- 23 Oct 2018
Date received: 20 September 2018
Date responded: 23 October 2018
- Details of any minutes or correspondence (emails, typed or handwritten notes, letters, phone calls, documents or otherwise) regarding John Swinney's meeting with the Scottish Education Council on 19 June.
I have also attached a separate pdf file with additional information. 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), 27(1) (information intended for future publication), section 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank advice and exchange of views) and section 38(1)(b) (personal information), applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
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.
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice and 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 provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on early drafts of papers for the Scottish Education Council will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to potentially sensitive and controversial issues.
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 some public interest in release because education is a high profile area and disclosing information is part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, in this case, 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.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have 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 set out in article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and 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.
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House