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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish National Standardised Assessment system: FOI release

Published: 19 Jan 2018

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

Published:
19 Jan 2018
Scottish National Standardised Assessment system: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01408
Date received: 17 May 2018
Date responded: 15 June 2018

Information requested

When the Scottish Government tendered for the new Scottish National Standardised Assessment system part of the requirement was for the government to be able to receive a full data set from the assessments.

1. Please confirm specifically which information either has been, or will be, provided to the Scottish Government from the assessment provider.

2. Please also release all material - such as communications, recommendations, reports etc - discussing the collection, or potential collection, of SNSA data.

Response

An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested – Information otherwise accessible.

The response to a previous request (FOI reference 17/02015), received on 1 September 2017 was issued on 28 September 2017 and is available to view on the Scottish Government website.

/publications/foi-17-02015/ as are details of the review that followed it /publications/foi-17-02015-review/. As this information is already in the public domain, we are not required to provide it. We will consider all relevant information from 1 September 2017.

Please confirm specifically which information either has been, or will be, provided to the Scottish Government from the assessment provider.

As set out in Bill Scott-Watson's letter to you of 1 November 2017, the Scottish Government will receive a national level report from the service provider. That report will help us identify any particular national trends and emerging themes and issues, including on specific pupil characteristics and curriculum organisers. It could for example, flag up concerns about the achievement in fractions and decimal fractions of P4 boys from SIMD 1 and 2. We expect to receive that report shortly. Please also release all material - such as communications, recommendations, reports etc - discussing the collection, or potential collection, of SNSA data.

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 section 25(1) information otherwise accessible; section 30(b)(i) free and frank provision of advice; section 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation; and sections 38(1)(a) and 38(1)(b) personal information, applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.

Having considered all relevant information from 1 September 2017, I have attached separately a pdf file with all available information included.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested – Information otherwise accessible. As this information is already in the public domain, we are not required to provide it.

Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) free and frank provision of advice and section 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation of FOISA also applies to some of the information you have 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. These exemptions recognise the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. 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 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, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's position on the Scottish National Standardised Assessments, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

An exemption under section 38(1)(a) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested 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 a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and 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.

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

FOI-18-01408 related documents.pdf

18 page PDF
413.8 kB

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