Publication - FOI/EIR release

Total number of Baby Boxes issued: FOI release

Published: 6 Jun 2018

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

Published:
6 Jun 2018
Total number of Baby Boxes issued: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01278
Date received: 3 May 2018
Date responded: 4 June 2018

Information requested

1. The total number of baby boxes issued from the roll-out of the scheme Scotland-wide up to the date of this request, or up to the most recent date available. If that date is longer than one month before the date of this request, please set out why more up to date information is not available.

2. The cost of each baby box and its contents, and separately the average delivery cost per box.

3. All minutes of all meetings of the Scottish government's baby box implementation monitoring group or the equivalent external expert advisory group dating from the inception of that advisory group.

4. All correspondence to and from Dr Peter Blair of University of Bristol Medical School with or from the Scottish government concerning the statement being issued by the International society for the study and prevention of perinatal and infant death (IPSID) on the use of baby boxes as a "safe sleeping space", entitled "ISPID statement on the promotion of the cardboard 'Baby Box'."

5. The name of the client referred to in the SGS United Kingdom Ltd test report no BNU 240544/1a.

6. The reasons why the cardboard the box was built from and the lid used for it were excluded from that testing.

7. All correspondence to and from the Scottish government with the British Standards Institution or Institute regarding the safety standards used to test the Scottish government baby box.

8. All internal Scottish government correspondence and written material, including but not exclusively emails, memos and hand written notes of meetings, concerning the safety standards and safety testing of the Scottish government baby box, dating from the inception of the programme.

Response

1. As of Friday 25th May 2018 40,788 Baby Boxes have been issued.

2. The cost of each baby box and its contents, and separately the average delivery cost per box.

The current total costs of the Baby Box including all contents and distribution is £161.6296. This figure covers, the box, all contents and delivery to the expectant parent.

We are unable to give you a breakdown of this figure as exemption s.33(1)(b) Commercial interests applies.

The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

3. I enclose copies of some of the information you have requested. An exemption under sections 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. (attached)

4. I enclose copies of all of the information that we hold. (attached)

5. We are unable to supply this information as exemption s.33(1)(b) Commercial interests applies.

The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

6. The reasons why the cardboard the box was built from and the lid used for it were excluded from that testing was that the materials of the box already hold the relevant safety certificate required under the standard and so did not require further testing.

7. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for.

This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not hold the information you requested.

8. I enclose copies of some of the information you have requested. An exemption under sections 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. (attached)

The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers 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.

Question 2

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of APS Group (Scotland). APS Group (Scotland) would consider the breakdown of costs to be commercial in confidence and they are subject to an ongoing tender process. Disclosing this information would be likely to give APS Group (Scotland)'s competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice APS Group (Scotland)'s ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which tender for, or enter into, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

Question 3

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with external stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of these discussions with stakeholders on the evaluability assessment will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public, particularly while these discussions are still ongoing and 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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's baby box position on evaluation options, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. 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 key stakeholders. 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. There is also an important public interest in avoiding the loss of stakeholder confidence in cases where they thought they were providing comments in confidence, which would be inevitable if an individual's contribution was released against their wishes.

Question 5

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of The Box Manufacturer. The box manufacturer has requested that we do not release their name as they are a micro enterprise and they believe that the adverse publicity might cause reputational damage and loss of business for the company. Disclosing this information could significantly harm their commercial business.

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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which tender for, or enter into, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

Question 8

Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position which will be given in whatever final press lines or lines to take are used. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material on the issue of Scotland's Baby Box will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, particularly because discussions on the issue are still ongoing and final decisions have not been taken. This exemption applies to advice between policy officials, Ministers and Comms for the development of lines/news releases.

These exemptions are 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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. 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 briefing for press lines or lines to take. It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly, provide sound information to Parliament (to which they are accountable), 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.

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