Publication - FOI/EIR release

Delay of devolved benefits concerns correspondence: FOI release

Published: 13 May 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
13 May 2019
Delay of devolved benefits concerns correspondence: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00915
Date received: 29 Mar 2019
Date responded: 7 May 2019
Information requested

Any correspondence between any of the Senior Leadership Team at Social Security Scotland regarding the delay of the delivery of devolved benefits and/or any concerns (impact/budgeting/funding/dwp etc) as stated by Cab Sec on 28/02/19 in the last 3 months.

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some the information you have requested because of exemptions under sections s.29(1)(a) (policy formulation), s.38(1)(b) (personal information), s.30(b)(i)(free and frank provision of advice) and s.30(b)(ii)(free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex A below. The information you requested can be found in Annex B attached.

ANNEX A

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exemption applies

An exemption under s.30(b)(i)(free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. 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 on managing risks will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because these discussions are still ongoing and decisions have not been taken.
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.

An exemption applies
An exemption under s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.
A further exemption under 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) also applies to this request for information. The information relating to personal data of junior staff disclosure 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.
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.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section s.29(1)(a) (policy formulation) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government’s policy on managing risks. This policy is still under consideration and premature release is likely to undermine the ability of officials and Ministers to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.
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. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. 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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on managing risks will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section s.30(b)(ii)(free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.
An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions around the development of this submission will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, particularly because these discussions are still ongoing and policy is still being formulated.

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. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. 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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s position on Social Security until the Government as a whole can adopt a position that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest

 

About FOI

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.

 

foi-19-00915 Response

35 page PDF
771.6 kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG