- 4 Sep 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/02095
Date received: 3 August 2018
Date responded: 3 September 2018
A list of the number and dates papers relating to Agency set up were submitted to the Social Security Programme Board since September 2017. You also requested:the papers submitted to the Programme Board.
A total of 10 papers directly related to Agency set up were submitted on the following dates: 24 October 2017, 27 November 2017, 21 February 2018, 26 April 2018, 25 June 2018 and 27 August 2018. The majority of papers provided to the Social Security Programme Board contain aspects related to Agency set up; however, for the purpose of this request only those directly related have been considered. Exemptions apply to the papers themselves, and they will not be shared as part of this response.
Reasons for not providing information
We do endeavour to provide information whenever possible. However, in this instance exemptions under section s.29(1)(a), s.30(b)(i) and s.30(b)(ii) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested.
Section 29(1)(a) applies to any information which relates to the formulation or development of Scottish Government policy. Section 30(b)(i) applies where disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. Section 30(b)(ii) applies where disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. Papers relating to Agency set up are used to enable the free and frank provision of advice for critical discussion to aid decision making. These deliberations are directly related to the development of Scottish Government policy.
As the exemption is conditional, we have applied the ‘public interest test’. This means we have, in all the circumstances of this case, 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. While we recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate, this is outweighed by the vital public interest in ensuring that Social Security Programme Board meetings lead to high quality, fully considered decision making. Ministers and officials need to have a private space within which to consider the evidence, debate their findings, and explore all available options before reaching settled policy decisions.
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House