- 31 Dec 2018
Date received: 23 November 2018
Date responded: 24 December 2018
The modelling used to support the Scottish Government's announcement in the 2016 Programme for Government for "the extension of winter fuel payments to families with severely disabled children".
This should include the estimated caseload, the calculations undertook to come to that estimation of the caseload, and estimated costs of the policy.
Please also provide the relevant policy and briefing papers which support the commitment.
2. Some of the information you have requested is available from the Department for Work and Pensions:
Information is also available from the Stat-Xplore platform: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
3. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested about the policy and briefing papers which support the commitment because an exemption(s) under section.29(1)(a) (policy formulation) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) (policy formulation) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies to information regarding the formulation or development of government policy.
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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions.
This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions about the development of winter heating assistance will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House