Publication - FOI/EIR release

Further correspondence from 5th to 12th of February regarding Mr Mackay: FOI release

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

Published:
12 Mar 2020
Further correspondence from 5th to 12th of February regarding Mr Mackay: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000015900
Date received: 7 Feb 2020
Date responded: 11 Mar 2020
Information requested

1) Please provide all correspondence between Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Government special advisers, her Chief of Staff and private office in relation to allegations about the conduct Derek Mackay and subsequently his resignation from government between noon on 5 February and 12 February 2020.

2) Please provide all correspondence between Derek Mackay and Nicola Sturgeon between 5 and 12 February 2020 regarding allegations about his conduct and subsequent resignation from government.

3) Please provide all correspondence between Derek Mackay and Scottish Government special advisers or the First Minister’s office regarding allegations about his conduct and subsequent resignation from government between 5 and 12 February 2020.

4) Please provide all correspondence between Derek Mackay and Scottish Government communications staff regarding allegations about his conduct and subsequent resignation from government between 5 and 12 February 2020.

5) Please provide all correspondence between Scottish Government special advisers and other Scottish Government officials in relation to allegations about Derek Mackay and his subsequent resignation from government between 5-12 February.

The correspondence should include written notes, emails, mobile phone messages and What’s App messages.

Response

With regards to the first part of your request. Please see Annex A for the information the Scottish Government holds within the scope your request. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested in full because exemptions under section 38(1)(b) (Personal data relating to third party) and 39(1) (Health and Safety) of FOISA applies to that information.

Section 38(1)(b) can be applied when disclosure of the information requested would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the GDPR. 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.

Section 39(1) applies because we consider that release would be likely to endanger the safety of Ministers. 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. While we recognise that there is some public interest in release of this information in order to promote openness, there is a much greater public interest in avoiding significant risks to the safety of Ministers.

With regards to the second, third and fourth parts of your request. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

With regards to the fifth part of your request while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because your request covers everyone working within Scottish Government, this is over 6000 officials. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12. You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, you could restrict your request to a specific business area of the Scottish Government, as this would allow us to limit the searches that would require to be conducted.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx.

You may also find it helpful to look at our responses to other freedom of information requests https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202000015331/ and https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202000015634/.

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/202000015900 - Annex A

6 page PDF
212.7 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