Publication - FOI/EIR release

COVID-19 crisis correspondence between SAAS and Scottish Funding Council (SFC): FOI release

Published: 1 Jul 2020

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

Published:
1 Jul 2020
COVID-19 crisis correspondence between SAAS and Scottish Funding Council (SFC): FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000041546
Date received: 28 May 2020
Date responded: 22 Jun 2020
Information requested

All correspondence or documentation (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters) between SAAS and the SFC on the issue of the COVID-19 crisis from 30 March 2020 to the 20 May 2020.

Response

While we do endeavour to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) (policy formulation), 29(1)(b) (ministerial communication), 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA apply to that information.

This is because some of the correspondence which would fall within the scope of your request were free and frank discussions between officials with regards to the formulation of government policy.
There was also correspondence which detailed correspondence directly with the minister.
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 exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release because of the current situation and the huge interest in how the government is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in being able to rely on officials being given the opportunity to discuss new policy or changes to policy in a free and frank exchange with the confidence that their discussions would remain between those officials concerned.

I am pleased to attach what can be released and have provided an index to help identify each piece of correspondence.
I have also redacted the names and contact details of individual’s named in the correspondence in terms of s38 of FOISA as it is considered to be personal information.

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Contact

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

The Scottish Government
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Edinburgh
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