Audit Scotland report Common Agricultural Policy Futures programme: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01615
Date received: 11 July 2017
Date responded: 14 August 2017

Information requested

All correspondence between the Scottish Government and Audit Scotland relating to the Audit Scotland report entitled Common Agricultural Policy Futures programme: Further update between the first draft and the final document released in June 2017.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.

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 exemption(s) under section(s) 28(1) (Relations within the United Kingdom) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

An exemption under section 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the UK) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive. It is essential for the effective administration of the UK as a whole that there should be regular, and often private, communications between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the other devolved administrations. The release of these communications relating to interim figures for disallowance applied will mean that the other Administrations are likely to be more reluctant to share such information with the Scottish Government in future, which would reduce both the frequency and openness of communications between the Scottish Government and other UK administrations.

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 maintaining good relations between the Scottish Government and the other UK Administrations, and in protecting the free exchange of information between the administrations to ensure that we keep each other fully and regularly informed about matters of mutual interest, such as interim figures relating to disallowances applied. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt future communications.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of staff, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing theinformation outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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