Publication - FOI/EIR release

Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments at Primary 1 information: FOI release

Published: 26 Jul 2019

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

Published:
26 Jul 2019
Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments at Primary 1 information: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900002062
Date received: 12 Jun 2019
Date responded: 26 Jul 2019
Information requested

You asked for the following information in relation to the Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments at Primary 1 (the independent review) under FOISA:

  • Any draft copies/versions of the Scottish Government’s response to the independent review
  • All internal  communication regarding the independent review

Date range: 01/09/2018 – present

Response

Having considered all relevant information I have attached various pdf files with all available information included.  While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 25(1) (information otherwise accessible), 30(b)(i) (free and frank advice), 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, 30(c) substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs and 38(1)(b) (personal information), applies to that information.   The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
Section 25(1) – information otherwise accessible

An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested – Information otherwise accessible. As this information is already in the public domain, we are not required to provide it.

Section 30(b)(i) and Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank provision of advice/exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) and  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 provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.  These exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers and other officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.  Disclosing the content of free and frank advice will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.

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 a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s policy position, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective.  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.  Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

Section 30(c) – substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs 

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested.  It is essential for Ministers and officials to be able to communicate, often in confidence, with external stakeholders on a range of issues.   Disclosing the content of these comminications, particularly without the consent of the stakeholder, is likely to undermine their trust in the Scottish Government and will substantially inhibit communications on this type of issue in the future.  These stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that their views are likely to be made public, particularly while discussions are ongoing and decisions have not been taken.  This would significantly harm the Government’s ability to carry out many aspects of its work, and could adversely affect its ability to gather all of the evidence it needs to make fully informed decisions.

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 communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on particular issues until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective.  This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence.  Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.  

Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party

An exemption under section 38(1) (b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles set out in article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and 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.

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-201900002062 - Email Chains

142 page PDF
1.7 MB

FOI-201900002062 - Attachment - K

1 page PDF
139.7 kB

FOI-201900002062 - Attachment - L

1 page PDF
141.1 kB

FOI-201900002062 - Attachment - M

22 page PDF
216.0 kB

FOI-201900002062 - Attachment - N

19 page PDF
271.8 kB

FOI-201900002062 - Attachment - O

10 page PDF
504.4 kB

Contact

  1. 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