Correspondence with Zero Waste Scotland: FOI release

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

Information requested

I would like to request a copy of correspondence and documents, covering the past six month, shared between the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland regarding the transition of the latter to a public organisation.


Accompanying this response letter, I attach 10 separate documents, including correspondence documents, that meet the scope of the above request.

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(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice, and Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation – of FOISA applies to this information.

This exemption applies because disclosure would, or be likely to substantially inhibit the free and frank provision of advice, and exchange of views between the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), during the current period of transitioning Zero Waste Scotland to a public sector controlled organisation, following the classification decision by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 28 April 2023, officially recognising ZWS as a public sector organisation.

This exemption recognises the need for Scottish Government and ZWS officials to have a private space within which to share free and frank advice, and exchange views, before both organisations reach a settled view on the most appropriate shape and structure of ZWS, as a public sector organisation.

Disclosing the content of free and frank advice shared as part of this live process would inhibit the exchange of views between the parties [SG and ZWS] and risks undermining ZWS’s internal communications and consultations with staff; the outcomes of which will form a critical role in shaping future decisions on the organisation’s structure and functions.

The Section 30(b) exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test.’ Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this request, 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 a private space within which officials from the Scottish Government and ZWS can provide full and frank advice and exchange views, as part of the process of exploring and reaching an agreed position on the organisational shape and structure of ZWS.

This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, and open communication exchanges, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Scottish Government and ZWS officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

Where these exemptions were applied partially to some of the information being released, you will note redactions within the documents at the relevant sections deemed not for disclosure (i.e. exempt information as outline above).

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI202300366585 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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