Publication - FOI/EIR release

Teaching in a Diverse Scotland Report publication: FOI review

Published: 22 Jan 2019

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

Published:
22 Jan 2019
Teaching in a Diverse Scotland Report publication: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/18/03373-Review  
Date received: 17 December 2018
Date responded: 18 January 2019
 
Information requested
 
Further to my email of 19 December 2018, I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for

1) Copies of all correspondence and communication between the Scottish Government (including the Working Group and members of the Working Group) tasked with drafting this report) and the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, including minutes or notes of meetings/discussions, records of phone conversations, evidence/data submissions, and emails / email attachments.

2) Copies of all correspondence and communication between the Scottish Government (including the Working Group and members of the Working Group) tasked with drafting this report) and BEMIS, including minutes or notes of meetings/discussions, records of phone conversations, evidence/data submissions, and emails / email attachments.

Your request refers to the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland Report, which was published on 14 November 2018.
 
Response
 
I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.

In submitting your request for a review, you stated that you were dissatisfied with the decision to redact significant amounts of information using the 'free and frank exchange of views' exemption under 30(b)ii of FOISA. You felt that disclosure would not undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between individuals or the quality of advice provided by the working group, as the working group's report has been published and your request particularly concerned communication with external third party organisations, rather than internal civil service discussion.
 
However, section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) also recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with external stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. I am content that disclosing the content of the discussions between the Scottish Government (including the Working Group and members of the Working Group), the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, and BEMIS on the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland Report will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public. However, there were two emails from BEMIS (dated 7 March 2018 and 7 June 2018) which had information redacted under section 30(b)(ii) but, as the responses to those emails were released, it seems appropriate to release the queries which had been raised by BEMIS, and these unredacted emails are now attached.

As this exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’ I have taken account of all the circumstances of this case, and have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. I have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, with the exception of the two emails detailed above.
 
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