Briefing provided in advance of interview with Scottish Information Commissioner: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/03626  
Date received: 5 December 2018 
Date responded: 11 December 2018
Information requested
The briefing provided to a civil servant who was asked about two specified FOI cases in the course of an interview with the Scottish Information Commissioner. You also asked for any communication between that individual and the FOI Unit in relation to the SIC interview/intervention, or the cases in question.
Briefing provided to specified civil servant
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in the first part of your request. The reasons for this are set out in the email that is being released to you in response to the second part of your request: in short, we did not consider it necessary to provide briefing of that sort to the civil servant in question.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
Communications between specified civil servant and the FOI Unit
Some of the information you have requested was made available to you in response to a previous FOI request (FOI/18/02111). This information is a covering email and minute to all individual staff interviewees issued on Friday 11 May 2018. The covering email may be found at page 74 of this release and the minute at page 26 of this release.
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. 
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested. This is an email from the FOI Unit to the civil servant in question about the SIC interview arrangements. As noted above, it explains why we were not providing that civil servant with the briefing provided to other interviewees.
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 an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are 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 (the names and contact details of civil servants below SCS grades) 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.
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-18-03626 Document for release


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

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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