Date received: 22 October 2018
Date responded: 19 November 2018
You asked for:
- All briefing documents created in advance of the Culture Secretary’s meeting with Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive for VisitScotland, on 20/6/2018.
- A list of everyone present at the meeting and its location.
- Any notes taken at the meeting.
- Any minutes created of the meeting.
- Any action points created after the meeting.
I enclose a copy of the information you requested in electronic format (PDF).
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 s.30(b)(i) (Free and frank provision of advice), s.30(b)(ii) (Free and frank exchange of views) and s.29(1)(a) (Formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why the exemptions apply are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies.
Exemptions under sections s.30(b)(i) (Free and frank provision of advice), s.30(b)(ii) (Free and frank exchange of views) and s.29(1)(a) (Formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested.
These exemption 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 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 of the high profile of tourism within Scotland and, in particular, the high profile of a number of current issues such as the tourism tax discussions. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, and in which Ministers can have detailed discussions with key stakeholders, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on the various tourism issues, and until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good 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 decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.
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
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