- 22 Jun 2018
FOI reference: FOI/17/03066
Date received: 20 December 2017
Date responded: 22 February 2018
1. Any correspondence between the government and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) regarding the appointment of Gleniffer Solutions Limited to the SPA and Police Scotland.
2. i) Any correspondence between the government and the SPA regarding payments to John Foley relating to his retirement including the £43,000 early retirement payment, pension and £57,000 lump sum
ii) Information on who was required to approve these payments
iii) The justification provided for these payments.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested under point 1(appointment of Gleniffer Solutions). 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 sections s.30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and s.30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter. For added clarity, we have however provided copies of responses to a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and a Parliamentary Question relating to this matter.
The information you have requested in 2(i) (correspondence relating to payments to John Foley) is largely already available from the web pages of the Scottish Parliament's Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee.
Further information in response to 2(i) is attached to this letter. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a full version of the email of 23 August 2017 because an exemption applies under Section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.
In response to your questions at 2(ii) and 2(iii), it is for the Scottish Police Authority Board to consider and decide matters relating to an early retirement package for an outgoing Chief Executive. They did so within a pre-approved Voluntary Redundancy/Voluntary Early Retirement scheme which is available to all staff. The SPA has provided justifications for its decisions in this case, and I refer you in particular to the SPA's letter to Audit Scotland dated 24 November 2017, available as part of the Committee papers at the link above. In addition, you may wish to refer to the evidence provided to the Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee by SPA representatives on 25 January 2018 and SPA's follow-up letter of 5 February 2018.
I have also applied an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. email addresses and contact details of individuals, 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 I am not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
Reasons for not providing information
Exemptions under section 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and section 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested.
These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice, the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation or free and frank discussions between the Scottish Government and its external stakeholders. These exemptions recognise the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers and to have free and frank discussions with each other and with stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice and exchange of views on sensitive issues related to Business Cases, and of the views expressed by stakeholders, will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice, and the free and frank exchange of views and discussions with stakeholders in the future.
These exemptions are 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 a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers and in which full and frank discussion of issues can take place, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's position. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.
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 Andrew's House