- 18 Mar 2019
Date received: 12 Feb 2019
Date responded: 13 Mar 2019
Please release the following documents in relation to the Scottish Government’s meeting with The Scottish Council of Independent Schools on 12 September 2018 regarding the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill:
1) All briefings/prep documents/other papers for this meeting
2) Minutes of the meeting
3) Any subsequent notes/papers relating to this meeting
1. While the aim of the Scottish Government is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under section 30(b)(i), and s.38(1)(b), of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained at the bottom of this letter.
2. An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption applies to certain documents, “briefings/prep documents/other papers” and “subsequent notes/papers” under the terms of your request, where the document and its contents are considered to be advice to Ministers. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice would substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.
3. An exemption under section s.38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies to data that it is considered to be the personal data of a third party. This exemption is 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 exemption. This exemption applies to, “subsequent notes/papers”, under the terms of your request - written correspondence from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools following this meeting. We have considered that it would not be appropriate to share this third party correspondence. There is no way in which the document could be redacted to protect the identity of the third party. However, we have shared the response from a Scottish Government official to this correspondence. Names and contact information have been redacted where appropriate.
4. The Scottish Government does hold documents that fall within the scope of your request. I have attached below a document that falls within the scope of your request. I have also enclosed an attachment pdf of a document that falls within the scope of your request.
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 Andrews House