Publication - FOI/EIR release

NHS Grampian projects to support reduced waiting times: FOI release

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

Published:
4 Jul 2018
NHS Grampian projects to support reduced waiting times: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/00339
Date received: 1 February 2018
Date responded: 3 July 2018

Information requested

Information in relations to the answer to Parliamentary Question S5W-13227. The additional information requested was:

A full list of the projects which NHS Grampian have in place to support reductions in waiting times that are directly related to the £4.9m funding Shona Robison refers to in the PQ answer.

I would request that this includes the name, description, leader, cost and expected benefit/outcome of the project, as well as the date it commenced and when it is expected to finish.

I would also request the full Project Initiation Document (PID) for each project. Digital copies of all of the correspondence (including agendas and minutes) between the Scottish Government officials referred to in Robison's response and NHS Grampian relating to these projects.

Response

We endeavour to provide information whenever possible and have now completed our search for the information you requested, and apologise for the delay in responding. We have applied a number of exemptions, however no document has been withheld. The reasons why these exemptions have been applied are explained below. It should also be noted that some documents have also been redacted due to being outwith the scope of your FOI request. The annex below sets out what exemptions have been applied to each document.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) has been applied to some of the information requested. It is essential for officials to be able to communicate, often in confidence, with external stakeholders on a range of issues, including on action to reduce waiting times. Disclosing the content of these communications particularly without the consent of the stakeholder, is likely to undermine their trust in the Scottish Government and will substantially inhibit communications on this type of issue in the future. These stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that their views are likely to be made public. This would significantly harm the Government's ability to carry out many aspects of its work, and could adversely affect its ability to gather all of the evidence it needs to make fully informed decisions.

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 allowing Ministers and officials private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's position on how to deliver improved waiting times with in NHS Grampian.

This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence, such as that provided by NHS Grampian. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) has been applied to the information requested because it contains personal data of a third party - these are names and telephone/mobile number of NHS Grampian staff as well Scottish Government staff below senior civil servant level - 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 the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Exemption section 25 (1) has also applied to NHS Grampians Project Status Update document as it contains management information on waiting times. This has been redacted from the document as waiting time information is accessible from ISD Scotland website which publishes quarterly information at the following link: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Waiting-Times/Publications/index.asp

Docu Document Date Document detail Exemption applied
Email dated 23 October 2017 Paper for performance meeting on 25 October 2017 Section 38 (1) (b):
Email 6 November 2017 Actions from performance management meeting on 25 October 2017 Section 38 (1) (b) Also redaction on email due to items outwith the scope of the FOI.
Email 15 November 2017 Request for update of bids Section 38 (1) (b) Project update document not provided as– later version provided with document dated 17 January 2018
Email of 24 November 2017 Project update Section 38 (1) (b) and Section 30(c). Also redactions of items out with scope of FOI.
17 January 2018 Agenda and papers for meeting with Access Support on 23 November 2017. Section 38 (1) (b) Section 25 (1) Section 30 (c) Also redactions of items out with scope of FOI.

About FOI

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

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG