Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare correspondence: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/00708
Date received: 13 April 2018
Date responded: 4 May 2018

Information requested

I refer to the 'once-for-Scotland' approach referred to by the Minister for Social Security in the Daily Record on 24 January 2018.

Please provide details of the documents provided at the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare (referred to as the "Joint Ministerial Council meeting" in the article, attached).

Please provide any correspondence shared with the UK Government and its staff ahead of, and following the meeting, relating to the approach that the Minister spoke of.

Please also provide the Scottish Government business case for the approach.


As previously explained in the response you received to an earlier Freedom of Information request (FoI/18/00363), the 'once for Scotland' approach to which you refer was not discussed at the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare. However, I have interpreted your request more broadly and have identified four documents within the scope of the second line of your request for documents provided at that meeting. Of these four documents I am only able torelease one, the enclosed agenda of the meeting, which has been redacted to remove identifying information under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA.

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 apply.

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare on the 14 September 2017 are subject to exemption under 25(1) of FOISA because they are already available on the Scottish Government's website at /publications/joint-ministerial-working-group-on-welfare-minutes-september-2017/ . Although you did not request the minutes of the meeting of 22 January 2018 these will be also published shortly should you wish to view them.

Two other papers provided at the meeting (referred to as paper 9003 and 9004 within the agenda) were found to be in scope of your request however these are also subject to exemptions. Section 28 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between administrations in the UK. Section 29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the formulation of the Scottish Government's policy.

The reasons why these exemption(s) apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

No business case has been written by the Scottish Government with regards to the "once-for-Scotland" approach referred to in your request.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

JMWG Agenda 22 Jan 2018 Redacted _Redacted.pdf
Annex 00708.docx


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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