- 17 Jan 2019
Date received: 29 November 2018
Date responded: 15 January 2018
I would like to request material related to two recently answered FOI requests: FOI/18/02164 and FOI/18/02165.
Please release all case files, communications or associated documentation related to both of these cases.
Please find enclosed a copy of most of the information you have requested.
However, 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 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice); 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested.
The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
Sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) - free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. These exemptions recognise the need for officials to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from other officials before reaching the settled public position which will be given in whatever final press lines are used and also the final responses provided for both these Freedom of Information requests. Disclosing the content of free and frank views, advice and draft press lines on these two Freedom of Information requests, FOI/18/02164 and FOI/18/02165, will substantially inhibit such work in the future.
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 exemptions. 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 a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views to other officials regarding press lines and advice on these Freedom of Information responses.
Section 38(1)(b) - personal information
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some information which has been redacted from the enclosed documents. This exemption applies because the information is personal data of a third party (the names and contact details of members of staff, requesters and other individuals) and disclosure would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the GDPR 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.
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