Publication - FOI/EIR release

ELC expansion plans submitted by local authorities: FOI release

Published: 28 Jun 2018

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

Published:
28 Jun 2018
ELC expansion plans submitted by local authorities: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01351
Date received: 10 May 2018
Date responded: 8 June 2018

Information requested

  • The Initial expansion plans that Local Authorities submitted in September 2017 as part of the ELC expansion

  • The subsequent expansion plans Local Authorities submitted in March 2018.

Response

Enclose is a copy of all of the information you requested (The Initial expansion plans that Local Authorities submitted in September 2017 as part of the ELC expansion). Please note that these plans were submitted in September 2017 and may have altered significantly due to funding agreement being made in May 2018.

Most of the information you have requested is available from:

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

Information which has not been published by Local Authorities is enclosed as appendices.

  • Aberdeenshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 1 which is attached to the email.
  • Angus Council – Please refer to Appendix 2 which is attached to the email.
  • Clackmannanshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 3 which is attached to the email.
  • Dundee City Council – Please refer to Appendix 4 which is attached to this email.
  • East Ayrshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 5 which is attached to this email.
  • East Dunbartonshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 6 which is attached to the email.
  • East Lothian Council – Please refer to Appendix 7 which is attached to the email.
  • East Renfrewshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 8 which is attached to the email.
  • Edinburgh (City of) Council – Please refer to Appendix 9 which is attached to the email.

  • Fife Council – Please refer to Appendix 10 which is attached to this email. Please note a statement has been provided to accompany the attachment: "it is emphasised this was a draft version of the delivery plan based on the financial template submitted in September 2017 and following the resubmission in 2018 that the details of the draft delivery plan have changed, particularly around the full year model and the number of building projects identified. Now funding has been agreed by the Scottish Government we are working on the final delivery model and plan for 1140 hrs which will be presented at our Education and Children's Services Committee on 28th August 2018 for approval by Fife Council and will be published at this point. Until approval has been received then any plans are still subject to change.

  • Highland Council – Please refer to Appendix 11 which is attached to this email.

  • Moray Council – Please refer to Appendix 12 which is attached to the email.
  • North Ayrshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 13 which is attached to the email.
  • North Lanarkshire Council - Please refer to Appendix 14 which is attached to the email.
  • Renfrewshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 15 which is attached to the email.
  • West Dunbartonshire Council – Please refer to Appendix 16 attached to the email.
  • West Lothian Council – Please refer to Appendix 17 which is attached to the email.

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 an exemption(s) under section(s):

  • Dumfries and Galloway Council - s30(b)(ii) would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially, the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation of FOISA applies to that information. Please refer to Appendix 18 which is attached to the email.

  • Midlothian Council - s30(c) would otherwise prejudice substantially, or be likely to prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public affairs of FOISA applies to that information. Please refer to Appendix 19 which is attached to the email.

  • Stirling Council s33(1)(b) its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality, a Scottish public authority) of FOISA applies to that information. Please refer to Appendix 20 which is attached to the email.

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

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested (The subsequent expansion plans Local Authorities submitted in March 2018). However, you may wish to contact individual Local Authorities who may hold more up to date versions of the plans submitted in September 2017. The reason why we don't have the information is updated plans were not submitted at this point.

Reasons for not providing information

Please find enclosed the reasons why the exemption highlighted applies to each of the local authorities.

Dumfries and Galloway Council

s30(b)(ii) would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially, the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation of FOISA applies to that information.

Dumfries and Galloway Council do not consent to disclose the Service delivery plan submitted in September as this is not the Councils settled position.

Midlothian Council

s30(c) would otherwise prejudice substantially, or be likely to prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public affairs of FOISA applies to that information.

The proposals affect a number of people: employees of the Council, partner providers and childminders, parents and carers, however the proposals are subject to change now the funding for the expansion in hours is confirmed by the Scottish Government. Publishing the plan will therefore result in unnecessary stress and concern to a range of people including speculation that members of staff's current terms and conditions of employment or work location may change, and the number of places that may be required from partner providers and childminders will change with implications for their employment. This is likely to result in staff choosing to pursue other career paths outwith childcare, at a time when the expansion in early learning and childcare requires a substantial increase in the workforce, and where the retention of existing staff and recruitment of additional staff is critical to the delivery of the expected legislative requirements, i.e. publishing the plan at this time would prejudice substantially the effective conduct of public affairs – Section 30(c) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The exemption claimed by Midlothian Council is a non-absolute exemption. I have therefore carried out the public interest test.

As a result, on balance it has been assessed that public interest in withholding and thereby retaining and recruiting staff in early years and childcare outweighs that of disclosing the information.

Stirling Council

s33(1)(b) its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality, a Scottish public authority) of FOISA applies to that information.

The full plan contains financial data which, if disclosed, could substantially prejudice the commercial interests of the Council and Stirling partner nurseries. The local authority therefore rely on the exemption in Section 33(1)(b) of FOISA to withhold financial data. These exemptions also require the Council to consider where the public interest lies. In this case, it is understood that there may be public interest in knowing about plans for expansion of early learning and childcare. However, Stirling Council consider that this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that democratic and consultation processes are properly followed, and in ensuring that the commercial interests of the Council and its partners are not harmed.

About FOI

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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