of public authorities for decisions that are made that may have an impact on the wider public.

However, balanced against these considerations there is also a public interest in ensuring regard is given to the protection of commercial interests which would be diminished by the release of the requested information. We consider that there is no public interest or benefit in releasing information which could have an adverse effect on the commercial interests of third parties.

Allowing parties to maintain confidentiality in their commercial positions for prospective transactions is important to support the proper and efficient operation of free markets, which is of serious concern and benefit to the public. As such we consider that the public interest also favours the withholding of this information.

On balance, we have concluded that, in respect of the commercially sensitive information requested, the public interest is better served in withholding the information.

Contact us

For further information contact our communications team, quoting the FOI reference number.