- 27 Sep 2018
Date received: 24 August 2018
Date responded: 21 September 2018
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
You may also find the information we released in a recent FOI request (FOI/18/01712) relating to the Scottish Fiscal Commission’s report of interest. You can access this information through the following link:- https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-18-01712/ Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) and under section 30 b(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. These exemptions recognise the need for Scottish Government officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to the Scottish Fiscal Commission before the Commission reaches a settled view as agreed within the protocol. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on the development of the content of their Report will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.
These exemptions are subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to the Scottish Fiscal Commission. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good decisions can be taken. Disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Scottish Government officials and Commission officials as agreed within the protocol, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House