Publication - FOI/EIR release

Material relating to a freedom of information response: FOI release

Published: 18 May 2018

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

Published:
18 May 2018
Material relating to a freedom of information response: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01156
Date received: 17 April 2018
Date responded: 16 May 2018

Information requested

All material relating to the initial response to your request, including clear confirmation of the individuals involved in preparing and authorising the response to your initial FOI request:

  • The later FOI request which led to the realisation that material had been incorrectly withheld (both the initial request and the response if available), as well as confirmation of the individuals involved in preparing and authorising the response to this FOI request and

  • All material (including but not limited to communications) relating to the realisation that material had been incorrectly withheld from you.

Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. However, 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 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice), 38(1)(a) (personal information) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemption(s) apply are explained below.

With regards to the second point of your request this information is available from https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-18-00713/. In additional to this, please also find attached related papers subject to the exemptions set out above.

The realisation that material had been incorrectly withheld from you was identified through discussions, however, please find attached associated documents in response to the third point of your request.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 38(1)(a) of FOISA (personal information) has been applied to your name and contanct details because it is personal information of which you are the data subject, and so it is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). 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 exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the redacted information because it is the personal data of third party, i.e. names/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 we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the redacted information. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to; inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and views. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice/views to Ministers on key discussion points in pre-meeting briefings. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on such key points will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly when these discussions relate to a policy matter, such as the Governance Review which is still on-going and where decisions have not been taken.

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 a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, before they meet key stakeholders.

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