Publication of the Head teacher Recruitment Working Group Report and Next Steps: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/03261
Date received: 2 November 2018
Date responded: 28 November 2018
Information requested
You asked for “Any correspondence (emails, typed or handwritten notes, letters, phone calls, minutes of meetings, documents or otherwise) involving Scottish Government ministers and/or senior civil servants and/or special advisers and/or communications staff regarding the following publication prior to its release date, including the original draft of the publication that was sent to ministers and/or senior civil servants and/or special advisers and/or communications staff:”. 
Your request refers to the Headteacher Recruitment Working Group Report publication of 1 November 2018.  
I enclose a copy of most of the information you have requested.  
In addition, some of the information you requested is available online at 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(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a small amount of the information you have requested because exemptions under section 30(b)(ii) (Free and frank exchange of views) and  section 38(1)(b) (Personal data relating to third party) of FOISA apply to a small amount of that information.  
The reasons why these exemption(s) apply is explained below.
Reasons for not providing information 
An exemption applies.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, e.g. names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in 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.
An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to a single paragraph in the email dated 29 August 2018 at 19:41. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and 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 discussions on the development of the Headteacher Recruitment Report will inhibit such discussions in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to a sensitive issue.   
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 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 officials a private space within which to develop an initial draft report, ensuring it reflects the working group’s discussions and the wider context, before then sharing a draft with the working group for discussion, further refinement and amendment. This private thinking space is essential to enable officials to develop a draft that accurately reflects the working group’s considerations to date, so that the working group can ultimately make its recommendations to the Government. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the advice provided to the Government by the working group, 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-18-03261 - related documents


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

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

Back to top