- 8 Jan 2019
FOI reference: FOI/18/03566
Date received: 29 November 2018
Date responded: 8 January 2019
- All internal Scottish Government correspondence (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters, notes/records of phone calls, texts or instant messages, minutes of meetings, briefs or otherwise) from 20 November 2018 to 27 November 2018 (inclusive) on the subject of the statistics Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland, 2017-18 or the Scottish Government’s press release/media comment/media strategy on those statistics. This should include Officials, Special Advisers, Ministers and Comms and other Staff.
- All correspondence (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters, notes/records of phone calls, texts or instant messages, minutes of meetings, briefs or otherwise) on 27 November 2018 between the Scottish Government and members of the press/media on the subject of the statistics Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland, 2017-18. This should include Officials, Special Advisers, Ministers and Comms and other Staff.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
Almost all the information contained in the attached document relates to your first question. The only correspondence held in relation to your second question (correspondence on 27 November between Scottish Government and members of the press/media) was the issuing of a statistical news release (see link below) and a Scottish Government press release (see pages 58 to 59 in the attached response).
Some of the information you have requested is already available from the Scottish Government’s webpages. Correspondence during the requested period included copies of the Domestic Abuse 2017-18 Official Statistics and the statistical news release. Both of these documents were published on the 27th of November and are available at the links below.
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
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 for the purposes of deliberation) and S38(1)(b) (personal data relating to a third party) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (Personal Data Relating to a Third Party) of FOISA applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.
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
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. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to give and seek advice and views before reaching a settled public position - which will be given in whatever final press and other public lines are used. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material on the publication of these statistics will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, given the sensitive nature of the topic.
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 official can express free and frank advice to each other, and to Ministers. It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers and officials can properly interpret and respond to queries about these statistics and how this evidence informs the Government’s policies and decisions. They need full and candid advice to enable them to do so. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, 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 FOI responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House