Correspondence in relation to FoI/18/02354: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/03068
Date received: 23 October 2018
Date responded: 28 November 2018
Information requested

You asked for:

  • all Scottish Government correspondence (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters, phone calls, minutes of meetings, briefs or otherwise) on the subject of this Freedom of Information request. This should include all involvement or otherwise by ministers and Special Advisers and any timeline which exists to record dates of significant events in the collation of the response.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.  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  29(1)(a) (Formulation or Development of Scottish Government Policy), s29(1)(b) (Advice of the Law Officers) and s38(1)(b) (Personal Data Relating to a Third Party).
Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (Personal Data Relating to a Third Party) of FOISA applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. 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.

Exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) (Formulation or Development of Scottish Government Policy) and  s29(1)(b) (Advice of the Law Officers) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested.  

Exemption 29(1)(a) relates to information regarding the formation and development of Scottish Government policy. 

Exemption 29(1)(b) relates to the provision of advice by any Law Officer.

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 exemption. 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, there is a greater public interest in allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s policy on the integration of the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials which in turn will undermine the quality of the policy making process, which would 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
FOI-18-03068 - related email correspondence


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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