A copy of email correspondence from special advisers and Scottish Government officials during the period 1st November 2021 to 31st March 2022 where deposit return (DRS) was discussed.
I apologise for the delay in responding to your request for information. The delay has arisen as a result in the number of requests in relation to the Deposit Return Scheme. We are taking steps to ensure EIR requests are processed timeously in future, and apologise for the inconvenience on this occasion.
I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modifications. I have reviewed our initial response, in particular the application of the exception at 10(4)(e) (internal communications). I have concluded that some additional information should now be released to you and have enclosed a copy at Annex A. The exception at 10(4)(e) applies to the remainder of the information because it is internal communications and has not been shared externally.
I have reconsidered the public interest test with reference to the remaining withheld information, and reconsidered whether the balance of the public interest lies in release of the information or in upholding the exception. I recognise the public interest in disclosure, for reasons of transparency and open government. I also recognise the public interest in the DRS more generally. However, these factors are outweighed by the need for officials and Special Advisers to have a private space in which policy may be discussed freely and all options considered. Therefore, on balance, the public interest lies in upholding the exception.
Some further information has been withheld from that now supplied because it is the personal information (i.e. names of individuals) of third parties. An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to this information requested because it is personal data of a third party 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 exception 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 exception.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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