Publication - FOI/EIR release

Meetings with Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA): FOI release

Published: 9 Sep 2020

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

Published:
9 Sep 2020
Meetings with Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA): FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000074442
Date received: 12 Aug 2020
Date responded: 8 Sep 2020
Information requested

In your request, you asked:
Details of any meetings (including typed or hand-written notes, any minutes or briefings produced for these meetings) between the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills, John Swinney MSP, and the SQA. I would like this information between 01 June 2020 and 30 June 2020, and for 30 July 2020. For clarity, by 'meetings' I also refer to meetings held on digital platforms or phone conversations.

Response

I enclose a copy of the information you requested.

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 section 30(c) (substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs) and section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information.

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to conduct secure meetings by teleconference because we would not be able to reuse links, IDs and passcodes, or use similar ones, with confidence if that information were published. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the
exemption.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of the 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 release in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining secure lines of remote communication to ensure that the Scottish Government is able to conduct its business effectively.

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, i.e. names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it 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.

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.

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