- 14 Nov 2018
Date received: 13 October 2018
Date responded: 13 November 2018
So please include emails, letters, correspondence, Cabinet Briefings, press lines, discussions and any other information relating to the above.
It seems that the ICR report was published in July 2016: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/independent-review-scottish-aquaculture-consenting/pages/5/ So please take it from that point.
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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
2. Some of the information you have requested is available from Wellboats Working Group’s webpage, https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/MGSA/Wellboatswg . Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
3. 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 of an exception under regulation 10(4)(e) (Internal Communications), of the EIRs applies to that information and the reasons why this exception applies is explained below.
4. We have also redacted text (some names, e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers) which may disclose personal data where such disclosure is not permitted in terms of regulation 11(2) of EIR. This exception 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 exception.
5. As you may know Scottish Government published Scotland’s 10 Year Farmed Fish Health Framework ( https://www.gov.scot/Resource/0053/00535697.pdf ) in May 2018, co-produced with industry. This Framework will provide a strategic, evidence-based approach to the short and long-term improvement of farmed fish health in Scottish Aquaculture. Subgroups to progress the Framework’s identified workstreams have been recently established. One of the actions for the Medicines and Licensing subgroup is to revisit the conclusions of the Wellboat Working Group (see page 11 of the framework). The Subgroup had its first meeting last month, minutes from the meeting, along with a terms of reference for the Group, will be published (as will the other sub-groups of the Framework) on the Scottish Government website, when the minutes and the terms of reference have been agreed.
An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications), of the EIRs applies to some the information you have requested. Regulation 10(4)(e) allows a Scottish public authority to withhold internal communications.
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 releasing these documents, however this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing officials a private space within which to communicate as part of the process of developing policy, this private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence.
As these documents relate to early policy discussions, which had not reached final conclusions they would therefore potentially be open to misinterpretation.
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