- 17 May 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/01007
Date received: 29 March 2018
Date responded: 27 April 2018
The papers regarding split payments provided to stakeholders at, in advance of, and after meetings held on 1 September 2017, 2 October 2017, 30 October 2017, 15 December 2017 and since January 2018.
I have enclosed a copy of some of the information requested, in pdf format. 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 the Scottish Government does not have some of the information and because an exemption under section s.29(1)(a) - formulation or development of Scottish Government policy, of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why we don't have the information and why the exemption applies are explained in below.
Reasons for not providing information
The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for. This is because the Scottish Government did not share any papers prior to, during, or after the meetings held on 1 September 2017 and 2 October 2017 as these meetings were arranged and facilitated by third sector organisations. The Scottish Government also did not share any papers with stakeholders prior to, during, or after the meeting held on 30 October 2017.
No further meetings with stakeholders have been held between January 2018 and the date of your request.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) - formulation or development of Scottish Government policy, of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. The exemption has been applied to some of document 1 enclosed (i.e. the paper shared with stakeholders prior to meeting on 15 December 2017). This is because the Scottish Government policy on split payments of the Universal Credit award is in the early stages of the policy process, where options are being identified and considered. The policy proposals section of the paper has, therefore, not been disclosed.
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 have deemed that there is a greater public interest in allowing officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Scottish Government's policy position on split payments of the Universal Credit award. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be made.
The Scottish Government recognises the public interest in the disclosure of factual information which has been used, or is intended to be used, to provide an informed background to the taking of a decision on split payments policy, therefore we have not applied the exemption to the factual information contained in document 1.
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House