Publication - FOI/EIR release

Data relating to the handling of FOI/18/02237 and associated questions: FOI release

Published: 5 Mar 2019

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

Published:
5 Mar 2019
Data relating to the handling of FOI/18/02237 and associated questions: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00293
Date received: 24 Jan 2019
Date responded: 27 Feb 2019
Information requested

 

1. Please provide all the data the Scottish Government has relating to the handling of FOI/18/02237, including all internal correspondence, phone calls, handwritten notes or other such documentation). Please also include all data relating to the involvement of ministers and special advisers.

2. Using the same parameters as set out in question 1, please provide all the data the Scottish Government has relating to the handling of the subsequent news stories first printed in the Herald on 9 and 10 January 2018 (see here and here).

3. Please provide details of whether the Scottish Government owns a copy (or access to an electronic copy) of any books authored by either Dylan Wiliam or W James Popham. If it does, please provide their titles.

4. Please provide a copy of any notes or other such materials prepared for the First Minister to assist in the answering of questions on the above topic at FMQs on 10 January 2019.

5. Please provide a copy of any evidence the Scottish Government has to support the claim, made by the First Minister at FMQs on 10 January 2019, that Professor Wiliam’s research is not supportive of a formative approach to assessment.

“The Scottish Government referenced Professor Wiliam’s work because we interpreted his research as being supportive of a formative approach to assessment. If that is not the case, we are happy to recognise that.”

 

Response

 

1. Please provide all the data the Scottish Government has relating to the handling of FOI/18/02237, including all internal correspondence, phone calls, handwritten notes or other such documentation). Please also include all data relating to the involvement of ministers and special advisers.

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 25(1) (information otherwise accessible), 30(b)(i) (free and frank advice) and 38(1)(b) (personal information), applies to that information. The reasons why the exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Having considered all relevant information I have attached a pdf file with all available information included.

 

2. Using the same parameters as set out in question 1, please provide all the data the Scottish Government has relating to the handling of the subsequent news stories first printed in the Herald on 9 and 10 January 2018 (see here and here).

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 advice) and 38(1)(b) (personal information), applies to that information. The reasons why the exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Having considered all relevant information I have attached a pdf file with all available information included.

 

3. Please provide details of whether the Scottish Government owns a copy (or access to an electronic copy) of any books authored by either Dylan Wiliam or W James Popham. If it does, please provide their titles.

The work is widely available online. The Scottish Government does not own copies of any books authored by either Dylan Wiliam or W James Popham.

 

4. Please provide a copy of any notes or other such materials prepared for the First Minister to assist in the answering of questions on the above topic at FMQs on 10 January 2019.

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 25(1) (information otherwise accessible), 30(b)(i) (free and frank advice) and 38(1)(b) (personal information), applies to that information. The reasons why the exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter. Some of the information you requested was also out of scope.
Having considered all relevant information I have attached a pdf file with all available information included.

 

5. Please provide a copy of any evidence the Scottish Government has to support the claim, made by the First Minister at FMQs on 10 January 2019, that Professor Wiliam’s research is not supportive of a formative approach to assessment. “The Scottish Government referenced Professor Wiliam’s work because we interpreted his research as being supportive of a formative approach to assessment. If that is not the case, we are happy to recognise that.”

The First Minister did not claim that Professor Wiliam’s research is not supportive of a formative approach to assessment. Professor Wiliam has made clear his views about the SNSAs and whether they can be used formatively and the Scottish Government recognises and respects his position.

 

ANNEX

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

An exemption applies

An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA (information otherwise accessible) applies to some of the information you have requested. As this information is in the public domain, we are not required to provide it.

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, ie 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.

These exemptions are 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 exemptions.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to other officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on Scottish National Standardised Assessments will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.

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 a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to other officials, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on Scottish National Standardised Assessments, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good 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 decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

 

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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