Publication - FOI/EIR release

Funding and correspondence in relation to Oxfam projects: FOI release

Published: 4 Jun 2018

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

Published:
4 Jun 2018
Funding and correspondence in relation to Oxfam projects: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/00490
Date received: 7 November 2018
Date responded: 19 April 2018

Information requested

  • Details of all funding provided by the Scottish Government to Oxfam (including Oxfam Scotland, Oxfam UK and Oxfam worldwide). Details should include the amount and the purpose it was given.

  • Details of correspondence (including letters, emails and records of any phone calls) between Scottish Government Ministers and officials and Oxfam Scotland relating to funding above or to any other discussions about funding Oxfam's services in the UK or abroad.

  • Details of any correspondence, documents or meeting notes where Scottish Government Ministers or officials sought assurances around Oxfam's child protection or safeguarding procedures prior to agreeing to fund services. Any record that confirmations were sought or received by the Scottish Government would suffice.

  • Details of briefings, emails or notes of meetings by Scottish Government Ministers or officials relating to Oxfam, including correspondence with Oxfam by Scottish Government Ministers or officials, since the investigation into Oxfam's project in Haiti was published in the Times newspaper on 9th February 2018.

You subsequently clarified that you would like:

  • Details of funding given to Oxfam for international development work going back to programmes in and around 2006 - grant confirmations, or letters with details of grants would suffice.

  • With regards to the last point specifically information relating to the Scottish Government's response to the current Oxfam sexual abuse situation.

Response

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

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

Some of the information you have requested is publicly available from the internet at Oxfam's plans, reports and policies archive.

(https://www.oxfam.org.uk/what-we-do/about-us/plans-reports-and-policies/plans-reports-and-policies-archive) and also this briefing note published by Oxfam at: (https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/615C08BCF799EBA349257107000E85CD-oxfam-pak-29jan.pdf).

Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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 exceptions under regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications) and 11(2) (personal data of a third party) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why those exceptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

An exception applies.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names/contact details of individuals and the name of the project so the victim cannot be identified, 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.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is internal communication about media lines. This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. 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 free and frank advice and views to Ministers in developing press lines. It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly and robustly defend the Government's policies and decisions. They need full and candid advice from officials to enable them to do so. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.

Due to the file size of the documents released, copies can be provided on request by emailing ceu@gov.scot, quoting the FOI reference number FOI/18/00490.

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