- Any internal Scottish Government communications concerning the £400 teacher bonus payment. I would like this information from 15 September 2021 to 25 October 2021.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
Within the enclosures, redactions have been made under section 30(b)(ii), section 30(c) and section 38(1)(b). In addition, some information within the enclosures has been redacted as it is considered out with the scope of the request.
An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice, as part of relationships which remain vital in supporting the processing of financial claims.
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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions.
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 Ministers and officials a private space within which issues can be explored and refined to enable the Government as a whole to reach a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space also allows for all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken.
An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs applies to some of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice and inhibit our ability to gather information required from grant recipients for processing of financial claims. 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 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. However, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that sensitive and private information required for processing financial claims can be gathered from grant recipients and collated for monitoring and tracking purposes, ensuring that the Scottish Government is able to undertake due diligence and conduct this aspect of its business effectively.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. the names/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.
I wish to apologise for the significant delay in issuing a response to your request. There has been a significant amount of interest in decisions taken around the assessment of National Qualifications in 2021 and 2022 and in related issues. This increased demand on the team who was dealing with these issues, both in relation to a significant number of Freedom of Information requests being submitted as well as crucial policy development work.
The information requested in many cases was also of a complexity and sensitivity which required input from a number of teams, and required review by a limited number of senior policy officials with knowledge of the specific sensitivities who also had significant competing priorities for their time. Time was required to ensure that a comprehensive record of any relevant information was provided to each of these requests.
These pressures occurred over a period of time when there was reduced resources within the team and several staff changes which caused issues in terms of continuity and efficiency of processing FOI requests.
Officials are working to improve processes and learn lessons from this extremely busy period, to ensure that a more effective service is provided in future.
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.
- File type
- 38 page PDF
- File size
- 576.0 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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