- 5 Feb 2019
Date received: 7 Jan 2019
Date responded: 1 Feb 2019
Please provide all documents and materials provided to and from Ministers relating to the appointments to the Scottish Commission on Social Security.
For the avoidance of doubt this should include but not be limited to initial proposals for appointments, correspondence relating to clarifications, and the final sign-off documents (i.e. the Ministerial minute).
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested in Annexes 2-5.
Annex 2: Submission to Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People to approve a public appointment process (including associated correspondence).
Annex 3: First submission to approve the selection panel for public appointment process (including associated correspondence).
Annex 4: Second submission to approve to approve attraction strategy (including associated correspondence)
Annex 5: Final submission to approve members and choice of Chair candidates for Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People to consider (including associated correspondence).
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 a number of examptions under sections of FOISA apply to that information. The specific exemptions, and the reasons why they have been applied, are detailed in Annex 1.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION ANNEX 1
An exemption applies
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, eg names/contact details of individuals 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.
An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA (information otherwise accessible) applies to some of the information you have requested. Some of the information you have requested is in the public domain and is already reasonably obtainable. There is therefore no requirement for the Scottish Government to provide it to you through FOISA. 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 following information is captured by your FOISA request, but is already publically available:
- Letter from the Minister for Social Security to the Social Security Committee dated 11th June 2018 (available at https://www.parliament.scot/S5_Social_Security/General%20Documents/20180611_MinisterSSecuritytoConvener_SCoSS.pdf)
- Final versions of the Person Specification, Advert and Flyer for the Chair and Member positions are available for reference at https://applications.appointed-for-scotland.org/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobid=1515
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the formulation and development of the Scottish Government’s policy development of secondary legislation under the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.
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 these discussions (including advice to the then-Minister for Social Security, the current Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People and draft versions of letters for their signature) 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.
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 Andrews House