- 5 Mar 2019
Date received: 6 Feb 2019
Date responded: 4 Mar 2019
A copy of the paper on Management Information presented to the Social Security Scotland Executive Advisory Body on 23/10/18.
I enclose a copy of all of the information you requested in the form of a PDF document.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some information because Section 30(c) and Section 38 (1)(b) of FOISA applies to that information.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to an aspect of the information you have requested. Disclosing this information 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.
An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (harm to the conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the ability to inform an advisory body of the relevant information needed to enable the effective conduct of Social Security Scotland’s affairs.
This exemption recognises that, in order for Social Security Scotland to be able to operate effectively, its advisory body needs to have a private space in order to discuss and provide meaningful advice. Disclosing the content would inhibit the ability to provide the official data necessary to fully inform the advisory body, and therefore hinder the advisory body’s ability to carry out its role and discharge its responsibilities Discussion of indicative management information and the provision of advice on this data is central to the role of an advisory body, for officials to be able to understand issues with the data, to formulate a quality opinion, and to fulfil their remit in provide meaningful 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. 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 officials a private space within which to receive early data on management information in order to be fully informed and therefore able to fulfil their role as an advisory body and give meaningful advice. This private space is essential to enable the data to be properly considered, so that good advice can be given and good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank provision of advice between officials, which in turn will undermine the advisory body’s ability to conduct their role to standard required. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to fully inform an official advisory body to ensure the body is able to give substantial advice and conduct its role to the standard required. Therefore, enabling the SG body to fully implement its governance structures and act accordingly within the public’s interest. We intend to publish much of the management information that is in the Executive Advisory Body paper as part of a regular, scheduled set of publications, once appropriate quality assurance has been undertaken. This is in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics, which states that statistics should be published as part of an orderly release and be equally available to all, not given to some people before others.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House