Publication - FOI/EIR release

Clearance of the requestor's requests submitted since 01/08/2017: FOI release

Published: 17 Jul 2018

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

Published:
17 Jul 2018
Clearance of the requestor's requests submitted since 01/08/2017: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01715
Date received: 19 June 2018
Date responded: 16 July 2018

Information requested

1. Regarding all of my FOISA requests tabled to the SG since August 1st 2017, please provide all examples of clearance by Ministers/Ministerial offices, including emails andthe content of attachments in emails.

2. Regarding all of my FOISA requests tabled to the SG since August 1st 2017, please provide all emails (and attachments in emails) by special advisers in relation to myrequests, prior to a response being issued.

3. Regarding all of my FOISA requests tabled to the SG since August 1st 2017, please provide copies of all draft decisions in relation to the responses.

Response

I attach some of the information that is within the scope of your request.

Please note that FOISA provides a right to obtain information not to obtain copies of specific documents. This means that we do not need to provide you with a draft document if it does not differ from the final form which has already been issued to you as part of a previous information release.

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 s.29(1)(d) (the operation of any Ministerial private office), s.30(b)(i) (the free and frank provision of advice), s.38(1)(a) (personal data relating to the applicant) and s.38(1)(b)(personal data relating to a third party) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section 29(1)(d) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to the operation of any Ministerial private office.

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. However, there is a greater public interest in preserving the efficient and effective operation of a Ministerial private office.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA applies 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. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers and other officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.

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 and other officials, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government's position. 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 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 Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. 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 applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e names and contact details, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. 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-18-01715 Related Documents.pdf

18 page PDF
549.8 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