Publication - FOI/EIR release

Handling of Harassment complaints: FOI release

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

Published:
14 Oct 2020
Handling of Harassment complaints: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000087823
Date received: 15 Sep 2020
Date responded: 13 Oct 2020
Information requested

1. Any correspondence (including letters and emails) either to or from the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, on the subject of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints. I would like this information from 01 August 2020 to 15 September 2020.

2. Any briefings issued to the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, concerning the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints. I would like this information from 01 August 2020 to 15 September 2020.

3. Minutes of any meetings between the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans. I would like this information from 10 August 2020 to 15 September 2020.

4. Any briefings issued to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, for First Minister's Questions on 10 January 2019 and 17 January 2019.

Response

In response to your first and second 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. The reason for this is that to locate and retrieve that information we would need to conduct a search of all of the records of the Scottish Government. 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 specify names of people whose correspondence to the Permanent Secretary you are particularly interested in or restrict your request to a smaller time frame, 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.

In response to your third request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government holds no minutes of one to one meetings between the Permanent Secretary and the First Minister relevant to your request. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Finally, in response to your fourth request, I enclose most of the information you have requested in Annex A and B. Elements of the FMQ briefs below have been redacted under exemption 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice. 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 for specific elements of the advice. However, we recognise that
there is some public interest in release and the following material has therefore been provided.

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