- 13 Feb 2019
Date received: 15 Jan 2019
Date responded: 12 Feb 2019
You asked for all internal correspondence and briefing, including draft responses to Parliamentary question S5W-20757, and for a breakdown of the handling of the question and the response, detail who handled it and how many times.
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.
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 the following sections of FOISA applies to that information:
Section 30(b)(ii) - Free and frank exchange of views
Section 38(1)(b) - Applicant has asked for personal data of a third party
The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex A to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exemption applies.
Section 30(b)(ii) – Free and frank exchange of views
An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
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 allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s policy position. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the policy making process, which would not be in the public interest.
Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a small amount of the information requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies. The exemption applies because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names/contact details of individuals involved, 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.
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