FOI reference: FOI/18/01280
Date received: 3 May 2018
Date responded: 5 June 2018
1. All information (eg correspondence, memos) received by the government about baby boxes and safety issues relating to the boxes, from January 2018 to the date of responding to this request. Please also provide any responses from the government to any correspondence received.
I enclose copies of some of the information you have requested. An exemption under sections 30(b)(i) and 30 (b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) and section 38(1)(b) applies to some of the information requested. (Sun.pdf)
The reasons why those exemptions apply 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.
1. An exemption under sections 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. This exemption applies 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.
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
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