Publication - FOI/EIR release

SNP manifesto target on new build affordable housing: FOI release

Published: 3 Dec 2018

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

Published:
3 Dec 2018
SNP manifesto target on new build affordable housing: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/03027
Date received: 30 October 2018
Date responded: 27 November 2018
 
Information requested
 
You asked for any briefings or analysis prepared by civil servants in the last three months for Scottish Government ministers on meeting the 2016 SNP manifesto target on new build affordable housing.
 
Response
 
Some of the information you have requested is already publicly available. 
 

The Scottish Government publishes Quarterly Housing Statistics which include figures relating to units approved, started and completed through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme. 

The latest set of statistics covering progress to end June 2018 was published on 25 September 2018. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. 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.

For information on approvals and completions to August 2018 an exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies because we intend to publish information to end September on 11 December which is within 12 weeks of the date of your request.  We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release this routinely published information before the planned publication date. 

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 and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned.
 
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 30(b)(ii), 30(c) or 33 (2)(b) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in ANNEX A to this letter.
The information attached in ANNEXES B-H was provided to Scottish Ministers.
 
Reasons for not providing information
 
Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest test.

An exemption under section s.30(b)(ii) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption relates to the provision of the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. 
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 the 50,000 affordable homes target is in the public domain. 

However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that there can be a free and frank exchange of views in relation to estimated forecast figures for delivering the 50,000 target. Forecast figures are updated regularly and do not constitute a target. True progress against the target can only be measured using published Official Statistics. 
 
An exemption under section s.30(c) of FOISA also applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies as disclosure would otherwise prejudice substantially, or be likely to prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public affairs. 

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 the 50,000 affordable homes target is in the public domain. 

However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that the actions of those delivering against the target are not adversely affected which could negatively affect the delivery of the target and compromise programme management processes.
 
An exemption under section s.33 (2)(b) of FOISA also applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies if disclosure would or is likely to prejudice substantially the financial interests on an “administration within the United Kingdom” of which the Scottish Government is one.  
 
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 the 50,000 affordable homes target is in the public domain and the allocation of Government funding is relevant to the public. 

However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that decisions around budget and financing can go through the proper process without prejudicing the outcome of that process.
 
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

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