‘Corporate Governance in NHS Highland’ Report and related correspondence: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/01982
Date received: 20 July 2018 
Date responded: 6 September 2018
Information requested

Copies of any draft reports with regard to the ‘Corporate Governance in NHS Highland’ Report, and any correspondence between John Brown CBE, Susan Walsh, OBE and the Scottish Government in relation to corporate governance in NHS Highland.


Corporate Governance in NHS Highland Report - Drafts
The Corporate Governance in NHS Highland Report was discussed at NHS Highland’s Board meeting on 24 July 2018 and is available on their website at http://www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/Meetings/BoardsMeetings/Pages/July2018.aspx.
The exchange of draft reports formed part of the correspondence flow between the review team and Scottish Government officials.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested. This is because the following exemptions under FOISA have been applied to some of the information requested: section 25(1) (information already accessible); section 38(1)(b) (personal information); section 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation); and, section 30 (c) (otherwise predjudice effective conduct of public affairs). This information has been redacted from the copies of correspondence which I have attached in the covering email.
In addition, matters other than those relevant to your FOI request that are contained in the correspondence have been redacted. Where this has been done, we have clearly identified this on the correspondence as being outwith scope.
The reasons why these exemptions have been applied are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.
An exemption under section 25 (1) of FOISA (information already accessible) applies to some of the information you requested.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested. This is because it relates to personal data of a third party, ie names/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.
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.
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 Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues.

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. It is essential for officials to be able to communicate often in confidence, with external stakeholders on a range of issues.

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, premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest. Disclosure of the roles of individuals within the review process would likely discourage others from taking part in the future, which would also 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 https://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

FOI-18-01982 - related documents


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 
EH1 3

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